Review: The nicest iPhone case I’ve ever used — Pad & Quill’s leather Luxury Pocket Book

Pad&Quill Luxury Pocket Book

If you’re looking for the best iPhone case ever made, look no further.

When it comes to iPhone cases I’ve tried just about all of them: Protective cases from companies like Otterbox, Lifeproof, and HardCandy, super-slim cases that add barely any bulk to the device, wallet cases for holding cash and cards, and just about everything in between. It’s true I’ve long preferred the look and feel of the naked iPhone in my hand opposed to a case, but I’ve now found a case that truly does the Jony Ive-designed hardware inside justice. It’s a case that’s converted me from one of those annoying blowhards constantly boasting about not using a case to someone that won’t leave home without it.

I’ve finally found the perfect case…

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Disclaimer: I like leather. If you want to stick a big chunk of construction-grade plastic on your phone then go for it. Those cases are the reason I didn’t use one in the first place. I much prefer the high-quality leather, French hem seams, and hand finished wood on the Luxury Pocket Book sent to me by Pad & Quill.

The first thing I noticed about the Pad & Quill Luxury Pocket Book is the incredible amount of attention to detail. The high-quality full grain bag leather is the same used on its high-end bags and is super soft to the touch, the iPhone slides into a masterfully polished piece of Baltic birch like a glove, and every stitch and opening is aligned perfectly. It really is incredible that the company makes the majority of the product by hand in Minneapolis. As the company puts it: “This is a bit excessive, but that’s the idea.”

The attention to detail starts before you even see the product with Luxury Pocket Book’s unique packaging. That’s Pad & Quill’s logo in a real wax seal in the image below:

Pad&Quill Luxury Pocket Book

While the Luxury Pocket Book might add a little extra bulk to your iPhone compared to your average think silicon case, it’s actually on the thin side for a wallet case at 0.55” thick and ample room for cash and cards. There’s three card slots with one transparent pocket to let an ID or other card show through.

Behind the card pockets is a large main wallet pocket where you can slide cash or other cards. Very subtle Pad & Quill logos are embossed into the leather on one of the pockets, the outside cover, and the spine, and a thick elastic band stretches around the case to keep everything closed and secure. At first I thought the elastic band was a bit of compromise for not building in magnets or something else clever to keep it shut, but it actually comes in handy for a few reasons (more on that below).

Pad&Quill Luxury Pocket Book

There are other nice touches too, like Pad & Quill’s signature ribbon bookmark, that make it immediately noticeable the people at the company labor over every detail for every inch of the case.

I went with the “Dark Chocolate” exterior color on the outside joined by a French seam to the “Deep Sea Blue” leather on the inside. The company also offers a lighter Whiskey brown exterior color and “Forest Green” and “Slate Gray” interiors. While the pockets and entire inside are covered in leather, attached to one side is a gorgeous chunk of handcrafted Baltic birch that acts as a cradle for your iPhone.

I was a little worried at first that my iPhone might get beat up when sliding in and out of the wood cradle, but it actually has a really soft satin finish and soft spongy material in the corners. Not only did I not experience any damage to my device, but I was also quite impressed with how perfectly the iPhone fit in the wood cradle. It’s tight enough that your iPhone won’t fall out but you can also easily pop the device in and out without struggling like with most cases I’ve used. The wood cradle of course has openings that allow access to your power/volume buttons, speakers/mic, etc, as does the back of the leather case for the iPhone’s camera.

When it comes to actually using the case, that elastic strap I mentioned earlier solves one of the biggest annoyances I’ve had with wallet cases in the past. Take a look at the average wallet iPhone case on Amazon. For anyone that does a good amount of typing or calling on their iPhone, the flap that holds the cards and case always gets in the way when you’re trying to type or hold the phone to your head. The Luxury Pocket Book’s elastic band solves that by letting you fold the cover behind the device and hold it there with the strap. The leather is soft enough that folding it back behind the case doesn’t result in much wear to the leather and it actually makes a great shoulder prop for talking hands-free. That being said, it’s so easy to pop the iPhone out of the wood cradle that I often just did that when typing or talking for extended periods of time.

Should you buy it? 

Yes. If you’re looking for a leather wallet case for iPhone, go to their site immediately and purchase one. You won’t regret it. I don’t often do full reviews of iPhone cases (because I didn’t use them very often), and the company isn’t paying me a cent to write this, but since getting the Luxury Pocket Book I can’t stop recommending it. The company sells the Luxury Pocket Book for iPhone 5s/5 that I reviewed today for $89.99 in various colors, and also has slightly different Pocket Books for other iPhone models starting as low as $39.

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  1. rtoolstechnology - 9 years ago

    looks really decent.

    • Don Zuckerman - 9 years ago

      You need to get out more. Try magnetic closure cases from Piel Frama or Sena. No contest. You want to take a rubber band off your case every single time you answer the damn phone?????

    • Steven Solway - 9 years ago

      This is clearly a paid promotion. I’ve got one and replaced it as it is mediocre at best,

  2. frostie4flakes - 9 years ago

    I am always impressed with how leather grounds technology in wonderful tradition. This is a very good exaple

  3. kley2013 - 9 years ago

    This is so retarded. Who would want to put his phone there? Seriously?

  4. william whitman - 9 years ago

    This truly looks like a non-starter for me. Plywood? Come on. Maybe teak or ironwood, or even maple. And who wants to wave their credit cards and cash around to answer the telephone? And look at the bulk it adds to the phone. It is massive! It’s a non-starter. I have a battery case that beats this case in every category. I only use it when I need it. And I keep my cash and payment stuff in the hip national bank. If I don’t need a charge, my phone is appropriately undressed.

  5. Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 9 years ago

    That adds an insane amount of bulk. To think of how much work must have gone in to making the iPhone so thin and light, then people go and embed it in a giant wooden brick. Bizarre.

    • Greg Homyak (@ghomyak) - 9 years ago

      But I have an iPhone and a wallet. Together they take up more room in my pockets than this case would. I completely see the rationale for this.

      • pbufs - 9 years ago

        iPhone+wallet vs Luxury Pocket Book is an apples to oranges comparison. The Luxury Pocket Book cannot carry all the contents of a wallet. Alternatively, if you can fit everything into a Luxury Pocket Book, something like a card sleeve+iPhone would be smaller than a Luxury Pocket Book.

      • Sure, but do you hold your wallet up to your head when you answer the phone? Or do you take out your wallet and open it while you check a text message?

  6. Atheos (@ath305) - 9 years ago

    I don’t like that one, too bulky. Good thing that Pad & Quill seems to be aware of this and made a less bulky model called Bella Fino. Got one a few weeks back and I’m in love. THAT is the nicest one if you ask me. While not actually SLIM, it’s still very tolerable compared to this. And for anyone who appreciates good leather, it’s the same stuff mentioned in the review. Still a bit stiff but getting better every day.

  7. This thing is gorgeous. Just wish it was more in the $59 range, which is still pricey – but I could mayyyybe talk myself into it.

  8. Torrey Huerta - 9 years ago

    That looks pretty darn big. I’ll pass.

  9. Tom Kelly (@GatorTPK) - 9 years ago

    This does look nice. I do like leather, I have a blue leather case from Apple. It’s very thin and protects my iPhone well enough, and it wears just like any other leather.

    I am a little confused about this case though, if you fold the cover flap over the back then your cards, etc will be visible (when talking in public). I suppose that no private information is really visible. Also, using the camera on the iPhone, you have to avoid folding the flap to the back.

    I guess I’ve never considered this type of case, I suppose I could get used to it. But I really like the slim leather case that Apple sells.

  10. clarkberryman - 9 years ago

    Wow. I looked over this review a couple of times, and I didn’t see anywhere that Jordan had asked what other people thought of this case. In fact, it seems that since he is the one getting paid by 9to5 to write this review, his opinion is the only one that matters. If it’s not “your thing,” fine, but Pad and Quill would be the growing business that it is if there weren’t a market for their product. If you want to voice your opinion, get a blog of your own.

    • Torrey Huerta - 9 years ago

      I don’t think the author would appreciate you asking his visitors to go and create competing blogs. :P

  11. Howard Brittain - 9 years ago

    I had one of these and hated it. Plasticky, the wood is awful, the elastic band makes it a pain to use. Overall horrible waste of money. I got a far better leather wallet case for $25 on eBay.

  12. Ariel Isaac - 9 years ago

    Why the in some fotos reads SAMSUNG SCS?

    • Jordan Kahn - 9 years ago

      Because the photos were taken with a Samsung Galaxy NX. I forgot to change that alternative text but I’ve updated now. Thanks.

  13. Steve Lawrence - 9 years ago

    How do you carry out a phone conversation when your phone is in this thing??

    • Jordan Kahn - 9 years ago

      The cover with your cards folds around the back and the elastic strap holds it there. It’s pretty comfortable and like I said in the review, it’s super easy to pop the phone in and out. This is clearly for those looking for a wallet case.

  14. sunhou - 9 years ago

    I have their similar case for my 5th gen iPod Touch. I wanted to protect it since I carry it in my pocket which also typically has some coins in there. I think it’s a great case; the added bulk isn’t a problem for me; my jeans pocket has plenty of room for the device in the case. My main complaint is that elastic strap wore out and broke for me after something like 6 months, which was disappointing. Also, the bit of lint in my pocket gets in/around everything, and it would be nice if there were a way to protect the back camera lens. Some kind of little sliding cover over the lens would be nice (though I’m not sure how it could be made to not get in the way, be easy to open/close, and still keep the outside of the case fairly smooth).

  15. myfantasticshow - 9 years ago

    Oh wow you really seem to love your piece of dead cow. 2014. Oh my.

  16. bettse - 9 years ago

    I think the review is missing a comparison to the Twelve South BookBook for iPhone.

  17. Dan - 9 years ago

    Wow, I would love to have one if these. A little thinner wouldn’t hurt.

  18. Joey Doe - 9 years ago

    Dude! Are you crazy? That case looks like something a female would carry AND why a need for a case, for the iPhone? The phone is pure beauty, nothing like it out there. It is meant to show-off – hey, I got an iPhone and you don’t sort of thing. Why cover-up something that’s beautiful to look at and play with? Maybe have a decent case for traveling – on the road, hiking, etc. It is like covering a sofa with plastic or a sofa cover when the actual thing is meant to sit on and enjoy. Hell, I have a $5,000.00 fabric sofa, there is zero way I’m going to cover that. The same applied to the iPhone. Get it!

  19. Pad &Quill products do not hold up well! The cases separate where the cover bends to open. After about sixty days , the cover and your money are in the recycle bin! Company owners are dismissive and will not honor their warranty. Nice product in theory only.

  20. Lincoln Sills - 9 years ago

    I think you forgot to precede the title with Opinion:

    These crap cases are just that, crap. If your idea of a great case involves taking the iPhone out to use it or parading around all your banking and personal information when you get a call then you would be a great blogger instead as they love gimmicky crap. “Hey not only does my sweet new case make my phone 7X bigger it puts my banking cards at risk…what a adrenaline rush I get every time I get a phone call!” How can this be anything other then a gimmick. If you want to review a great case without cheesy nonfunctional gimmicks then please review Apple’s leather cases. They hold true to what a case should be, unintrusive, sleek, great protection without jeopardizing the feel and look of the device, have equally great styling, and they can’t impede the use of the phone, this unequivocally is the most important factor for a case which this Pad and Quill case egregiously fails! 

    Pad and Quill cases are a litmus test for the users competence and ability to push their iOS device to its limits. To use this case is to say I never “really” use my phone. This carries over to the laptop case as well. 

    You REALLY think that it is leather and you REALLY feel like you are wrapping your phone in luxury??? That is the same as comparing an electric for Focus to Seth’s Testla. The feel and use of these is laughable just like the notion that the Otterbox case is for the aver user. Reminds me of the office manager that never goes outside but has an Otterbox case to protect his iPhone 4S.  I’m astonished a writer from this blog would not only use but praise such a beginner/entry level case. 

    Saying “when it comes to iPhone cases I’ve tried about all of them” and precede that with 3 of the WORST case ever made is ridiculous and indicative of a writer that was paid for this post or didn’t do any prep work. You wouldn’t wear a chain mail suit to snorkel just as you wouldn’t get a freaking Otterbox case unless you worked in a environment that was physical or dangerous. To say you’ve tried them all is a farce and you are short changing the reader.  

    While we are dispelling ignorant thinking, saying if it wasn’t popular they wouldn’t make it holds no water, look at the MS Surface. They lost 900 million and still make it. Simply making a product does not qualify it for consumption.

    So in light of all the cases out there that were left in the cold here are a just 2 that I would recommend looking at. 

    Apple’s Leather Case:

    FireTi iPhone cases and wallets:

    • Lincoln Sills - 9 years ago

      Whoops… I see you write for 9to5Google, nothing like a little validity to prove my point :P 

      • Jordan Kahn - 9 years ago

        I stand by the review. I’ve tested hundreds of cases in many different environments and you’re right, some cases are better for certain use cases. That being said, I like a wallet case for my day to day use and this one from Pad & Quill is by far the nicest I’ve used. Apple’s leather case is a great option if you don’t want a wallet, but it’s no comparison to the quality and craftsmanship that goes into the Pad&Quill cases. What can I say, I like nice things. I think that other FireTi case you linked is ugly. To each his own.

    • clarkberryman - 9 years ago

      You don’t seem to realize that this is a review of a case that Jordan happens to like. I have the previous iteration of this case, and it is still going strong after 1 year of EXTENSIVE use. That is fact.

      I have a hard time believing you actually referenced the Surface Pro in defense of your argument, mainly because that’s comparing Apples to piles of poop. Microsoft obviously has a lot more capital to spend on ideas that don’t make it than a young company that has been in business for just a few years. Also, THERE IS A MARKET, for both Pad and Quill and the Surface Pro. You may not be in that market, and I’m sure that PQ is fine with that.

      All I’m trying to say is that this article gives one man’s opinion, and if you don’t like it, you can say so, but there’s no reason to act a fool.

  21. Paul Nielsen - 9 years ago

    who edited this piece?

    “Protective cases from companies like Otterbox, Lifeproof, and HardCandy, super-slim cases that add barely any bulk to the device, wallet cases for holding cash and cards, and just about everything in between.” is not a complete sentence.

    If you want to be an author, then think like an author and practice your craft with pride.

    • myfantasticshow - 9 years ago

      Someone really needs to brush up on his linguistics. “Word.” is a perfectly fine sentence even from a normative point of view.

  22. Davide Ribeiro - 9 years ago

    This case seems to be quality, but i prefer cases like “Kouros Torque” from Kouroscases. Its made with genuine leather too, and have an incredible microfiber lining, named Alcantara, that is used in luxury sports cars and other luxury stuff. Is incredible soft, and don’t make your iPhone take the double of size when it is in the pocket.

  23. pseudolink - 9 years ago

    My experience with this case was the complete opposite. It took a little over 2 weeks for it to arrive at my door even though they say you’ll get it in just a few days. Yes the packaging was nice, and I really like the personalization. The leather was good quality but mine arrived with one stitch out of place. I wasn’t about to return since I didn’t want to wait so long again so I just shrugged it off. I was initially impressed with the look and feel but as far as usability, it sucks. It only fits 3 cards. My ID, debit card and credit card. The only card I didn’t have difficulty putting in was my ID. The other two slots were very tight. Tight enough that I had to pretty much jam the cards in. It was not pleasant. Once I had the cards in I tried putting in about 100 dolls in 20’s which did not fit and made the case bulk up way too much. The strap was a bit annoying since I had to adjust it every time I closed the case (it wouldn’t sit flat on its own). When I tried taking a picture it was awkward to hold and even worse when trying to take video. Typing was not as great as it would be with normal cases since there’s a bounce when the cover is put behind the phone. Needless to say I returned the case. To me, it definitely was not worth the money I paid for it.

  24. shareef777 - 9 years ago

    I’ll just carry my phone around in the original box it came with. /s

  25. Lance Newcomb - 9 years ago

    $90 and you get….plywood? For $90 I expect a decent hardwood.

  26. varera (@real_varera) - 9 years ago

    For only $90 your gorgeous iPhone can look hideous and ugly

  27. Bardhok Ndoji - 9 years ago

    No kidding! This looks like a briefcase to me! I would I hide my beautiful iPhone in there?

  28. Szymon Kiedyk - 9 years ago

    Oh man this looks terrible, how do you talk on your phone with that thing? The flap hitting your head all the time? It looks nice, but I see no practical logic here.

  29. Court Kizer - 9 years ago

    Leather: We pull the cows up by their back feet while they scream in agony. We hang them from a chain on the ceiling upside down. We slit their throats and let them bleed out while their joints rip out of socket. Then we peal their skins off and poor the most toxic chemicals on earth onto their skins to turn skin into leather. I worked at a slaughter house. Leather is not sustainable.

    • Lance Newcomb - 9 years ago

      Actually, leather is an infinitely renewable resource AND its biodegradable. Vynal and silicone are FAR more harmful and non-sustainable.

      • myfantasticshow - 9 years ago

        1. Renewable and sustainable do *not* mean the same thing. You know that fossil fuels are actually “infinitely renewable”, right? 2. Cows are “infinitely renewable”, leather isn’t sustainable with its current production methods. 3. I’m not completely sure hipster leathery bullshit justifies violence of any kind on any sentient being.

  30. Does the case come with the 40 dollars in Canadian twenties and the two Scotiabank Scene™ VISA Debit Cards?

    Well that’s value, eh!

  31. Grady Gaugler - 9 years ago

    I love the idea, but wood? I’ve had soooo many cases for my iPhone 5, and the #1 thing I learned to look for is a soft interior for the phone to touch (fur, foam, etc) because the rim scratches so easily, it kills me to see my iPhone with scratches all over the rim, and it’s all from cases… :(

  32. Eric Diaz - 9 years ago

    Two companies that I love are Vaja Cases, and Draco Design, both who produce unbelievably crafted cases, Vaja from leather and Draco from Aluminum. I do not get paid by any of these companies but enjoy gorgeous, high quality cases that are aesthetically pleasing and functional. While Pad and Quill has that Indiana Jones journal weathered look that some appreciate, I do not like the wood holding the iPhone in place. Also, the rubber band thing is stupid and will not last long as I have had a similar case prior. Vaja and Draco are about the same or a bit higher in price but I guarantee that you will love the quality of case that you buy along with the compliments that you will get. Happy shopping!

  33. Rob Stein - 9 years ago

    Hey Jordan,
    I’ve been contemplating a wallet case for a while. It’s not something I anticipate using all the time, but I’ve got a vacation coming up and was thinking on trying one out. I was going to buy the BookBook, but was concerned about reviews I read about what happens when you fold the wallet side over to talk on the phone. Apparently the noise cancelling mic on the back side gets covered up and the person on the other end has a ton of trouble hearing you. Have you had any issues with that problem with the Pad & Quill wallet case? Since you posted this review almost two weeks ago I thought I’d ask – are you still loving it?

    • Jordan Kahn - 9 years ago

      Ya, I’m still loving it and using it every day. Haven’t had any issues with the mic. There is a bit of a gap between the cover and the back of the phone when it’s folded back and being held by the elastic band. I use headphones for the majority of voice calls so I might not have noticed as much as someone else.

  34. Can you tell me if the spine of the case turns a different color as it wears? I’ve been using a TwelveSouth BookBook, a very direct competitor to the Pad & Quill PocketBook, and you do fold the front flap around to the back to make phone calls. But after a few months of use, the spine shows signs of wear and starts to turn white where the fold happens. I’ve tried black and brown leather and they both do the same. If the Pad & Quill Luxury Pocket Book doesn’t have this problem (maybe they use a different leather) I would consider giving this a try. Other than this one problem I do love the BookBook by TwelveSouth.

  35. Darin Jensen - 9 years ago

    If you are required to carry two phones like I am then there is a strong case for this case as it eliminates the need to carry a separate wallet. I have this case. I bought it and the Twelve South BookBook at the same time. I sent the BookBook back the same day because it felt and looked much cheaper than the Pad & Quill and didn’t have an elastic to help keep it shut.

    For me, the Pad & Quill is the perfect solution to reducing three items (a wallet and two phones) down to two items. Please note if you need to carry 25 cards in your wallet this product won’t work for you as it maxes out at about 4 cards and driver license. I’ve had the case for about a year and really love it. I get unsolicited positive comments from people whenever I pull it out. I should also point out that I don’t talk much on the phone (does anyone anymore?) so having to pull off the elastic and open the cover to answer is a not an issue for me. Also, the wood used is very high quality and certainly doesn’t look like plywood. Not sure why this post has attracted so many negative reviews. This is great case.

  36. Bobby Collins - 9 years ago

    Looks beautiful, but I don’t get it. How do you use phone with flap in the way? I bought a jimmyCASE. It’s holding 6 cards and no flap to get in way.

  37. Lindo (@SeanLindo) - 9 years ago

    I had no idea this community was capable of such vitriol. Wow, just wow.

  38. Tamaki Wada - 8 years ago

    Do you know this iPhone case? I got the very expensive iPhone 6 case.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.