Lex Friedman blogs here.

Lex is the EVP of Sales and Development for Midroll, the world's best podcast advertising network.

He was previously Macworld's senior writer, and continues to contribute to the publication. He is the cohost of the Not Playing podcast, a cohost of the Turning This Car Around podcast, a cohost of the The Rebound podcast, and the sole host of the Your Daily Lex podcast.

Lex's first book, The Snuggie Sutra, is exactly what it sounds like. His most recent book is a Dr. Seuss parody for adults; it's called The Kid in the Crib.

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Review: DODOCase for iPad

The DODOCase—which I’ll refer to as the Dodo for the rest of this review—is a $60, handmade case for the iPad. The Dodo is made from faux-leather and bamboo, using a fabric and wood process that closely emulates traditional book binding.

The DODOCaseThe case weighs just over a half a pound, and includes a single, attached elastic strap to secure it closed when you’re not using the iPad. The hand-carved bamboo features cutouts precisely where you need them; you’ll be able to plug in your headphones, charge the iPad, adjust the volume, and wake/sleep the device while it’s in the Dodo, without difficulty.

Your iPad is secured by pressure alone. You gently squeeze it into the Dodo’s bamboo shell, and four pads near the corners help squeeze the iPad snugly. The only situations where I can imagine your iPad getting jarred loose from the Dodo involve events that would likely be tragic for the case and the iPad alike—steep, significant drops onto hard surfaces.

The case feels densely solid and sturdy. My concern when reading about the case online was that its natural materials would make it feel a bit fragile or delicate, and thus perhaps less well-equipped to suffer the rigors that my heretofore-Apple iPad Case-clad iPad routinely endures. Those initial concerns have been somewhat allayed with case in hand. The case doesn’t feel malleable or on the verge of sudden destruction, which is good. But I do try to treat it with the same level of careful handling that I give my iPad itself; the Dodo’s heft in hand and obvious quality seem to require sensitive treatment.¬†

DODOcase insideOn the inside cover of the Dodo case is bright, firebrick red stitched fabric. It’s my favorite color, and it looks great. It’s got a traditional texture that I don’t love the feel of, though. The number one reason I use an iPad case is because I find the naked iPad a little slippery, and a little awkward to hold one handed. My preferred in-case use scenario for the iPad is with the back of the case folded over—i.e., with that red inside cover folded onto the back. I haven’t yet adjusted comfortably to the feel of that red fabric against my hand. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll get used to it over time, but right now, I occasionally get a little goosebumpish from the feel of that fabric on my fingers. This may well be my own weirdness.

When you’re holding the iPad with the case’s lid flipped around back like that, it can’t lie nearly as flat as Apple’s case. This isn’t a huge deal, but it too requires a period of adjustment.

Depending on the surface it’s resting upon, the Dodo can prop your iPad up in a variety of ways. You can stand it up in landscape mode, if your surface is a less slippery one, but since it lacks the slim locking pocket Apple’s case has, the precise angle may vary depending on the Dodo’s balancing needs. It’s even easier to find a comfortable standing position for portrait mode.

DODOcase vs Apple iPad caseThe Dodo’s chief weakness to me is its typing angle. Compared to Apple’s case, the Dodo’s level of incline¬†for typing seems laughable. I’ve mastered typing (as much as is possible) on the iPad primarily when it’s in Apple’s case, at that delicious level of incline. The Dodo’s props the iPad up by about an inch, and it’s nothing like typing in the Apple case. Frankly, typing with a Dodo-clad iPad is about as tough as typing on a naked iPad: Unless you find another means of propping it up more, you’re very nearly typing on a purely flat surface, which is an ergonomic challenge when touch typing on a virtual keyboard.

On the whole, though, I like the Dodo a lot. It looks terrific, holds the iPad securely, and feels solid in my hands.

I do, however, have concerns: The stance the Dodo needs for landscape movie watching can be more than six inches in some situations, which is a far larger footprint than Apple’s case requires. I’m worried about the case’s stability in that position when propped up on a cramped airline tray table. (To be fair, Apple’s case isn’t perfectly stable in this position either.) My biggest concern remains that typing angle, and only time will tell if I’ll be able to adjust to typing comfortably with the Dodo. I hope I do, because on the whole I really like how my iPad looks and feels in the case.

Posted on July 15th, 2010