BooqPad iPad 2 Folio Review: The iPad Case for Note Takers

The iPad 2 may be great for many things, but when it comes to taking notes even the best note taking apps like Note Taker HD, can’t compare to the experience you get from a traditional tablet or from pen and paper. I haven’t found a way to hack a Wacom digitizer into the iPad 2, but I have found a new iPad 2 case that fits my note taking style perfectly, the BooqPad.

BooqPad Review iPad 2 Folio

The BooqPad is a folio style case for the iPad 2 which includes a small note pad on the right, iPad 2 compartment on the left and places to keep your pen and papers in various areas. The BooqPad retails for $49.95 and is available in numerous colors. You can purchase paper refills in various designs and colors for $9.99 for a 3-pack of 150 sheets. The notepad area looks like a pretty standard size that could be filled with a standard notepad if you prefer.

BooqPad Video Review

Why Paper Is a Great Companion

I am a paper note taker. I used to take notes on the HP tx2000 tablet, which was great, but I can’t write fast enough on the iPad 2. The BooqPad makes sense for me, because I can take notes and instantly send them to Evernote with the iPad 2 camera, or as I prefer with my smartphone’s camera. This method allows me to take notes quickly and still have all of my notes with me wherever I am.

BooqPad Review - Note Taking iPad

It may seem odd to use paper when the iPad 2 is right next to the pad, but another benefit is that you can reference handouts, spec sheets and previous notes on the iPad while you are taking notes on the paper pad. This is way more efficient than flipping back and forth between apps.

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Additionally, if you want to you can use Evernote to record the meeting and then attach your inked meeting notes when you are done so that you have a full record of the meeting.

OCR Notes for Evernote

The BooqPad is an amazing case because of Evernote. When you upload your images to Evernote, the service will perform OCR, optical character recognition, on them. This means your notes are now searchable from Evernote on any of the numerous apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

BooqPad Review - Evernote OCR

In our tests the OCR was pretty good. Well very good given my horrific handwriting style which looks like doctor’s signature after one too many cocktails. In my tests, the ability to OCR improved as I took a bit more time to write nicer. Still, this is much nicer for me than taking notes on the iPad where I have to worry about palm rejection

Build and Feel

The BooqPad has an amazing look and feel. The fabric has a nice premium feel and it looks very good. The folio has a good amount of padding ont he front and back to protect your iPad 2. The sides of your device are left ope in some areas, but it isn’t an issue in our testing.

BooqPad iPad 2 Review

I really like that you still have a pretty thin package that can go wherever you want. Too many folio cases add enough bulk that I may as well carry around a full fledged tablet, but the BooqPad is thin enough to fit in a backpack (even if you already have two notebooks in it).

BooqPad Review - Side

In addition to the good design, I like that you can easily remove the iPad 2 from this case when you get home for the evening. The fit is snug, but not so much that it i sa pain to take the iPad out and snap on the Smart Cover for watching a TV show. The closure is a nice solid button that has a solid click when closed. Overall, the BooqPad has a great look and feel.

Conclusion

The BooqPad is perhaps the best iPad folio case i have seen or used. The paper + digital setup perfectly fits my note taking style. This solution may not be the preferred method for everyone, and some have already given me a hard time for using paper when I have an iPad right next to it, but handwritten notes and Evernote are still the best way to take notes for what I do.

At $50 it is in line with other iPad 2 cases, and actually feels a bit underpriced for the quality of the case. It’s hard to convey how nice it looks and feels in person.

BooqPad Gallery

Comments

  1. Dale Strauss says

    I’ll try to tone it down a little this time, but why is everyone struggling so mightily to make the iPad do what it can’t – be a good note taking platform? I know my HP 2740p weighs at least double what your iPad and special case do, but overall size (volume) is little difference. Windows 7 and OneNote were MADE for handwriting recognition and inking. My ink notes in OneNote are outstanding, and despite my amazement and enjoyment of Note Taker HD, when I was in the heat of a meeting, there was no way to keep up note taking with the iPad.

    What is truly needed is for a vendor (Sony or Samsung, are you listening) to deliver a <0.8" thick, 8 hour battery operated slate with Core i5, 4gb ram, 256gb ssd, Win7 Pro and a Wacom digitizer. That would be note taking heaven…

    Ok, so I'm th only one who wants one…

    • Anonymous says

      I used a Palm for many years, but still used paper when I really needed to take serious notes. I finally broke down and got a iPad a couple of weeks ago, and with some research decided to invest in Notes Plus and an AluPen. After my first test of that combo, I’ve gone off paper. It keeps up with my fast writing, even over several pages. With long documents I occasionaly get little glitches towards the end of a line, but so far that has not been enough to throw me off.

      There are two drawbacks: no handwriting recognition (but I didn’t have that with paper anyway) and no Dropbox integration (which the developer promises to deliver with the next release).

      • DavidQN says

        Handwriting recognition is there now (in app purchase) – and it’s the best I’ve seen on the iPad.

  2. Cuhulin says

    No, you’re not!

    I currently am using a nook color for tablet purposes and like it, but it’s worse than an ipad for notes. What I want is a Win7 slate with with an easily attachable keyboard, just like what you spec’d out.

  3. Fplglaw says

    Good review thanx , you could also hold the home button with the power at the same time and it will take screen shot instead of taking a photo with your phone.

  4. Kevin says

    Great review. I’ve been looking for a case that does exactly what you showed, and other sites don’t show how the iPad functions inside the case (all buttons/ports accessible).

  5. Eduardo Magalhaes says

    Great Review. What are the Possibilities of the Booqpad when using the iPad in Landscape mode? can I fold the block to the back? Can I set the iPad straight to show somebody a graphic or image and can it stand in this position without help?
    I’d love to hear a feedback on that!

  6. David says

    On my side I have an Ipad since day 1, with no stylus, and I have been using a lot Evernote for its syncing capabilities but it lacks meetings oriented feature such as actions, to-do and follow-up.
    I’m always looking for a replacement App as I think we could gain a lot of time if it was done correctly.
    I’ve tested nearly every notes / todo app on the Appstore in 2 years, I have to admit I’m still amazed how difficult they are to use in a work environment.
    I just discovered http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-ipad-to-do, an iPad To-Do app , that seems to have understand note taking from a business perspective. I tried it for a few days and for the moment I’m quite thrilled, even a bit too powerful at the beginning.
    I particularly love the fast and nice Icons to add different kind of notes / actions and the instant meeting minutes you can send.
    Another great thing I’ve been appreciating: it reuses my notes / tasks from the meeting in the To-Do manager, yes you read correctly ! Huge time saver.
    Only drawback so far: a few glitches here and there, but nothing compromising the use of the App and the lack of iPhone sync at the moment but the devs at http://www.beesapps.com said they’re on it for a future release.

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