• BookBook for iPhone 5

    Two and half years ago today I did my review of the BookBook for iPad 1. Today we're back with the latest TwelveSouth accessory, the BookBook for iPhone 5.

    I'm normally not a cover person, I prefer ultrathin or no covers, but some time in Hong Kong for the Sevens convinced me I needed another cover for the trip at least. Whenever you're travelling to a foreign city, the last thing you want to do is carry around all your cards or possibly your entire wallet. It's not that Hong Kong is particularly dangerous; it's just the risk of losing everything in a foreign city. After one night having a loose driver's license and credit card in my pocket, I decided to visit the Apple store in Hong Kong and collect a BookBook for the rest of my trip.

    In many respects, the BookBook for iPhone is little different from the iPad version. It's a similar concept and in essence, the result is a little smaller with some minor tweaks to cater for a slightly similar but different concept. For those who haven't seen the BookBook in any form, the pictures do a really good job of covering the concept. It's a case fashioned to look like an old old book, the kind you'd see in one of your grandfather's libraries.

    With the iPhone cover, the combined the old book design with a wallet, although it only really qualifies as an overnight wallet rather than a full time one, unless you're one of those people that only carries 4 cards. Add the typical Aussie wallet which includes drivers license, EFTPOS card, Medicare card, private health and you're already pushing the boundaries of what it can handle. If you have a couple more, then this isn't really going to cut it for a permanent wallet replacement. It does have a compartment for cash/receipts so as an overnight, it fits the bill perfectly. You could double card the slots, but I get the impression that the cover is going to be a little large if you do that, or at least for my pocket it is so I'll probably just keep my driver's license in there and keep a wallet unless I'm headed out for the night. For Hong Kong evenings it fitted the bill perfectly although I had to keep my money in a separate pocket.

    The one consistency with the BookBook (in comparison to the iPad version) is the quality. When TwelveSouth made the BookBook, a lot of care went into this case and it shows. There are a lot of cases within similar price ranges and of the high quality cases; this one is at the top. The case I have is the brown case and the entire case has an amazing level of detail. With the BookBook for iPad1, I had issues with the way the iPad was fitted into the case. With the iPhone 5 version they've covered off on this issue with something that looks and feels like its a part of the case. Not only have they provided a better fitting mechanism, but they've made it feel like it should be part of the case where the elastic rubber band just looked out of place. I previously saw the iPhone 4/4s version and one of the annoyances, namely the lack of camera hole has also been addressed with this cover. The old method of inserting the iPhone has also been addressed so it seems like they're constantly improving the product with each release.

    From a practicality perspective, I'm not a fan of folder style iPhone covers. It makes it near impossible to use the cover one handed and the stiffness of the fold means that it keeps flopping closed if you do try to use it one handed. There were a couple of times I wanted to use it in this fashion and there was more chance of falling pregnant through wind pollination. This can also create some annoyances with basic tasks like phone calls where you have to fold the cover over to put it against your ear.

    Protection with the BookBook is right at the top end. The phone is suspended in the centre of the cover and it's unlikely to sustain any damage through accidental drops unless the phone somehow dislodges from the case, and even then, the case would take the brunt of the knock and you phone is only likely to sustain some scratches.

    The BookBook is a very peculiar sort of case and it's not likely to appeal to everyone. It looks really good, but the practicality of the cover for heavy phone users is likely to result in the cover being thrown back in a drawer after a period of time where these annoyances become apparent. In being fair to the BookBook, these annoyances are not specific to this cover; it's more of an issue with the type of cover. I have no problem in recommending the BookBook, it's one of the best cases available on the market, but before you consider this case, you may want to consider whether it will be practical for you. It looks good but looks aren't everything these days and it's a large amount to invest in a cover that may never be used.

    The BookBook is available on the Apple store for $69.95

    The photos provided are from the TwelveSouth Website

    About the author

    Athol Hill is the Practice Lead for Stonebridge Systems, an SAP & OpenText implementation partner specialising in web and content management implementations and strategy.

    He is a certified SAP and Project Management Professional with a large number of implementations spanning the globe including Australasia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. When he isn't kitesurfing or spending time with his family, Athol writes part time for Mactalk on a range of subjects including iOS/OSX in the workplace, bleeding edge, product reviews and anything Mac. If you have something new and exciting to review, feel free to get in touch. He can be contacted via twitter on @themissionman or email on athol.hill@mactalk.com.au. Opinions noted here are Athol's own and aren't any official policy of position of his employer.
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