I won’t lie. I’m a sucker for a nice leather case. Whether its for an iPhone or an iPad, I am always interested in wrapping my high-tech electronics in a little bit of old world craftsmanship. There’s just something about the look and feel of fine leather that gets me.
While I have reviewed several quality leather cases for various iPhones here at iPad Insight, I have never covered one for an iPad or iPad Pro until now. Well, this one has been worth waiting for, as the Pad and Quill Oxford Leather Case for the 2018 iPad Pros is as functional as it is beautiful. I’ve been taking the 12.9″ version for a spin over the last two weeks and here is what I have found.
Simplicity as a feature
The Oxford’s design is incredibly simple. The exterior of the case showcases the beauty of Pad and Quill’s fine leather and craftsmanship. My review case came in Chestnut, which is a darker brown than the Whisky that the Bella Fino and Traveller iPhone cases that I previously reviewed came in. This is my personal favorite of Pad and Quill’s colors.
The exterior leather is smooth and soft. However, it also feels like it will be durable enough to stand up to some abuse over time. According to Pad and Quill, the exterior is also crafter from a single piece of Bridle Leather, which should add to the case’s durability.
The only adornments and accents on the front of the case are the stitches, which add a nice contrast to the color of the leather.
You can also see a small orange accent stitch on each side that adds just a bit of additional visual interest. I enjoy little touches like this. It tells me that someone put some time and thought into designing this case.
The back of the Oxford has a bit more going on. First off, the case has an elastic closure strap that is stitched onto the back.
The strap can hold the case closed during transport and can also secure the front of the case behind the iPad during use.
The back has a seam, which flexes to allow the case to prop the iPad Pro. More on this in a sec.
The back of the case also has a tasteful embossed Pad and Quill logo near the bottom. I understand that companies have to showcase their branding. That said, I appreciate it when a company is secure enough in their work to make that branding subtle.
The interior of the case is just as simple in its design as the exterior.
The darker leather on the interior of the Oxford has a nice textured feel to it. That texture also adds a bit of softness, which feels great in the hands.
The left side of the case has a small document pocket, which gives the case a little additional functionality beyond just toting your iPad Pro around.
One last note on the basic design of the Oxford- I love that Pad and Quill has their craftsmen initial the cases that they work on.
This just adds a personal touch that I really appreciate.
A sticky situation
The right side of the Oxford’s interior has two double-sided adhesive strips that hold the iPad Pro securely in place. These are Secure Locking Adhesive strips from 3M, which hold tight and leave no residue on your device. I can attest to this, as I have been using the case off and on for two weeks, and my device has no visible marks or residue left from the adhesive.
This is a great design choice because it cuts down the overall thickness of the case. Most other leather cases have a frame or shell that the iPad has to slide or clip into for security. These always add additional thickness and bulk. Pad and Quill was able to make the Oxford’s design so simple because of this adhesive.
While the Oxford is thinner than it would be if a shell or inner case were required to hold the iPad in place, the outer shell is still thick enough to provide above average drop protection. Add in the closure strap to hold the case when the iPad isn’t in use, and your device should be secure from basic dents, dings and drops. With all of the reports of bending iPad Pros floating around, this is more important than ever.
Function follows form
As with the looks and design, the function of the Oxford is straightforward and simple. The case makes an excellent stand when opened in landscape orientation.
The document pocket makes a pretty good stop to keep your iPad from moving around. You can also position it further out, as well. This works nicely if you are using a keyboard.
The case is rigid enough that this setup works well in the lap, which is how I am currently typing this review.
The rigidity of the leather exterior definitely helps with overall stability in landscape. The Oxford doesn’t “collapse,” down like some other cases I have tried because the leather back adds extra support. I had to “exercise: the hinge a bit to get more positioning flexibility, but that was no problem. I think Pad and Quill erring on the side of stability here was the right choice.
The exterior of the Oxford is thick and stable enough that you can also stand the Pro up in portrait orientation with it.
While I don’t use my iPad much like this, it is nice that you don’t have to hold your iPad to read a document in portrait orientation.
Speaking of holding your iPad, that is simple and straightforward with this case, as well. You can hold it book form, or fold the front of the case behind the iPad, if you prefer.
As stated earlier, you can use the strap to secure the front of the case behind the iPad, if you like. This adds a little extra stability, which is nice when you are holding the iPad while standing or walking around.
Despite its usefulness, the strap is also my lone annoyance with this case.
When not in use, it just hangs from the back. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to gather or attach it when it isn’t wrapped around the front of the case. In the end, it is better to have this strap to keep the case closed during transport, but the lack of a place to keep it while using the iPad is the one loose end of the case’s design.
Another important feature of the Oxford is that it is fully compatible with the Apple Pencil 2. This is essential for any new iPad Pro case.
Whether the case is open or closed, no problem. The Pencil can magnetically attach and stay securely connected.
The Oxford also has Smart Cover functionality to automatically sleep and wake your iPad when you open and close the case. It is easy to lose sight of just how handy the Smart Cover feature of the iPad is, but I still appreciate it years after its initial release with the iPad 2.
A little lagniappe
While the Oxford fits the 2018 iPad Pro alone as well as you would expect a fine case to, Pad and Quill advertises that it’s also compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio…sort of.
Well, they do come right out and say that it is, and there are pictures on the product page showing the two together. However, they also hedge just a bit in one their bullet points:
Compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, though we recommend using Magic Keyboard
I personally have to agree. It’s been an either/or arrangement for me in my testing. The fit with the Smart Keyboard Folio is very snug, especially when closed. While it works, I am finding myself using my old reliable Logitech K811 Bluetooth Keyboard more with the Oxford, and that’s just fine. In fact, this has reminded me just how good of a keyboard this is for mobile use. However, you can’t go wrong with Pad and Quill’s recommendation of Apple’s Magic Keyboard, either.
Pad and Quill’s Oxford Leather Case for the iPad Pro is just really strong all around. It has all of the features and quality you would expect from a fine leather case, but it also offers a little more in terms of design. I think the use of the 3M adhesive was really smart, as it cuts down on bulk and thickness without sacrificing device protection. Also, while I may not prefer to use the Smart Keyboard Folio with the Oxford myself, it is a positive that the case is flexible and can pull double duty.
As good as all of that is, the quality look and feel of the leather stands out even more. I really liked the Pad and Quill Traveller and Bella Fino cases for the iPhone that I reviewed recently, but I love this case. The Oxford looks and feels beautiful. It just really suits the iPad Pro in both form and function.
Another huge positive is that Pad and Quill offers an incredible 25-Year Warranty and 30-Day Money Back Promise with this case. You read that right- 25 YEARS. So, if you have some reservations about the 3M adhesive wearing down over time, don’t worry. Even if it did come off or wear out at some point, you are covered. I have a lot of respect for a company that stands behind its products, but this is definitely above and beyond.
Now we come to the price. So $129.95 for the 11″ model and $149.95 for the 12.9 certainly isn’t inexpensive for an iPad Pro case. That much money on top of the retail price of the iPad Pros can take your breath away. However, if you look at what you are getting in terms of quality, design and warranty, I don’t think it is unreasonable. This case is definitely a giant cut above the typical ho-hum, mass produced leather cases out there.
Maybe the Oxford isn’t the case for someone who is just using an iPad Pro around the house, but I think it’s perfect for those who are taking their Pros out with them to the office, school or into the field every day like I am. This is especially true for those who want to add a more professional look and feel to Apple’s top flight tablet. If I am going to a meeting or training class, this is the case I’ll be putting my 12.9″ iPad Pro in.
At the end of the day, the Oxford comes out as one of my favorite non-keyboard iPad cases of all time. I’m talking about all iPads, from the original through almost nine years up to now.. The combo of beautiful leather, great craftsmanship and simple design make for a truly great iPad Pro case.
The Oxford Leather Case for the 2018 12.9″ iPad Pro was provided for review on iPad Insight by Pad and Quill. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.