I’ll be completely honest in saying that I’ve never been a big fan of Apple’s case solutions, in general. I loved the original iPad Smart Covers for the iPads 2 through 4, but that’s about it. They changed that design to a setup that I don’t prefer, and I haven’t bought another one, or any other Apple cases or covers since. Despite my skepticism of past products, however, I have been eyeing some of their Leather iPhone case colors for a bit and thinking of picking one up. When I saw that the new Apple Leather Folio for the iPhone X had wallet-like storage pockets and was also the first case ever to bring sleep/wake functionality to the iPhone, it nudged me over the edge.
As is the case with many Apple products, the deciding factor comes down to whether it is worth the typically higher Apple price to you. This has been a barrier for me, since most of their previous cases were more about looks than compelling functionality, with the Smart Cover being a notable exception. However, the Leather Folio adds a bit more in the functionality column, so it was well worth taking a look at in my book.
While the Leather Folio brings a little more to the table than Apple’s more basic Leather iPhone Cases, the design is still clean and simple, and I mean that in a good way. As you can see in the photos above and below, the color (Taupe, in the case of my review unit) is completely uniform across the case, and the stitching unobtrusive and even throughout.
While many fine leather cases are made to showcase the grain and texture of the material, Apple’s cases are much more “processed,” and are smooth and consistent throughout. While I personally prefer the former, I really do like the look and feel of this case. A case from Vaja may look more interesting to me, but the Leather Folio is still quite beautiful in its simplicity, right down to the subtly embossed Apple logo on the back. It also has a luxurious feel, both inside and out that matches the look.
One big positive for Apple cases and covers is that they fit their devices like gloves without exception.
One litmus test for whether a case comes from a company that cares about what they are doing is how the cut outs for buttons, ports, and speakers fit and line up. They are spot on here, as seen above. We should accept no less from a manufacturer producing their own first-party accessories, especially at Apple prices, but it is worth mentioning that you don’t have to sweat such details when sticking with the home team.
The only disappointment I had with the design of Apple’s Leather Folio was the limited color selection. While the more generic Leather Case is available in nine different colors, the Folio is only available in four (Cosmos Blue, Taupe, Black, and Berry). I especially dislike that they omitted the Saddle Brown, which in my opinion is the most natural looking color in Apple’s leather lineup.
The Leather Folio’s front cover is where design meets function. First off, Apple included two staggered pockets so the case can be used as a scaled down wallet or business card holder.
As you can see above, the two stitches in the front limit usable space in the front pocket, but in such a way that it becomes ideal for holding cards without them always sliding to the bottom. The back pocket is completely open, making it an ideal spot for cash, receipts, and such.
As you can see above, a few cards do make a difference when it comes to closing the case. However, the Leather Folio isn’t meant to take the place of a large wallet, so if you keep the contents at a reasonable limit, the case won’t grow too thick to be useful.
The second and most interesting function of Apple’s Leather Folio is its sleep/wake capability. While the iPad has had this feature since the release of the iPad 2 in 2011, it has taken ten years for it to finally make its way to Apple’s flagship mobile device. I’ve reviewed two different Vaja iPhone cases at different times (one in the past for a different site) that had magnetic closures for the front covers. In both cases, it felt like the absence of this feature was a missed opportunity, albeit a small one. It’s overdue appearance now is welcomed.
Unfortunately, the Leather Folio doesn’t actually have a magnetic closure, so the cover will not stay shut on its own. However, this is kind of a moot point, because that wouldn’t work anyway if you are using the front pockets to hold cards or money. As such, I don’t see the lack of it as a problem. That said, if Apple released a modified version of this case without the pockets on the front cover and with a magnetic closure front, I would be all over it.
As for the sleep/wake function of the case, it is just as simple and reliable as if you were using a Smart Cover on an iPad. Like the old Apple mantra says, “it just works.” Again, I am glad to see this finally show up on an iPhone, and I look forward to seeing if third party case manufactures will take advantage the same way that they do on the iPad.
I didn’t realize that Apple’s Leather Folio didn’t have a magnetic front closure until I got to the Apple Store to buy it and handled the demo on the shelf. If I hadn’t been reviewing the case, I probably would have left empty handed. However, after spending a couple of days using it, I’m glad that I purchased it, and I won’t be returning it now that my review is complete. I won’t use it everyday, but I really like having a wallet case around at certain times and the lack of a magnetic closure ended up being a non-issue for me in real-world use. The Leather Folio is a perfect fit for situations where combining my wallet and phone make sense.
Despite the limited selection of colors and the lack of a magnetic closure to hold the front cover flat to the surface of the phone when closed, I came away with a very favorable impression of Apple’s Leather Folio for the iPhone X. It may not be as visually stunning or unique as some other leather cases, but it looks supremely professional and feels luxurious. More importantly, the fit and finish are spot on, and the addition of the pockets on the inside of the front cover lend it some usefulness. While the sleep/wake feature may seem inconsequential, it also saves you a click or tap every time you open or close the case. That convenience adds up.
While $99 is very expensive for an iPhone case, especially for an iPhone priced like the X, this price is actually in line with what you will pay for similar products from high-end leather manufacturers such as Vaja or Piel Frama. That price range definitely isn’t going to suit everyone, but for those who are looking for a case with a more premium look and feel, the Leather Folio does fit that bill. In that respect, the price is justified. If you are looking for a case in this mold and prefer a more straightforward and professional design, then the Leather Folio is definitely worth a look.
The Apple Leather Folio was purchased by the author for review on iPas Insight. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.