Premium leather case with customization (October 27th, 2013)
Product Manufacturer: Id-Infinite
- Fun design process
- Premium build quality and materials
- Customizable design
- Occasionally wonky website
- Understandable but long shipping time
- A bit pricey, but worth it
Personalizing an Apple product is one of those processes that requires some real thought, as one doesn't want to spend good money on a case that loses its charm after just a month's use. In the case of Id-Infinite's premium leather products, the customer gets to choose exactly what their accessory will look like. The visual result is entirely dependent on one's own tastes, but one is assured of a quality product regardless of its looks.
Making One's Case
It seems almost necessary to get the one negative aspect of Id-Infinite's products out of the way immediately: the actual mechanism for designing your case can be slow and frustrating. It took some doing to get Id-Infinite's site to load and complete the design process. We'll stress here that this is a minor complaint, as the reward for the occasional site hiccup is a quality leather product. Still, we would like to see the site perform better, if only so that potential customers don't give up on getting an enviable accessory.
When the design back end does load properly, though, the process itself is quite intuitive. Users choose first from the general design for their iPad, iPhone, or MacBook case. There are three form factor options for each device, each named after a California locality. (Funny, that, as the company's offices are based in North Carolina and Latvia.) The design options vary between devices, with some having landscape or portrait options, and others with options for handles or latches. The overall functionality doesn't change, but these tweaks can help to really differentiate a case.
With a device and case type chosen, the user moves into the real fun - or the most daunting part, depending on one's estimation of one's color picking and design skills. Id-Infinite's system allows the customer to choose the color of the inner and outer leather panels, as well as the stitching. There are numerous color options for each component, meaning that one could match the minimalism of a MacBook Air with an equally spare case or juxtapose it with a wildly colorful design.
Along the way, the site gives options to further personalize a case, including a monograph option and the ability to add a frilly leather attachment or a detachable holder for a MacBook's power supply. We didn't opt to include either of these, but we're assured that they feature the same quality as the main cases we did receive.
Here, one is tempted to move on in the review with a phrase like "With the design process done..." That, though, doesn't pay enough mind to the actual fun of the design process. Id-Infinite allows users to save multiple designs for further contemplation and the almost inevitable alteration. We spent probably three hours in total tweaking stitching colors, trying out alternate color palettes, and figuring out appropriate names for potential purchases. In the end, we decided on a yellow-and-black "New Charlie Brown" design for the iPhone case and a blue-and-white "Journey to the West" design for the MacBook Air. That contemplation, we think, is indicative of the fun and novelty of Id-Infinite's concept: one really must think what look best suits one's taste.
Accepting One's Choices
With the design process done and the order placed, there is then little to do other than wait for the order. These are hand-made products, and they are made with care. They are also made in Latvia, so they will take a few weeks to produce and ship to customers in the United States and elsewhere. They are, though, very much worth the wait.
The first evidence of the quality product one has ordered comes in the packaging. Our MacBook Air and iPhone cases arrived in a hardwood box with a sliding top. It is the sort of box one marvels at initially before then looking for its potential uses, as one simply cannot throw it away. We settled for using it to store assorted papers and knick-knacks, but we're still casting about for other uses.
Upon opening the box, one sees the end result of those fun minutes -- or hours - spent designing the case. We have mentioned the word quality several times throughout the course of this review, and with good reason. Id-Infinite's cases are indeed constructed from premium leather, with considerable detail paid to the accessories' details. The stitching on every element is impeccable, and the leather components are cut to precise specifications, all of which results in a very high-quality feel that justifies the price and wait for a case. On the edges of the case, Id-Infinite joins the leather components together with an unobtrusive adhesive, ensuring that they will not come apart and begin to stress the stitches.
Since they are accessorizing Apple devices - renowned for the way they feel to the touch just as much as for the way they look to the eye - it is only fitting that the cases also feel terrific. The leather is smooth and pliable, but with a reassuring thickness. The inner lining is nondescript, but in a good way, as it feels like it will protect the exterior of a device when it is stowed.
Perhaps best of all, the cases actually look like what was designed on Id-Infinite's site. This is especially impressive in light of the customizability of the cases. Our New Charlie Brown looked exactly like what was promised, and Journey to the West showed up in just the right blues and whites that we had picked.
It may be advisable, though, to avoid the monograph option. Perhaps it is a result of our color choices, but we were less impressed with our monograph than we had hoped. The optional punched dots, though, interrupt the uniform face of a case quite nicely.
The actual functionality of the case is almost an afterthought. We purchased cases for an iPhone and a MacBook Air. Both fit snugly around their respective devices, though the iPhone case seems better suited to the slimmer iPhone 5 or 5s than any other model.
The MacBook Air case does not add too much bulk to the super-slim notebook, which is a complaint that we've had about some previous cases. Devices are easily removable from a case, and the MacBook sleeve is thick enough that it can serve as a suitable heat sink if one does a lot of processor-intensive computing with the device on one's lap.
Finally, one must come to the cost. Id-Infinite's products are premium through and through, and they are priced accordingly. The MacBook Air case we received starts at $150 without optional accessories. An iPhone case retails for $55. Their cost is not inconsequential, especially considering that they are accessories. However, considering their undeniable quality and the potential for uniqueness, we are willing to say they are a worthwhile purchase and one that will not be regretted. Quite the opposite, in fact: we have had ours for some time now, and neither the quality nor our design has lost its novelty.