REVIEW: Portenzo BookCase

Portenzo, located just outside of St. Louis, makes high quality, premium cases for the Nexus 7.  The case I reviewed is the BookCase, but there are other varieties available. Each Portenzo case is handmade in St. Louis, Missouri. Each case is made-to-order. They don’t start making your case until you place your order.  You will need to visit their webpage in order to see all the color choices and options available. There are many to choose from.

My case is “Green Apple Buckram” on the outside, “Dark Blue Linen” for the liner, and a black elastic strap.  The green reminds me of “Android Green.” I also selected the MagnaGrip and the IntelliStand options. I’ll explain what those terms mean later in this review.

The case looks like it was put together with pride.  A card comes with the case proclaiming that your case was designed and manufactured in St. Louis and that it has the handwritten initials of the person that handmade your case.

The cover portion of the case is Buckram, the same material used to bind books.  On the inside is a linen liner.  The wood frame your Nexus 7 will rest in is hand-sanded American Maple.  The wood looks like it is layered. The layers make the closed case look like it has pages, so it looks like a real book.

The area of the frame where your Nexus 7 will sit has been designed to be a sound chamber.  Most other cases on the market just have a speaker grill that will allow the sound to come out of the speaker and into the room.  The Portenzo BookCase has been designed to reflect the sound back toward you to improve your listening experience. There’s a foam riser at the bottom of the case, which happens to be in the shape of stereo headphones. This riser allows the sound to enter the sound chamber and reflect back to the listener. I noticed an immediate difference in listening to audio on the BookCase verses through other cases, but I decided I needed another opinion.  A friend of mine is a sound engineer for a local band.  Not only does he do sound for a band, but churches and other organizations that have need for sound expertise call on him for his assistance.   I let him compare the sound on the BookCase to a case with a speaker grill and he immediately picked the BookCase as the case that would give the average, non-audiophile a pleasurable listening experience.

The inside corners of the case have a little gel patch that assist in holding the Nexus 7 firmly in the case.  The Nexus 7 isn’t going anywhere until you want to take it out of the case.  There are cut-outs in the side of the case for the wake button and volume rocker.  There are also cut-outs at the bottom of the case for the micro-USB port and the headphone jack.  There are also notches in the frame of the case next to both microphones.

The case does support the auto-wake/sleep function of the Nexus 7 and the Wake/Sleep button and Volume rocker is very accessible through the cut-outs on the side of the frame.  One advantage of the way the BookCase is designed verses other cases I have reviewed is that when the case is in “Typing Mode” the buttons are still very easily accessed.  Speaking of “typing mode,” the front cover of the case does fold behind the case to prop the case up for a “typing stand.”  Magnets hold the cover in place, so that when you’re holding the case in “Portrait Orientation” it is easily held and the cover does not go flapping around.

Speaking of magnets, the MagnaGrip I mentioned earlier is one of the options available when you order the case.  The case comes with a double-glued elastic band to hold the case closed.  When you place your order, you have the option of the standard order, which is just the elastic strap, or you can select the MagnaGrip to secure the case and have a cleaner look without the elastic band.  You also have the option of ordering both the elastic band and the MagnaGrip.  I feel that the magnets used for the MagnaGrip are not very strong.  In my opinion, I would skip paying for the MagnaGrip option and put the money toward another option, such as the IntelliStand or the embossing.

The IntelliStand, which is a must-have, is an option that will allow the case to stand your Nexus 7 in multiple viewing angles. There’s a position for viewing the Nexus 7 straight on.  This is best for sharing content with others in the room.  If you’re the only one and you also want to do a little typing, the second position of the viewing stand would be best.

You do have the option of adding embossing to your case. You can add your name, initials, or other phrase of your choice to your case.  I did not get the embossing on my case, but you can see in the photos the Portenzo logo embossed onto the back of the case.  You can also have your own logo or artwork added to the case, as long as you own the rights to the work.  You will need to contact Portenzo if you are interested in this option.

The Portenzo BookCase is well worth the price.  I plan on keeping my Nexus 7 for a long time to come and I trust the BookCase to keep it safe.  Please keep in mind when ordering, that there are many choices available.  My recommendation would be to visit their webpage and take a look for yourself. They also have an online chat available, so that you can chat with a Customer Service representative and get the answers to all your questions.  Since this is a custom made case, please allow a minimum of 10 business days for production of your case.  It could take longer or possibly even less than 10 days, depending on the choices you make when ordering and the current production schedule.  My video below should also help you to visualize this piece of American workmanship.

In 1996, I saw the Mighty Mississippi River for the first time.  I stopped in St. Louis and paid a visit to the Gateway Arch (The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) and had lunch at the Riverboat McDonald’s.  St. Louis is also home to my favorite radio station (JoyFM), my favorite technical reviewer (Mark Watson – Soldier Knows Best) and my favorite comedian (Tim Hawkins).  Now, when I use my Nexus 7, I also have a little bit of St. Louis with me wherever I go.

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Pricing on the Portenzo BookCase begins at $39.95 and varies depending on chosen options.  Visit for additional information.


Thank you Portenzo for providing the case used in this review.


3 thoughts on “REVIEW: Portenzo BookCase

  1. halfnelson

    Do you have any comment on this case vs. the Speck FitFolio? I’m particularly curious about how thumb typing feels in portrait mode with the two, especially since the left side looks quite thick when the Portenzo cover is folded back.

    1. Neal Post author

      Good question. I haven’t really paid much attention to the difference between the two for thumb-typing. It doesn’t really bother me. When you say “Quite thick”, I don’t think it’s that thick. I’ll have to get out a tape measure and report back to you.

      I don’t have two Nexus 7s, so I can’t compare them side-by-side. I think you will need to buy me another tablet so I can compare. 🙂

    2. Neal Post author

      Okay. I did a quick comparison between the Speck FitFolio and the Portenzo BookCase. Honestly, there isn’t that much difference between the two as far as portrait mode thumb typing.

      The FitFolio is slimmer than the BookCase. The BookCase, when the back is folded around back and held portrait mode is only about 1 1/2 – 2 inches (this includes the wood frame that holds the Nexus 7.)

      Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding either case.

      Thank you 🙂

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