The Primovisto bamboo iPad Mini case makes a statement; natural beauty protecting a high tech gadget. This is a book-style case with a solid flap that protects your iPad’s screen, and an internal frame made of maple to hold your iPad securely in place. Despite its good looks, the Primovisto case emphasizes appearance over utility. As a result, the case can limit your iPad’s usefulness.
The Primovisto bamboo case is nothing if not handsome. The test version I received fits the iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display, but the company also makes the case in two other sizes to accommodate the 2nd/3rd/4th generation iPad as well as the iPad Air. The case is lightweight but not flimsy, and is made of beautifully finished bamboo. The case edges and corners are nicely rounded, and the binding edge is slightly recessed and covered in a well-fit dark blue fabric. The fabric pulls double duty both as a visual enhancer to the case’s appearance of being a book, and as a nice grip surface for carrying. The interior is covered in the same fabric, and when folded open the binding edge becomes a convenient handle for hiding your iPad in portrait orientation.
The cover of the Primovisto case is held in place by an elastic nylon strap, so it stays firmly in place even when thrown in a bag. The interior maple frame completely covers all sides of your iPad, with cutouts for the speakers/Lightning port, volume buttons, power, and headphone jack. When closed, your iPad is completely protected from all sides from any drops, bumps, or scratches, and the build quality is acceptable if not spectacular. There were a few rough edges on my test case, including the interior of the speaker cutouts which had a small chunk of wood torn out during machining.
The book style case has inherent limits when it comes to the iPad’s functionality, and the Primovisto bamboo is no exception. The solid front flap means you’re pretty much stuck with one use position: open. There’s no typing angle, and even though Primovisto advertises the case as an elevating stand, the weight of an iPad plus the smooth case edges made such a vertical freestanding orientation shaky at best. You can primarily use your iPad flat on a table/lap in any orientation, or hold it in portrait using the binding edge of the case. Otherwise, there’s no real difference from an iPad without a case.
The flap on the Primovisto case is lacking magnets, so there’s no intelligent sleep/wake functionality. By itself, this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but the cutout for the power button was just barely wide enough for my admittedly slender fingers. The interior case is fairly deep—probably about the same thickness as the iPad itself—which makes it difficult to reach the power button. This issue applies to all the port cutouts; the volume buttons are tough to reach due to their position lower on the edge of the iPad (I resorted to using my fingernail), while the volume and Lightning ports require the use of long, skinny leads.
Headphone cables that bend 90º are pretty much unusable, as are any with a very thick connector. The opening is not much wider than the ring around the headphone jack, so bulkier headphone connectors likely won’t fit and make full contact. When plugging in the Apple standard Lightning connector the plug disappears almost completely. This necessitates tugging on the cable to remove it, and the majority of docks won’t be compatible with this case either.
The Primovisto bamboo case is a solid and good looking case with limited usefulness. If your iPad use is casual and mainly handheld, it does provide adequate protection. If you require more versatility, however, this book style case may simply be too limiting.
Buy the Primovisto Bamboo iPad mini Case
Provides: Book-style full coverage iPad protection
Minimum Requirements: iPad mini or iPad mini with Retina display (also available for iPad 2-4, iPad Air)