06 February 2013

Filofax Pennybridge A5 Organiser iPad Case

Are Filofax trying to tempt us out of using pen and paper? Hmmm good question I thought... I'm a keen user of technology, I'm using my 27" quad core Apple iMac to write this post.

I own an iPad, an iPod Touch, all very useful gadgets for keeping in touch with people, reading blog comments, sending messages on Twitter and checking Facebook. But I stay locked to my Filofax for planning my daily life and keeping myself on track... yes all these gadgets are beautifully synced effortlessly together via iCloud. Add an appointment on one of them and as if by magic it appears on any of the others in the click of a finger..... so why is it I don't use them.

Too slow for me... whilst they might sync in the click of a finger, I don't find making entries for appointments as quick and simple as picking up a pen, glancing at my open Malden, which remains my faithful companion by my side on the desk next to my iMac shiny slim keyboard.

Neither is checking to see if I'm free for a conference call this week or next week. I can glance down whilst touch typing my email or tweet and spot the gap, look back up and continue to type with hardly a pause in my click click click rattling typing.

No, I can't do that if I have to open another app dive in to a day, then go back to the app I was communicating with. I just doesn't work for me..... 

So why would I want a Filofax that can hold an iPad? Another good question....   Well after many Wednesdays of 'throwing my hat in to the ring' for the Filofax 'Win Wednesday' competition, I got lucky and won this Pennybridge A5 Organiser iPad Case, to give it its full title.

The Pennybridge organiser came with a standard fill of:
  • Transparent flyleaf
  • Week on one page multil-anguage diary
  • Ruler/page marker
  • Six blank tab index - plain cream
  • White ruled notepad
Please note that the iPad is not included! Please also note that this case is for the regular size iPad not the iPad Mini.
Remembering that the organiser section only has 20mm rings you can see why they have opted for a week on one page diary. The note pad fits in to a slot on the left hand side of the case but it then covers up the card slots.

I think I would be tempted to remove the notepad and just carry a few sheets of ruled or blank paper in the organiser, because then you wouldn't be writing on a 'bumpy' surface of the cards.

If I was using this organiser/case to attend meetings or a conference I could easily adapt my set up from my desk A5 Malden with 30mm rings to fit in to the smaller 20 mm rings of the Pennybridge organiser. You would have to be regimented, but it would be possible I'm sure.  

The rings are fitted on the back cover of the organiser which is made of a stiff plastic.

At first I wasn't convinced about the layout with the iPad on the right and the organiser on the left. But the organiser is very easy to remove so you can use it out of the case and slot it back in again so it's not really an issue.

The case has all the cut outs for the iPad, for the docking connector, speaker, microphone, camera lens, on-off button and volume control. Although I do find accessing the power button and the volume control slightly difficult because of the stiffness of the case.  Using the iPad in landscape mode in this case isn't so easy as it is with my normal iPad case.

Volume control and lock switch

Docking connector and speaker

Camera cutout

To put the iPad in to the case was simple enough, you just slide out a foam packing card and slide in the iPad.

With the standard fill as supplied and the iPad installed the total weight of the case is 1.44 kg, yes quite heavy, but my A5 Malden that sits on my desk is 1.07 kg, but that does have a lot more pages in it.

Adding in some more diary pages to take it up to more or less the capacity of the rings took the weight up over 1.5 kg.

Whilst the case looks quite bulky,  in fact it tapers from the outer edge to the spine which is factionally thinner, so it is very easy to carry. Being zipped, all the contents are kept secure and away from the elements.

The Pennybridge has a slightly bigger foot print compared to an A5 Malden

On the back of the Pennybridge there is a useful slot pocket, no zip on this so you can easily slide in a brochure or a few sheets of A5 paper or folder A4 paper. If you were at a conference or an exhibition this set up would work very well, for looking things up on websites and jotting down notes or appointments in the organiser.

Naturally I would have loved to have won the Malden version of this case/organiser.. not that I consider the Pennybridge that much the 'poor cousin' of the Malden. The Pennybridge didn't have any horrible plastic smell when I opened it, it is soft to touch, practical in terms of care and durability. Oh and if you are paying real money the Pennybridge is considerably cheaper!

Filofax UK have done a simple video for both the Pennybridge and the Malden iPad cases, they are the same design, but the Malden is in leather instead of a simulated leather. It also comes with a 20mm ring size organiser.

I have to declare that I didn't buy this particular Filofax, it was a prize and therefore a free gift from Filofax.


  1. Really useful post! As a constant iPad user, this mix of analogue and digital has nearly tempted me on many occasions. However this case has several limitations, not least the way the iPad frame covers everything except the screen itself. Most of the latest iPad cases are designed for the iPad to be held just in the corners and also to be viewed in landscape at an angle using the cover as a support. I can't see how this can work with this model. Equally, I use my iPad all day in landscape with my current case cover folded back into a triangle to enable it to be used as a slightly raised keyboard. Again, this can't be done with this case. Ok, you can remove the Filofax and fiddle around, but then you might as well have a separate Filofax and iPad covers?

  2. The review is great. I bought myself a Pennybridge A5 in red between Christmas and New Year for 133 Bulgarian lev (around 68 euros) with 10% discount. This type of Filofax is great, with the exception of one feature - why all similar products include format for iPads? It is not very applicable for the case of Samsung Galaxy Tabs. yes, the pocket is enough to slide it in, although with much difficult. In many countries nowadays Samsung is the other biggest manufacturer of tablets. I won't compare the products. I only would like to suggest to the Filofax, when they consider new models, to have in mind that fact. If in Western iPad is very popular, in Eastern Samsung is the biggest, so if Filofax would like to gain more customer, why not think of this too.
    otherwise, the Pennybridge is great possession for peopl like me, who combine the technology with the paper always while working. If Filofax begins selling organizers for Samsungs, then I will be the first to buy. :)

    1. i am very sorry for the mistakes, but I wrote the comment while travelling through my mobile. :)

    2. Hi Nanini - to my mind it's very simple. Filofax didn't anticipate the stunning adverse impact upon their sales that tablets would have. Their CEO/ MD is on record admitting this and one of the reasons why the company is now up for sale.

      By the time Filofax had come up with their response to the tablet (this iPad case) time had moved on again. The New iPad was out (iPad 4) and this case doesn't fit it. Then the Mini iPad was launched and the case isn't compatible with that either! To cap it all (so far) Apple is no longer the market leader in tablets and the case isn't any good with Samsung and other brands. It's a battle to keep up that Letts Filofax hasn't a hope of winning.

    3. Tim you're absolutely right. A couple (3?) years ago when I met with the manager of the now-closed Filofax shop in London I asked her why none of the Filofax binders at the time had a pocket for a mobile phone. She said there is an 18 month period of time from design to sale, and technology moves much faster than that so they couldn't keep up on the sizes and shapes of the devices.

    4. Tim,
      The iPad 4 is the same size as the iPad 3, Mine is an iPad 3 and it fits this case perfectly. The button locations are also the same so I see no reason why it won't fit all current full size iPads.

      The iPad mini is much smaller so yes it isn't suited to that model, but the Mini would slot in to the back pocket of an A5 Malden or similar.

    5. Interestingly they've dropped the reference to suitability from the UK site. It was there at product launch. The French site claims suitability with iPad 1,2 and 3.

      The other drawback is lack of magnetic closure that just about all iPad cases have. It must be fiddle to manually turn off each time?

    6. And following on from what Laurie said - I have an iPad mini which is way more portable than the big one but there are virtually no proper cases for them on the market yet, let alone binder + case combinations. I guess it is too costly for manufacturers to design long-term because by the time the item comes into production, everyone has moved on to the next model....

      I carry a brick of an A5 Malden around with me and the Mini is a feather compared to that.

  3. I use ipad and filofaxes together all the time and I have looked at these cases in the shops and they leave me baffled - partly the chronically cheap back to the actual filofax but also the fact that it effectively puts the ipad in verticle mode with no tilt which is the worst way to use the keyboard or watch video on it. Mind you I never saw the need to put the ipad in a rigid zipped case in the first place, Steve Jobs apparently went nuts ( as he was so good at doing) at the tthought that the beautiful design meant to be used directly in your hand was going to be covered up! Thats said I have a very simple good leather pouch sleeve by Sena which is great for slotting a few sheets of A5 paper in for the times when I want to note what I am browsing but do not need the whole A5. The filo ipad cases seem to be a bad solution to a problem that does not exist to me. (Which is a good thing as it makes them about the only models I don't crave!!)
    Rant over ;)

  4. Great review, Steve. As you know, I was recently looking for a suitable iPad cover (I was looking for specific requirements) and was tempted by the Filofax cases. I was very close to purchasing one. But then, I got a very helpful tip on another style, which I am going to blog about. With the posting of this review, this weekend might be a good time to do just that.

  5. If you're out and about, and someone takes a fancy to your combined filofax / ipad holder thingy, you're going to lose not only your ipad but your filofax as well. And, if you're at home, what's the point of living with such a restricted arrangement?

  6. Hi everybody!
    I just wanted to know if somebody has any information about whar kind of FF was discontinued?

  7. Hi all,
    Could one use the Malden version's insert as a diary on its own? Without having it in the zippend binder? (I looking for a slim A5 leather agenda)

    1. Hi
      Yes you can remove the organiser bit, but the back cover of both the Pennybridge or the Malden are plastic not leather.

      The 20mm rings are available in the Boston A5 which Laurie reviewed last year. http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2012/11/a5-boston-filofax.html


    2. I have seen that review, Steve, thanks
      But with the Boston being 41mm thick and the Luxe being 35mm thick, the current 20mm range does not really answer my search for a slim A5 binder :(

  8. I am a teacher looking for something that will allow we to hold an A5 planner with 30mm spiral bind as well as my Ipad 2. Will the Pennybridge be suitable?

    1. Not sure it might fit, I don't have the Pennybridge any more to be able to try it.

  9. I bought this Filofax and paid top dollars to get it shipped half way around the world for my Ipad 3.. And now, just after 1 and half years of usage I am forced to upgrade to iPad Pro and ny Filofax case has become worthless. Filofax should have exchange offer program to upgrade to new size models at no cost or reduced price.

  10. I have the iPad Air 2 and bought the Finsbury at Christmas 2015. It works a treat and the rotation element allows me to work in portrait and landscape. However, I find my work is sometimes constrained by having the iPad 'tethered' to the Filofax. So I will be putting it up for sale as soon as I find an A5 zip Filofax that is large enough so it can double as a case for my iPad in its own cover. Essentially is there an A5 zipped case with the same dimensions as the Finsbury?
    Ant suggestions would welcome.