Keeping Life #WellPacked

I have a weakness for making sure everything I carry on my person is packed appropriately. Most recently I purchased two items that have brought me great joy and I would highly recommend.

The first is an iPad Mini case from Mujjo. I bought the Smart Cover immediately when I bought the iPad Mini. For me, it is kind of a necessity. However unlike its bigger brother, there is no Smart Case for the Mini, just the cover. So what was I going to do about protecting the back of my precious tablet computer whenever it wasn’t safely in my hands?

I knew I wanted a simple, elegant but protective sleeve that I could slip around my iPad while it was in transit. It had to be big enough to fit the iPad with the Smart Cover attached and it had to be affordable for me because let’s face it if I could afford a Smythson case I would get it. So my budget was about £40, stretching to £50 if it was a case I really fell in love with that also blew my mind. I searched etsy, and while there were a few cases I liked a lot – the price for getting something that was handmade was beyond my upper budget. However on etsy I did see the trend for cases made of felt and leather. This is a combination that really appeals to me. It’s somewhat organic. When the two materials are brought together they are wonderfully complimentary.

I found my star case with Mujjo. They are more commonly known for their touchscreen gloves but have expanded with a line of electronics cases called The originals. The line uses felt and leather to great effect and I knew the iPad Mini case was the one I was after. It was wonderfully designed and was completely below my budget. When I tried to order a case I was faced with the problem that there was no iPad Mini cases to be found in stock anywhere on the internet unless I wanted to pay huge shipping fees. This was a hindrance but it informed me that these cases were popular, I was onto a good thing. So I waited, and I couldn’t be more happy with the result.

20130216-231553.jpg

When wrapped in the Mujjo case, I completely happy to toss my iPad Mini into my bag. I am also completely happy to carry the case alone. With a second pocket big enough to store some earbuds and a couple of pens within the case too, I’d happily be spotted on the street. It’s so chic I’m sure some style blogger would have to snap me simply because of my great iPad Mini cover.

I lug my lunch into work every day on the tube. My over the shoulder bag is attractive but does not fit a lunch box, water bottle, diary, notebook, iPad, kindle and so on. I needed a backpack that was well made and fit with my personal style. The day my Herschel bag arrived was a happy one. The print is modern, different and fun. I really feel confident with this on my back every day and it is a comfortable fit.

20130216-231621.jpg

The Claim style bag in the camp print I’ve got is ridiculously spacious. The pretty red fabric lined inside can be filled to the brim with plenty of stuff. The front pocket is also large and has plenty of organisational components built in to keep all your gear in check. This year I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling and I’m really pleased and comforted by the fact I will have this great bag to carry everything safely. My one little gripe comes from the fact the main pocket has a drawstring enclosure. It’s charming most of the time but sometimes when I want to pull something out of the main pocket really quickly I can’t do it. A zip compartment would be quicker but it’s not such a huge issue. Perhaps I have to take everything in my life a little slower.

iPad Mini

I finally managed to get myself an iPad. I thought I would feel differently. I thought I would enjoy having this little device halfway between my MacBook and my iPhone. I was not prepared to fall in love with a 7.9″ tablet.

20121114-214136.jpg

There are far more professional reviews of this iPad on the Internet. I’m not going to cover what has been covered already. However I want to touch on a number of issues with the iPad mini that feature strongly within the majority of reviews I have read.

The first issue is that this device does not have a retina display. The display of the iPad Mini is lovely. It is a pleasure to behold for hours and hours. (You get at least ten hours with this baby.) When it is playing a HD movie, the quality is great. I take issue with the letter boxing of widescreen films – but this is not the display’s fault. The display does a great job. At no point have I thought, “Omigod I can see all the different pixels around these letters! This is ruining my iPad experience!” Not once have I thought this. Honestly.

The iPad Mini has an A5 processor, which is a whole number less than the chip being used in the iPhone 5 and the fourth generation iPad. The Mini is a snappy little device and loads apps happily and comfortably in a very short time. There was a time when I would be able to go and make a hot chocolate in the time it took for Microsoft Word to load up on my PC when I was young. Let’s not be dramatic about the processor speed of the iPad Mini, I can handle waiting maybe five seconds for the Pages App to load.

Before I purchased my iPad Mini, I read the reviews and I immediately had all the reservations that reviewers pointed out – lack of retina, A5 chip. After nearly a month of using the Mini these reservations are all forgotten. What makes the Mini fantastic, straight out of the box – is the weight. This thing is light and it is comfortable to hold for hours. I have barely touched my laptop since the iPad Mini in my life and when I do pick up my laptop, it is with a “oof” noise. That thing is hefty.

Operating the iPad Mini is a pleasure. Every swipe and tap is registered with ease. The Design of the Mini, complete with narrow edges to the left and the right of the screen does not impede using any app and I’ve used every kind. I’ve played various games, read various magazines, flipped through comic books, drawn with my fingers, written with a stylus and I am now typing this post. The smaller size and the altered design will not affect the use of the iPad. Truly, the little beast can do everything its big brother can do.

I am completely thrilled with the iPad Mini. It is everything I wanted in a tablet and I highly recommend it. If or when my laptop gives up the ghost I am sure I will be happy to not replace it as long as I have an iPad Mini for my on the go computing .I believe it is up to nearly any task I want to accomplish in my online, digital and entertainment life. (Read: Excuse to get the new iMac.)

iPad Smart Case

20120918-231019.jpg

Apple’s mainstream products are great. The iPhone is fantastic, MacBooks are wonderful and the iPad is a joy to wield. However often the accessories for these products fall short of the high standards I expect. Apple Earbuds are terrible and the iPhone bumper case deteriorates after a few months of use. This has meant that my pleasant surprise after some use of the iPad Smart Case has restored my faith.

I’ll start with my two negatives. And they are small ones. The first is that it is a little finicky getting the cover open. You have to sort of pinch underneath and use your nail to flip it open. At first I thought this would drive me nuts but now I’m used to it – I barely notice.

My second issue comes with the fact that I eat my lunch and use my iPad. Because of the case creating a lip around the edges the iPad, I have found that crumbs find their way into the corners and can be difficult to clean out. I should hope that everyone else in the world is less of a slob with their expensive Apple tablet, but then again I have seen children dangling out of a prams with a chocolate smeared iPad in their hands. If you get crumbs on your screen while using the case, you might have to take the whole device out to clean it off properly.

20120918-231028.jpg

Positives are plentiful. The Smart Case fits snuggly and securely without adding too much bulk to the device. It feels sturdy and safe even though the material the case is made of is light. The case has spaces for the dock and earphone jack as well as raised “buttons” on top of the volume rocker and sleep button so they can all be used easily while the case is in action.

The cover of the case performs all the functions of its predecessor, the Smart Cover. It provides a perfect angle for typing as well as watching a video depending on how you flip the iPad. It also allows you to wake and sleep the iPad simply by opening or closing the cover thanks to the magic magnets in the cover.

The IPad Smart Case is the cherry on top of an already amazing product. It should come with the iPad as standard because it adds functionality that should be enjoyed by all iPad owners. Plus it has the Apple on the back so you don’t have to have a case with a circle cut out of it to show your iPad pride!