Review: Pad & Quill Contega Thin Case

There is no greater satisfaction as a designer than setting up a beautiful workspace and immersing yourself in work, especially now more than ever before.

For years now, ever since I got my first iPad, I have considered the case as the most relevant accessory you can get for an iPad. No matter how often or not you use it, a protective case is the first thing that you interact with most, so never underestimate its importance.

Having tested the Pad & Quill Contega Thin case for three weeks now on my 2018 iPad Pro 11” paired with the second-generation Apple Pencil, here’s what I have to say about it.

First off, I was surprised to see that the Contega case is not a case. Made using Buckram linen, a bookbindery material used in archival quality volumes, it resembles a book or a really nice quality notebook more than anything.

Considering the sleek, high-tech design of the iPad, the Contega Thin case is a breath of fresh air from the usual plastic case and an elegant return to the analog world. From how it looks and feels to how it works, the Contega case is a beautiful piece of design all together.

Hand-made using traditional bookbinding techniques and designed to look like a book, the rough, textured Buckram linen of the outside is complemented by a rubberized material on the inside, against which the display is rested when closed.

Different from most cases I’ve tested before, the Contega Thin uses a clean release adhesive from 3M that keeps the iPad in place seamlessly, without an extra frame to secure it.

I found this to be a really simple installing mechanism that doesn’t add any unnecessary features. Having the case open inside face up, there are two strips of adhesive on the right side. You simply peel the top layer off, align your iPad, and press down. Easy as that. To further test this, I have taken it off several times without any adhesive residue left on the iPad and no damage to the clean release strips. However, this is not an everlasting system, so make sure you don’t take your iPad off three times a day and you should be good.

Another reason why I love this system is that, while with most cases, the iPad is completely covered from side to side, the Contega Thin lets it breathe, partly exposing the beautiful design without compromising on safety, having all corners covered when closed. This also allows for direct contact with the iPad’s back surface, which makes you feel like you are not using a case at all, more like a smart cover.

Going into the design features, on the surface of the inside material, there is a notch that keeps the iPad in place when in landscape mode, together with the high grip of the material. Out of personal preference, I would bring the notch a bit lower or just add another one for a more versatile viewing angle. This, however, also depends on how high your workbench is together with your personal preferences.

As the main viewing angle is dictated by the restrictive position of the notch on the inner surface, you have the option of positioning the iPad lower for different viewing angles. This is however not the most secure choice and you may find that it tends to slip a little bit. A way around this is to use a keyboard as a resting point for the iPad, just like I am doing right now with my Bluetooth keyboard while writing this review.

Another viewing option is to bring the iPad as low as possible starting from landscape mode so that you rest it flat on the case. This creates a slight angle that is quite comfortable for drawing or doing any other Pencil work.

You may also choose to have the case open in portrait mode, like an actual open book on the table, or fold one of the covers under, which I would say is more comfortable when held in the hand.

When placed in landscape mode, the opening and closing of the Contega case is really satisfying, reminding me of how I would open a laptop. The case also has an incorporated magnet that enables the on/off feature of the iPad, making the user experience even more pleasing.

Something else I noticed when working in landscape mode is that the back of the iPad is easily accessible, making it really comfortable to hold with your hand when scrolling.

The Apple Pencil is also easily accessible but invisible from sight when the case is closed, which means it is quite hard to accidentally take it off.

Another cool feature is the elastic strap on the front that keeps the case closed. While its purpose is mainly functional, it reinforces the feeling of an analog notebook, while also keeping your undercover iPad pretty securely closed.

Given the book-like design, the spline together with the covers might give a little extra thickness to the case. However, I didn’t find this bulky in any way, given the texture of the material and the general shape that make it very comfortable and secure in the hand, both when closed and when opened.

The weight of the case is 198 grams, which combined with the 468 grams of the iPad Pro 11’’ and the 20 grams of the Apple Pencil gives a total of 686 grams, which is way lighter than the current MacBook air of 1.29 kg, for example.

Available in two different colors, Linen Gray and Charcoal, the options are quite neutral and modern, fitting into any already existing colour palette of accessories.

An elegant, high-quality design that ticks all the boxes, the Pad & Quill Contega Thin case is a beautiful addition to my workspace and any workspace really. While slightly on the pricier side, the premium look and feel of the Contega Thin is something you can’t go wrong with. Having tested cheap, plastic cases in the past, only now do I appreciate the importance of a good quality iPad case, which I have found in the Contega This from Pad & Quill.

The Contega Thin is available on the Pad & Quill website for $109.95, fitting the 2020/2019/2018 iPad Pro 11’’ models.

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