This is an accessory I have considered for a very long time, but somehow I have never bought one and I wasn’t really sure why.
The price has always been a stumbling point for me, close to £50, and when married to the lack of practicality it felt like a bit of a luxury item rather than a protective case.
When I look at the SurfacePad all I see is a very nice looking cover and little else; not much protection for the sides and minimal extra carrying space, but with 2020 being the way it is I have had a lot of time indoors and so this felt like a good time to try it. I was given that opportunity and I jumped at it.
The box and presentation of the cover is not over the top, but it offers a glimpse of style above what you would normally see in phone case packaging. You get a fake card in one of the credit card slots and some stickers, if you want to advertise Twelve South for free, and that’s about it really.
Instructions are very clear and thankfully short, and all you really need to do is clean the back of your iPhone, remove the protective sticky cover (which you should keep) and then carefully attach your iPhone to the sticky stuff.
It fitted well first time, but the lack of protection is very obvious immediately. The silver edges stick out somewhat which is strange because they are the most likely to receive scratches and I guess that is the price you pay for a stylish cover like this, besides the relatively high asking price.
You have to do one more thing once it is attached and that is to lay it flat screen side down so that the front cover stays flat. This is an unusual quirk because for many they will immediately think that the case doesn’t look or feel right as the cover sits up at an angle.
The good news is that it does then sit flat and the feel in the hand is excellent. For a sophisticated piece of tech to be covered in something that is elegant and vintage styled should not work, but it really does. It makes the device feel softer, more like a book and yet not much bigger at all.
I suspect, however, that the best part of this cover will come over time. With a bit of luck it will age well and will develop marks that only add to the personality of the product, and by association to the iPhone within it as well.
It has taken me a very long time to try the SurfacePad, but I am glad I did and my iPhone 11 Pro currently resides in it. For days indoors and for when popping to the shops and a credit card is required (just in case Apple Pay has a bad moment) it is a decent solution. More than that, it is an emotionally positive product and that is rare in the world of phone cases.
More details at Twelve South.