Whenever I try out a new iPad case, the first thing I notice is its thickness. Lets face it, some cases can bloat a svelt iPad into a fat (but well-protected) lump. Others are nice and thin… but provide little or no protection from everyday bumps. For me, it’s that balance of function vs. protection vs. style that makes or breaks a case. *Wood skin pictured is courtesy iCarbons (reviewed here).

The DODOcases for iPad and iPad 2 set themselves apart with their amazing texture and feel, polished off with definitive and creative style.

Inspired by journals of artists, and writers’ moleskins, the DODOcase has a distinctive feel that will appeal to your creative side. It’s fitting too, because the DODOcase is designed in collaboration with B?hance, makers of all kinds of products that help creatives get organized.

Crafted by hand from black faux leather and constructed using traditional book binding techniques, you can call this ‘The Hipster Case’ – decidedly more sheik than geek.

While the outer cover and inside flap look and feel just like a hardcover book, the inner shell is carved from light but durable bamboo with a rubber bumper at each of the four corners holding the iPad snugly in place by friction. After taking the iPad out and returning it to the DODOcase several times, it doesn’t seem to be loosening up at all. Our test model was for the original iPad and we expect the version for the iPad 2 to be just as well crafted.

It looks and feels like a fine book. But unlike a book, you can fold the cover all the way around back in order to create a comfortably angled wedge for typing. (The first few times it’s folded back, the binding in the cover will feel a little stiff but loosens up as it breaks in). The DODOcase website shows their case in a couple different positions, standing with the front cover propped around back but we had mixed results using it in this way.

For holding it closed, there’s an elastic moleskin-style strap around back. It’s not the first, and probably not the best implementation since the strap ends up a little sloppy hanging loosely on the back when it’s not stretched around front. Still, it’s not a bad reminder since keeping it strapped closed will give your iPad the best drop protection in this case. Our tests were inconclusive as to whether the iPad will fall out of the case if dropped without the elastic strap secured.

And by “inconclusive” we mean we didn’t drop our iPad.

The only thing missing from the DODOcase is a way to prop it (freestanding) for showing movies or slideshows. It is possible to stand it with the cover angled around back – provided you have something to stop it from sliding around. It would’ve been cool to hook that ample elastic strap onto the front cover somehow to secure it but that might have added bulk or taken away from the elegant design.

And that’s what the DODOcase is about, style and design. Both models for the original iPad and the iPad 2 are available in black only, but you can choose from 8 different interior colors. There’s also a new anniversary Special Edition cover available for iPad 2. It’s a very attractive white and black binding with gold embossed lettering commemorating the iPad 2 launch date and DODOcase’s own anniversary.

And we have a GIVEAWAY! We have a DODOcase for the original iPad available to a random commenter so hit us up and tell us what you think.

Review by Larry Wiezycki. Larry works in TV and media production as part of an Investigative Team for a consumer advocacy law firm, James-Hoyer. Hes received 4 Emmy awards and has been an avid iOS and OS X user for years.