Cases for an iPad are a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of iPad cases on the market. Some are great, some are not-so-great, and they all have their quirks. The Benuo iPad Pro 10.5” Case isn’t an outlier to this, but it is a case that I got to try out that’s worth talking about.
Full Disclosure: I was sent this case to review for free, but this doesn’t change my opinions for this review.
Look and Feel
To start off, this case is a leather folio style case that feels great to the touch. I am not sure how genuine the leather is, but it just feels way more expensive than it actually is.
Conversely, the microfiber cloth that is inside the cover isn’t as luxurious, and honestly does very little to clean the glass when it is closed. But if you want a case that cleans your iPad even the Apple Smart Cover doesn’t do a good job at that.
The final type of material used in the making of this case is a very study, yet somehow soft, plastic that houses the iPad. Putting it in the case is just as easy as taking it out, which is great. Not many cases have this kind of plastic material to house a case that is as forgiving and gentle to the iPad, which is a shame. Benuo gets this right on the money and they do it without it being a flimsy case that barely holds the iPad in place. I hope more companies looking to make cases for things like the iPad look into this material as it seems to be the sweet spot between security and flexibility.
One thing you will notice right off the bat with the look of this case is that the width of the case is bigger than other folio cases for the 10.5” iPad. That is because it offers a built in Apple Pencil holder next to the iPad. Made of the same material housing the iPad. It offers a secure and forgiving way to keep your Apple Pencil with you all the time without being a hassle to get it out for use.
To add even more to the pencil holder, Benuo takes the free space on the side and made a hole to put your Apple Pencil in as if it were a quill in an ink bottle. If you are using this for drawing in landscape mode, this added feature is a really enjoyable experience. It keeps your Pencil from rolling off the desk and allows you to keep it out of sight when you want but available when you need it. Benuo really put together a great looking, and even better feeling, case that is both simple in design but functional at that. But that isn’t to say there aren’t issues in that department entirely.
The number one thing I look for in cases is a functionality that doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel. I don’t mind when companies do this, just not with a product I am going to use every day.
With that said, Benuo doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this case. They merely offer some extra flair to a type of case as old as the tablet itself; but Benuo does miss the mark on some of the more fundamental features you are looking for in a folio case.
For instance, the case does say it offers a sleep/wake feature. This is usually done by magnets as that is what Apple uses to determine if the cover is over the screen or not, but these magnets couldn’t hold a paper clip if it needed to. They are such weak and cheap magnets that if I tip my iPad to the side the cover rolls open without much resistance to stay attached to the screen. The cover has no attachability to the iPad leaving it flacid and pitiful.
This is really noticeable when I try and roll it up to use as a stand. If I tilt or even barely bump the triangle made to stand up the tablet it unfurls dramatically. It took some time to learn how to carefully place this case down on a surface while rolled up to not disturb the delicate connections these magnets make to stay together.
I will say that once you have the case leaning on the cover it somehow offers support to keep the magnets together, but it is still a horrible experience. It is probably the most disappointing thing about this case entirely. Magnets for a sleep/wake feature is nothing new, and has been perfected for years now, so why does Benuo drop the ball so hard on this? My only guess is to keep costs down and allow for a better price point.
Finally, I am also not a huge fan of how they put together the flap to hold the body and the cover together. Because the Pencil case is on the inside of the iPad, the cloth connecting the body and the cover has to be inward more. Which in turn means the flap itself is much longer than the normal folio cases. It seems to be also double the size than most other cases like this I have seen.
This is problematic because I hold my iPad in portrait mode when reading articles and apps with my left hand. Because of this, and the extra long flap, I am stuck with a fist full of flap when holding the case open for reading. In a perfect world I would have liked Benuo to keep the pencil where it is but offer a much better solution the to connection of the body and cover that didn’t result in an awkward experience when trying to hold it for reading purposes. I don’t personally know what the practical solution is, but I think between this and the poor magnets it is a hard sell to customers that use their iPad in many different positions day to day.
The Benuo case is very nice to look at and touch, but functionally it drops the ball on some very basic stuff. I think the company is on the right track from a design perspective, but they need to improve their quality for function, even if that means a slightly higher price point.
This review isn’t all bad though, I will be using it for those times where I am going to a family event and I need something to entertain me. It offers a place on my shelf, just not a daily case. but my uses aren’t that of the normal user.
I hope in the future Benuo keeps their design and materials as they were great to use. I also hope they spend more time on the fundamentals of the case and fix the issues with the magnets and hopefully find a better solution of the hinge keeping the cover and body connected.
If you want to give this case a try, and I recommend you do so even after my issues with it, you are going to have to wait for stock to come back in. the price I saw last I checked as $22.99 on Amazon. If you need an occasional folio case this isn’t a bad option to work with or watch videos on.
If you have any questions or want to let me know what you think you can find me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry. Thanks for reading!
When I started to use my iPad more and more I knew at some point I would want to go iPad only. With a lot of tinkering and tweaking my writing workflows and exploring apps to handle some of the things I did on a Mac, I was close. The only thing stopping me from ditching the Mac entirely was editing audio for my podcasts. Then Ferrite came into the picture.
Ferrite is an app that allows you to edit audio, especially podcasts, on iOS. This was the last piece of the puzzle, and I was elated to dive deep into this once I found out about it a year ago. Over the past 12 months I have been playing around with my setup on the app and watching the updates come regularly to make this an even better experience. Canis, the lead developer at Wooji Juice, developed this app, and I wish I could give him a giant hug for all he’s done.
After a year of using this app off and on, I think it is finally time to show you how to edit your podcasts 100% on iOS.
Recording requires both the iPhone and the iPad (more on why later). The iPhone is for connecting with anyone you have on the show so that you can communicate with them either with Skype, FaceTime, or even just a good ol’ fashioned phone call. After that you’re set with the iPhone. If this is a long call I suggest connecting the phone to a power source to avoid any issues.
The iPad is where the magic happens. For me, I use Google Docs to handle all of the pre-show notes and to keep the topics on hand for the episode I am recording. From there I have Google Docs and Ferrite side-by-side within my iPad.
The reason that you can’t both record your voice and have a call on an iPad simultaneously is basically because iOS limits this. The sandboxing of iOS has always been a sticking point for many who want to use the iPad. This might not be ideal, but I understand where Apple is coming from on this. It can be a privacy issue if they did allow this to be a thing and Apple, the company that touts its users’ privacy, would never allow this to happen. While it can be a privacy issue, I think there can be something done to meet users in the middle allowing them to record both a microphone and use Skype at the same time whilst still caring for their personal privacy.
If you want more of a detailed reason for this Canis explains it in a podcast episode of Vector with Rene Richie (this is a link to get you right to the explanation, but this entire episode is great).
From there, It is up to the guest/co-host to record their end as with this setup it isn’t possible to both record audio and use an app like Skype or FaceTime at the same time.
With hardware I use the Audio Technica ATR 2100 with an Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor and a lighting power supply to power the microphone and charge the iPad. The power supply goes into the dongle and provides both a charge and phantom power to a microphone connected, if need be. There are other great mics that you can use to achieve this, but they need to be USB or be connected to an audio interface that allows USB output. For me, the ATR2100 has been in my arsenal for years and I personally like how it makes me sound and the ease of its plug and play setup.
After the setup, and perhaps some testing if it is your first go, you’re ready to record your podcast and after that comes the fun: editing!
Once you record and get your files through some fashion (I use Dropbox for convenience sake) it is time to begin editing. But before I make a single cut in the podcast, I always clean up the audio.
One service I adore for my workflow is Auphonic. It is basically magic where it uses their own software to automatically level the audio to broadcast standards and removes any persistent noise. I rarely have to clean up the audio after it goes through Auphonic.
If I do find some other things need to be done to the audio I will use Wooji Juice’s Hokusai Audio Editor. This is a wonderful app that pretty much allows you to do anything you want to clean up audio. There’s compressors, limiters, EQ, and noise reduction plugins that any podcaster can play with to clean their audio up without much incident.
Hokusai does take some time to get used to and having background knowledge on audio is also a big plus. But, if you don’t know much about audio terminology and have time, I would play with it using an old episode and see what you can do with it.
Once the recordings are clean and ready to go, I import the clean audio files and put them in a project on Ferrite and begin cutting.
One thing I love about Ferrite is the ability to map the keyboard shortcuts to what you want.
I can either use a list of common shortcuts from other DAWs, like Logic Pro or Garage Band, or go ahead and use whatever I want to use. It is a genius addition and something I wish to see in other pro apps down the line.
Cutting a podcast is fairly straightforward if you have ever done it on a Mac using something like Garage Band or Logic Pro. You can slice, remove, move, and automate things like volume, pan, etc. without much friction.
One benefit Ferrite has over any Mac app is that you can take the project into your hands, literally. This is one of the many reasons I love working in iOS, you can use your fingers and work with you hands to create something instead of relying on a trackpad or a mouse. It is like dancing on an ice rink when you move and cut the tracks with your fingers. It is something that is almost intimate with your work when using the glass as your canvas.
If you want to learn more about how to use Ferrite there are some great tools from Wooji Juice (the company that develops the app) with their video tutorials.
There is also a really nice course by podcaster Joel Sharpton called iPad Podcasting. He also has a supplementary course on iOS audio plugins. I haven’t personally taken these courses but I know Joel personally and he’s not only a great person, but his work is always terrific. If you have any questions for him feel free to connect with him on Twitter @therogueslife.
Once it is edited as you like, you’re almost ready to share it with the world! All you have to do now is export it!
There isn’t a set “standard” for podcasting files but I have found that the best is a mono MP3 at a bit rate of 64-128 kB/s. It isn’t studio quality but it does allow for a small file with minimum compression in the audio quality.
Once exported I save it into my iCloud Drive to safekeeping while I work on show notes and other things a podcast episode entails.
Ferrite is a wonderful and powerful app to use, and it has been a game changer for many podcasters I know who prefer the iPad over a Mac. They have finally create the last piece to the puzzle to go iPad only.
So if you are a fan of iOS and want to start podcasting with your iPad and iPhone here is a guide to do so.
Ferrite is a free app to download but in order to get the full unlocked version it is a $19.99 in-app purchase. That may be a sticker shock to some but in comparison to other editing software this is a drop in the bucket. Logic Pro X for instance is $199, and Adobe Audition is $30 a month to use. To pay $20 and never have to pay for it again is unheard of for production software.
So get podcasting on your iOS devices, and let me know if I missed anything. You can leave a comment below or get a hold of me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry.