Review: Pad & Quill Bella Fino case for iPhone SE

Pad & Quill’s cases for iPhone and iPad leverage years of experience making top-quality leather and wood products. Today we’re looking at the $49.99 Bella Fino case for iPhone SE, 5 and 5s, a combination wallet and phone case that typifies the craftsmanship and design savvy of Pad & Quill’s products.

Design

While some of Pad & Quill’s products use wooden or polycarbonate frames to hold the iPhone in place, the Bella Fino uses a super-sticky 3M adhesive pad to keep your phone inside the case. That pad is on one side of a leather bifold wallet; on the other side are three credit card slots and a larger money slot.

Pad & Quill Bella Fino iPhone case. Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

Pad & Quill Bella Fino iPhone case. Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

The exterior of the Bella Fino is made of beautiful hand-stitched leather in one of two finishes, a dark brown “Dark Chocolate” and lighter “Whiskey”. The interior leather color depends on the exterior finish chosen. With “Dark Chocolate” comes a choice of “Deep Sea Blue” or “Slate Gray”, while “Whiskey” will get you “Deep Sea Blue” or “Forest Green”.

One very nice feature of the wallet part of the Bella Fino case is the front card slot, which uses a semi-transparent material that reveals the card — like an ID card or driver’s license — without removing it. To make removal easy if you do need to pop the card out, there’s a thumb slot in the clear cover.

The inside of the Bella Fino is just as nice looking! Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

The inside of the Bella Fino is just as nice looking! Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

For something as personal as a wallet that also contains your electronic lifeline to the world, you may want to have the Bella Fino personalized with debossed initials on the front ($9.99 extra).

Most Bella Fino owners will find that the 3M adhesive pad that comes with the phone will be quite sufficient, but if you’re the type of person who changes cases often, you might want to order some extra adhesive pads. They’re available for just $5.99 each.

Function

The Bella Fino case excels both as a wallet and as protection for your iPhone SE, 5 or 5s. The leather exterior adds about .28 inch to both the front and back of the iPhone, which is just thick enough to add padding in case of a drop but not so thick as to add bulk to your pocket.

The quality of craftsmanship exhibited in the Bella Fino case is top-notch. It’s honestly one of the best-made, iPhone cases I’ve seen, and if you’re able to get away with carrying only a scant few credit and membership cards, it’s also a thin and sexy wallet.

The amazing leather of the Bella Fino, with camera cutout... Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

The amazing leather of the Bella Fino, with camera cutout... Photo ©2016 Steven Sande

There’s a cutout in the back of the case that allows the iPhone camera and flash to peek out, so there’s no need to remove the iPhone from the Bella Fino to take photos.

One thing to remember is that natural materials like leather get more supple and aged-looking with use, so if you expect the case to look the same three year from now as is does when you pull it out of the box, you might be unhappy. I’ve used the iPhone 6s Plus version of the Bella Fino for a while and I like how it’s aging — your mileage may vary.

Conclusion

Pad & Quill’s workers put a lot of skill and effort into each one of the products they make, and it’s really apparent in the Bella Fino for iPhone SE. Anyone who owns an iPhone SE, 5 or 5s who wants a top quality wallet case should definitely consider the Bella Fino.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★