High end laptop and iPad cases tend to be made from leather and other “luxury” materials and usually feature details and craftsmanship that you don’t find in less expensive accessories. However, they also don’t tend to be designed with durability and ruggedness in mind. However, there are exceptions to the norm and I’m always on the lookout for such things.
That’s why I was really interested to take a closer look at DODOcase’s Durable Portfolio after I saw it on their website. The company was kind enough to send me one to review and I’ve very glad that they did, because it’s definitely a unique and very rugged case for any 13″ laptop (and probably 14″), or any iPad model.
Rough around the edges, but in a good way
When I said the Durable Portfolio is rugged, I wasn’t kidding around. This case is NO JOKE. The waxed canvas exterior of the case feels rough (but not in a negative way) and looks tough.
The feel of this case reminds me of something from years gone by. My father is a hunter and target shooter, so I grew up doing the same with him and still do occasionally. The lower 2/3 of this case feels very much like a good quality, rugged, soft-sided gun case. That stands to reason, since they are often made out of the same waxed canvas material.
When treated properly, this material is weather-resistant, making it ideal for toting a laptop with all of your invaluable apps and data to work in the rain or snow. It was an excellent choice of material by DODOcase for this application and it absolutely lives up to this case’s name.
The rough texture of the waxed canvas also works very well when carrying the case around. It’s very easy to hold and grip securely, which is an attribute I like in any case that I review.
A touch of class
While the Durable Portfolio is definitely rugged, it does have a more refined side, as well. I’m of the mind that leather can class up just about anything and the leather closure flap on this case does exactly that. While there is certainly a rugged beauty in the waxed canvas exterior that makes up most of the Durable Portfolio, the leather closure flap adds a little bit of refinement while still fitting in with the rugged ethos of this case.
DODOcase refers to the leather as “Logger’s Leather,” which is the type of material used in boots made for logging and other demanding industries. I’m guessing this reference refers to the fact that the leather used on the Durable Portfolio is thick and untreated on the underside.
That said, while the texture of the underside looks rough, it actually doesn’t feel that way. The leather on both sides is soft and smooth and feel really nice in the hand.
The leather flap closes with a literal snap, which is a bit of a throwback when it comes to cases geared toward electronics.
We see lots of zippers, magnets and even Velcro, but old-school snaps are far less common. However, I think this also fits very well with the design of the case.
I got the Durable Portfolio in the Sage color, which I thought really showed off the rugged look and feel of the materials the best.
However, if you prefer a little more neutral look, DODOcase also offers this case in a black Midnight version.
One more thing when it comes to class. When a case comes with it’s own case or bag to store it in, that’s usually a very good sign.
At the very least, it indicates that the manufacturer is interested in such small refinements and details. It’s a small thing, but it also tends to be a very consistent indicator in my experience.
A soft heart under a tough shell
The interior of the case is a bit softer than the outside, which is a good thing.
Whether you prefer to carry your iPad or laptop naked or in a lightweight case of its own, you don’t have to worry about them being protected when they are in the Durable Portfolio. The orange lining isn’t exactly pillowy soft, but it’s a lot gentler than the outside of the case and it isn’t going to leave any marks.
The center divider is actually the same waxed canvas as the exterior of the case, but the texture is smoother than material on the outside.
I do like that this divider brings a bit of organization to interior, both by dividing it in half and by adding a pocket that can hold a small charger or other small accessories.
As for room in the interior of the case, there’s not quite enough of it for both my Surface Pro and iPad Pro together, but there is more than enough for one device at a time, their accessories, and a possibly a notebook or some papers for a class or a meeting.
Just how durable is a Durable Portfolio?
After spending the last three weeks carrying the Durable Portfolio around with either my iPad Pro or Surface Pro, I believe this case can definitely cut it in a tough environment. While it’s certainly not the only kind of case available that’s built to take a beating, most others tend to be made from synthetic materials that are a lot thicker and bulkier. This is one of the few I’ve seen made from cloth and leather. The fact that it’s also made with sustainable practices is another bonus in its favor.
The waxed treatment of the canvas exterior keeps the outside elements where they belong- outside. This material is also thick enough to protect the contents inside from small drops and dings, as well. Add in the roomy interior and you have rugged case that takes great care of whatever you put in it. That sounds pretty much like the definition of durable to me.
If you are looking for a case for a small to mid-size laptop or iPad that can hold up to the elements, DODOcase’s Durable Portfolio is a great choice. That’s especially true if you prefer a more natural feel in a case, and even more so if sustainable manufacturing practices are important to you. It’s got plenty of room for all of the above and the basic accessories that go with them and will take good care of them for you. Another great bonus- it looks cool enough that you’ll find yourself using it even if you don’t need to carry your gear through a hurricane.
I have one complaint about this case, and it’s completely selfish on my part. I just wish DODOcase offered it in a larger size. I can just barely squeeze my 15.6″ Lenovo Yoga 9i into the Durable Portfolio, but it’s really too tight a fit and it can’t also hold a charger or other accessories. I would love to see a larger version that fits up to 16″ laptops for those of us who carry tanks around. And that’s it. As for the currently offered Durable Portfolio in its present form, I’ve got nothing. It’s pretty much spot on as it stands today.
At $99.95, the Durable Portfolio is priced competitively when you consider the materials and what laptop/iPad cases in the same class run. Other higher-end cases designed for protection at this size also tend to run in this range, so I think the Durable Portfolio is priced properly for what it provides.
As I said at the outset, I prefer cases that are unique and stand out from a large crowd of very similar products. DODOcase’s Durable Portfolio definitely fits this bill inside and out. The design and construction are definitely a throwback to the past, but it’s every bit modern enough to be perfect for taking great care of your gear.
The Durable Portfolio is available from DODOcase for $99.95.
The Durable Portfolio was provided for review on iPad Insight by DODOcase. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.