26 December 2013

Filofax Malden iPad case

I reviewed the Pennybridge iPad case earlier this year. The Malden I'm reviewing today is very similar in design except it is made from the lovely soft buffalo leather which the Malden range is renowned for.

The iPad case offers a place to hold your iPad with access to all of the controls and the camera, whilst on the opposite side there are a range of card slots and a pocket to hold a notepad if you wish.

There is also an A5 organiser which slots in to an outer edge pocket. This organiser is fitted with 20 mm rings, smaller than an normal A5.

The rings themselves fit on to a black plastic stiff card and then there is a leather cover that wraps around the rings to form the spine and front cover.

The cover is very soft and pliable, the inside is lined with a contrasting textile lining.  The organiser cover has a padded section that cushions the rings against the iPad screen.

A fixed elasticated pen loop is located on the inside edge of the card slots and will take a wide range of pen sizes.

The frame around the iPad is quite think leather but if doesn't intrude in to your use of the iPad at all.

On the outside of the case on the rear there is a  slot pocket which could be used for loose papers etc.

Conventionally the iPad is on the right and the organiser and/or note pad is on the left. But I discovered that you can invert the case and without removing the iPad, just have the home button at the top, the screen auto rotates around and then if you prefer you can use the case with the notepad on the right and the iPad on the left.

The notepad slot is open top and bottom so that will work either way up.

With the organiser rings only being 20 mm and I'm used to using a 25 or 30mm A5 I thought it might be a bit of a challenge to fit everything I normally need in to the organiser.

The iPad case comes with a Filofax week per page diary insert and a set of dividers, a paper flysheet and an A5 notepad. So I removed the contents and set about putting my own set up on to the rings.

My full A-Z contact list and website information sheets went in as they are now. I added some to-do sheets and some lined note paper.

I then looked at the diary. My current Week per View diary which is the Enhanced TM Week View insert, for a full 12 months is a bit bulky as it is printed on 80gsm paper. So as a compromise I printed off a Week per Page, insert, the one I had devised with appointments and task columns. Going back through my last few months as I don't have many appointments and rarely do they take up a full line of text, I could live with this reduction of space easily.  Note, I'm still using paper for my calendar and contacts! This particular insert I designed for use with my A4 Classic, but it works fine with my A5 as well.

So I settled on the Week per Page insert and printed it off and punched it to suit and that went in to the A5 organiser as well. I was quite surprised there was still space to spare. I looked at what other pages I regularly look at in my desk A5, and moved the blog month per page diary insert across as well, putting that in to another section. And adding another ruler so I can can flick between inserts easily.

I then zipped up the case and felt the weight of it with the iPad and pages in there. Quite a heft, and it tips the scales at just under 1.5 kilogrames about three pounds in old money!  But the case easily fits in my messenger bag and that would be my usual method of carrying it.

I've found having both the iPad and the organiser together in one place quite convenient, during this last week or so. I've found that if the organiser is needed separately it is very easy to pull out of the slot and use it on it's own or to leave it on the desk and just grab the case and use the iPad on it's own with the notepad.

Thank you to Ideas Network for supplying this review sample.

The Malden A5 iPad case is available from Filofax UK and other retailers. Apple iPad not included!


  1. As a regular iPad user, a secret admirer of ochre Maldens and someone who loves A5 paper and small rings, I should have been the first to purchase one of these. I've been tempted but there are too many design flaws. The weight and bulk it's certainly a major factor. The ugly plastic back cover to the organiser is something I had hoped they would rectify with subsequent batches, but they haven't.

    The biggest issue is surely the limitations on using the iPad. The leather frame covers part of the screen. Such designs were said to be hated by Bill Gates as it ruined the aesthetics of the iPad. With no fixed support there are reports that the iPad slides around with use as it's not held in the corners as most iPad covers. There is no provision for a magnetic closure to turn the iPad on and off. Most importantly, it's not practical to use the iPad horizontally as is the norm. There's no way to angle the iPad for typing or for watching a video. If you tried to bend the cover back to make an A-frame for viewing, the organiser would just fall out!

    It's a shame as I'm convinced that Filofax is doing the right thing trying to combine analogue and digital technology in it's products.

    1. Hi Tim
      I don't agree with all of your comments. There is a flap on the vertical edge of the ipad opening which tucks under the ipad when it is in place. This holds it quite securely in place. I've not found it moving around at all. Also the opening is on the inside edge not on the outside edge, so it couldn't fall out, this is the same as on the Pennybridge iPad case.
      The frame is narrower than the frame of the iPad screen so it does not shield the screen or obscure it at all.
      No there are no magnets, but the stand by switch and volume switch and mute/screen rotate switches are all easily accessible.
      The back cover of the organiser has to be made like that to slide in and out of the slot, if it was as soft and floppy as the front it would require a different method of attaching it. But with the combination of the two, it does mean you have a good surface to write against when it is used outside of the case.

    2. Pleased that the cover is working for you, Steve and you've shown some great images.

      The iPad sliding around seems to come with use over time as the leather flexes. There were several reviews mentioning this on the Filofax UK site, but these were all deleted when the new website was launched. Amazon reviews still mention it.

      t's covering the FACE of the iPad (not the screen) that Steve Jobs reportedly objected to. Nearly all other iPad covers seem to have found a better way of securing the tablet to avoid this - even the latest Filofax models (The cover you are reviewing has been around for more than two years of course.

      It's the paper organiser that will surely slide out if you try to view the iPad in landscape mode at an angle? I suppose you can remove it or take the iPad out to view it. But you've still got to prop it up somehow...

  2. Great review! I feel like I could make a buying decision just from reading this.

  3. The overall look looks quite fetching, actually. But a plastic cover at the back ruins it just as fast as a cheap mass produced faulty rings on any binder would. The back could have been made with leather just as well and it could have a deep pocket to which slide a plastic sheet (or a notepad) in. That way, the binder alone could have been usable in itself.
    The idea is fabulous though, I just wish that FOR EVEN ONCE they would resist the temptation to ruin their own product with something cheap and tacky.

  4. I was initially sceptical about combining ipad with notepad, initially dismissing it as yet another triumph of marketing over design, but I can now see the advantages of this concept.

    I was on a train recently, and didn't have a table. If I had tried to use my laptop and A4 filofax simultaneously I wouldn't have had the room, but I could have managed ok with this "combined" product. With so many people "hot desking" these days, or engaging in business whilst standing up instead of sitting down, this looks useful

    If I was an ipad person, rather than a fan of the tactlie qualities of a laptop keyboard, I might buy this.

  5. I tried using the Pennybridge version of this case for a while. At first, it seemed great. But in the end, I found it too bulky to carry round everywhere and gave up.