SurfacePad Review

February 26, 2013

After a year of use the Apple Bumper case for my iPhone 4S developed a tear in one corner. The case is still functional, but I found the tear unsightly and used it as an excuse to get a new case for my phone.

Case shopping can be frustrating. Local merchants are likely to only have the popular cases, many of which are garish, which limits your choices. Shopping on the Internet broadens the pool of cases to choose from, but you can’t “test drive” one. After a visits to BestBuy and the local Verizon store, I used a holiday to visit the nearest Apple store, two hours away in Kansas City. None of the cases really pulled my string, so I continued to use the torn bumper case.

I actually like the look and feel of the iPhone naked, but the glass by itself is slippery and I am always afraid I’ll drop it when it’s not in a case.

##Enter the SurfacePad

It’s the perfect cover for those who have an iPhone, and are not afraid to show it.

It’s not a case, per se, nor is it a sleeve. The best description is that it’s a jacket for your phone. A wonderfully supple Napa leather jacket. The leather is less than a 1/10th of an inch thick and weighs next to nothing at under an ounce. TwelveSouth says that

[r]ather than protecting your iPhone from falling off the side of a cliff, the luxury leather SurfacePad shields your iPhone from more common hazards, like the keys in your pocket.

I’ve had my SurfacePad for just over two weeks now and I could not be happier with it. Rather than hide the beautiful design of the iPhone in a plastic or rubber cover, the SurfacePad accentuates phones presence. The juxtaposition of leather with the metal and glass of the phone is perfect.

It slips into and out of my pocket with ease, but it doesn’t feel slippery at all. The leather protects the front glass, and wraps around the volume control side of the phone’s chassis. The back adheres to the phone with “modern adhesive” that has been used for years on TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad for MacBooks for years. The jacket can be removed a reattached.

The jacket is designed to act as a stand for the phone in landscape orientation. As luck would have it my favorite tuner/metronome app works in landscape orientation, so I use the stand on a daily basis.

For most activities I am unaware of the cover, but I do notice it a bit when making phone calls. I am left-handed when it comes to phone calls, so I fold the cover back completely, which slightly increases the phones thickness. It’s not enough to be objectionable, but I do notice it.

TwelveSouth has minimal branding on the jacket. The bottom of the front cover has a small embossed TwelveSouth logo. Inside the cover, oriented so that you can read it when the jacket is being used as a stand, is the product name, SurfacePad. And hidden away in the hinge of the case, is a repeat of the logo and the company name, TwelveSouth. The understated branding suits me very well as it allows the phone to be the center of attention.

The black leather on my jacket is smooth and unblemished. The interior side is a light grey with a very fine nap. It feels a bit like a high quality lens cloth. The double row of stitching on the back where the hinge is located is well done. There are no lose threads and the stitches are nearly flush with the leather. There is a cutout for the rear facing camera and flash. After two plus weeks of use my jacket is staring to feel broken in – like a favorite leather coat.

At $34.99 this isn’t the least expensive nor the most expensive cover for your iPhone. But in terms of quality, fit and finish, and enhancement to the phone, I don’t think you could find anything better.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.