You’d think a handcrafted Nexus 7 tablet case made in the U.S. using time tested bookbinding techniques would be a rare occurrence, yet here I am, reviewing my third product of its kind. It’s not only surprising, but quite refreshing. I’m actually quite proud to see American craftsmanship being used to mesh old world techniques with modern day products. It’s both nostalgic and, well… modern.
This next case comes to us from Portenzo, a tried-and-true company known for creating fantastic made-to-order iPad cases. While I can’t promise the Portenzo BookCase for the Nexus 7 will be the last hardcover case I review, I can say this: it’s one of the best I’ve reviewed.
- Hand sanded American maple frames with smooth radius corners for a truly unique look.
- Double-Glued elastic band won’t ever come undone.
- All the necessary port reliefs for full access and functionality of your device.
- Gel grips for a secure and comfortable fit.
- Optional IntelliStand adds the versatility of more viewing angles to your case.
- Automatic sleep/wake feature included by default (no charge), no matter what options you choose.
- Optional MagnaGrip™ cover eliminates the elastic band for a cleaner look.
- Personality: Customize the color, design, and even add personal embossing.
Like its competitors, the Portenzo case for the Nexus 7 is handcrafted in the good ol’ US of A. Each case includes a personal product ticket which is signed by the person responsible for crafting your particular case. It’s a small gesture that shows pride in craftsmanship, which ultimately leads to pride in ownership.
The standard BookCase model I reviewed was both lightweight and well constructed. While I can’t speak for the origins of the materials, the Portenzo site lists the wooden frame as natural American maple. While the maple frame does have a unique characteristic to it, I believe it has more to do with the layered design of the wood than anything else. The layered/pressed (similar to plywood) design of the maple frame creates a stronger and more stable product while somewhat resembling the pages of an actual book. I’m not sure if it was intentional but it’s fantastic.
The cover of the case has the traditional rigid feel of a jacketless hardcover book and while I’ve been spoiled by the posh feel of soft leather, it was quite comfortable and familiar to hold. If you too have been spoiled by leather, no sweat, Portenzo offers a high-end leather model called the Alono. In fact, Portenzo offers a multitude of customizations. Chose from a variety of colors, materials, or shoot them an email to have a custom case made using your own art or company logo.
This particular model came with the IntelliStand option: a customization that allows the case to be folded into a stand for better viewing angles. Switching between standard case and IntelliStand mode is simple thanks to a guiding fold on the back cover and a couple rare earth magnets that snap the case into position. Of all the made-to-order, handcrafted Nexus 7 cases I’ve reviewed, Portenzo’s method for transforming between case and stand is by far the easiest and most ingenious.
Easy access to ports and buttons… yeah, the Portenzo BookCase has ‘em. You’ll find every pertinent cutout included in the frame. Easy and open access to the Power/Volume buttons, microSD port, 3.5mm audio port, microphones, and even a speaker bumper (which coincidentally looks like a pair of headphones) for an optimal in-case audio experience.
This particular Portenzo case was fitted with clear gel grips in the frame’s corners for an easy and secure fit. I much prefer the gel grips to the rubber ones used in similar products, as the gel can conform to the device, allowing it to be fitted with much less pressure.
You’ll find that every Portenzo Nexus 7 case comes equipped with an embedded magnet to activate the wake/sleep feature on the Nexus 7, which is nice. This particular case was also fitted with an elastic strap to keep the case closed, and while I know many people dislike elastic straps, I actually prefer them. However, if you’re the strapless type, Portenzo offers a magnetic latch option for bit extra.
This is supposed to be the part where I tell you something bad about the product, however, I honestly have nothing negative to say about the product itself. The only complaint I could possibly think of has to do with price. While the basic model is priced in comparison to its competitors, it’s when you start adding options or looking at other models that pricing gets a little out of hand.
For instance, if you prefer the leather, you can expect to pay a $100+ — that’s more than half the cost of the Nexus 7 itself! Now that’s just silly.
If it’s a quality case you’re looking for, look no further than Portenzo. Their handcrafted, lightweight Nexus 7 cases are durable, offer great protection, and look great. Portenzo earns a huge +1 for its IntelliStand and with their plethora of options and custimizations, you can be assured you’ll find the perfect case personality for your Nexus 7.
Like most things that sound too good to be true, these great cases come at a price. Stick to a basic model with IntelliStand and you can expect to pay just under $50. Start considering designer covers, magnetic closures, or fine leather, and you’re going to end up needing a case to protect your case.
Overall, I give the Portenzo BookCase for the Nexus 7 an almost perfect 4.9 out of 5.
For more information or to peruse the various Portenzo Nexus 7 cases, be sure to visit http://shop.portenzo.com/nexus.
[Update: Winners picked! Congratulations Dain Laguna (BookCase) and lkerpal (HardBack), please send an email to vincent@cultofandroid for confirmation.]
Portenzo was kind enough to provide us with two coupon codes to giveaway. One is good for the HardBack model (no frame) and the other is for the BookCase model. Both models come basic (no options) but if you’re looking to add options once you win, I’d suggest contacting Portenzo and I’m sure they can add them on for a cost.
For a chance to win one of these great cases, all you have to do is Follow, Like, or +1 Portenzo using your preferred social network and then share this post. Post a link to your share in the comments and you’re entered! Also, if you have a preference to which case you’d like to win, you can include that in your comment (not required though).
This contest starts now and will end tomorrow November 6th, 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!
Special thanks to Portenzo for the review case and coupon codes!