Review: Zenus iPad 2 leather cases are affordable, functional, and classy

Leather cases for the iPad can easily run from $100 to $200+, but there are many less expensive options. Zenus has an attractive lineup of functional cases for $60 to $90.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

There are thousands of accessories for the Apple iPad and I personally enjoy trying out different case options. The iPad 2 is a large mobile device, when you compare it to smartphones, and thus leather cases for this tablet can be quite expensive. The simple leather iPad Smart Cover itself (just a single piece of leather that covers the display) is priced at $69. Zenus sent along some samples of attractive, affordable, and functional leather cases to try and if leather (genuine and synthetic) is your thing then you should consider one of these for your Apple iPad 2.

I have seen folio type leather cases from Vaja running from $160 to $260 and Piel Frama leather cases priced at $175+ so when you look at the $59.99 and $89.99 prices for these two types of Zenus cases you get a perspective that these cases are very reasonably priced. That may also then lead you to think they are cheap and shouldn't be considered, but that is where you would be wrong. Zenus cases are made in Vietnam and as you can see in my image gallery they are functional and attractive. I have had my iPad 2 in these cases for the last three weeks and the case still looks as new as when I took it out of the box.

Image Gallery: Check out four Zenus cases for the Apple iPad 2.
Image Gallery: Four Zenus review cases
Image Gallery: Masstige case

Masstige Color Block Series Folio Type

The less expensive samples that were sent for my evaluation were the Masstige Color Block Series Folio Type Leather Case in Black Chocolate and the Off White. Both are available now for $59.99.

The cases come in a simple plastic retail container and on the back it states there is a 1-year warranty on the case. I pulled the first Masstige Folio case out of the package and immediately felt the supple nature of the synthetic leather used in the case. I like the feel of the leather in my hand much more than the Crocodile real leather of the other cases I tested.

The Masstige Folio cases are sewn together with a tight stitching pattern that looks to be able to withstand years of use, but obviously I haven't had that long to test them out. There is a small silver logo embedded on the front bottom right corner and the Zenus name embedded in the back right bottom corner.

The Off White color case is an attractive white that is not too stark and blinding for everyday use. In the inside you will find green leather areas for the storage pocket and part of the spine area that contrast well with the white and give it a very nice look. The Black Chocolate is a very attractive brown with red contrasting color on the inside and around the open slot on the back. I enjoy the contrasting color used on the back/spine area where the top is attached to the bottom and think it makes the case a bit sporty.

You can see on the front of the top piece that there is a seam about 1/3 over from the left side that is used for standing up the case in landscape orientation. There is a silver magnetic closure piece on the middle of the right side where a strap goes around the right (open) side and secures into this piece to keep things buttoned up. On the inside of the top piece you will find 2/3 of the cover in green leather with two pockets for business cards or other flat documents you want to store in your case. The other 1/3 is soft textured material.

The inside of the bottom is embossed with the Zenus logo and name in soft textured material. You can see openings for the speaker, camera, headset jack, power, volume, and lock switch buttons, and the iPad connection port. The bottom is rigid and there are two pieces, about 3 inches each, on each side in the middle that barely extend over the top of the iPad and act to secure it in the back of the case. This securing mechanism is actually quite good and it takes a bit of effort to remove your iPad after you place it in position.

You simply snap your iPad 2 into the bottom half of the case, best to slide in one side under the securing piece and then push the other side down. Make sure to line up the top and bottom too because once you snap in both sides you cannot slide your iPad 2 up and down in the case. You can then close the front panel and flip the strap over to secure it in place. The front cover easily opens to rest flat against the back.

You will notice on the back of the bottom that all of the openings are well designed with leather that covers all edges of the openings. There is an attached leather piece just left of center that has a strong flap/clip. This is used to hold the top piece that swings around (makes a triangle out of the case) so you can prop up your iPad 2 for viewing movies or using your case in landscape hands-free mode. You can prop it up in viewing (iPad propped up high) or typing (iPad at a small angle laying flat) positions just by rotating the iPad 2 and case into position.

One final slick feature of the Masstige Folio case is that they support the sleep/wake function of the iPad 2 just like the Smart Covers so when you open up the case your tablet display turns on and when you close it the display turns off.

Prestige Crocodile Sportism Series Stand Type

Zenus also sent two color samples of this genuine leather case model. One is the Pearl White and the other is the Royal Navy color with both available now for $89.99.

These Prestige Sportism Stand type cases are rigid on the top and bottom so you get a bit more protection out of them than the Masstige case. Both of these cases are solid, except for a contrasting triangular piece on the top of each case. The Pearl White one has a navy blue piece with red stripe (making this a patriotic red, white, and blue case) while the Royal Navy one has a green piece with white stripe (making this a good case for Seattle Sounders FC or Seattle Seahawks fans). The solid color has a crocodile texture throughout that I personally like while others I showed it to were not fans. The only Zenus labeling on the outside is an embedded name and logo in the large contrasting triangular piece.

Unlike the Masstige case, there is nothing but the contrasting color triangle and stripe on the front of the top piece. Opening up the case and looking at the inside of the top presents you with an embossed design in the soft textured gray material. You will notice a small (about 1.5 inches) piece that is used to fit around your iPad 2 and hold the top closed.

The bottom is rigid and like the Masstige case you set your iPad 2 into the bottom first. The securing mechanism on this case is an upper and lower piece that fits over the top of your iPad 2 and is found on the right 1/3 of the back piece. The best way to get your iPad 2 in the case is to slide it from the left to the right and under both the top and bottom clasps at the same time. There is a seam in the rigid back about 1/3 in from the right that is used for the propping mechanism. After you secure your iPad 2 in place you can then "swing out" the bottom (in landscape) 2/3 of your iPad 2 and rest it against the small securing mechanism of the top piece. I like the viewing angle presented with this mechanism and found it quite useful.

All the openings are again provided on this Prestige model case and both insides of the top and bottom are covered in soft gray material. And once again, the sleep/wake function of the iPad 2 is supported with this case so you are ready to go as soon as you open up the top piece.

Final thoughts

I have to say I was very impressed with the color selection, quality of materials and construction, and functionality of these cases. When you consider these are half the price (or more) of comparable leather cases then these are cases you should definitely consider if you want something in leather or synthetic leather material. I couldn't really tell the Masstige case was synthetic and while I thought I would like the Prestige more with the cool colors I ended up liking the Off White Masstige case best out of all four samples. The contrasting colors and soft feel of the synthetic leather are what appealed to me most and I may pick one of these up for myself soon too.

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