Review: The Pouch MP3 Player Carrying Case
Pros: The sturdiest, best fitting neophrene case we’ve tested so far.
Cons: With no access to the iPod’s controls, you have no protection while you’re using it, leaving it vulnerable to damage.
The Pouch, Inc.‘s MP3 Carrying Case, is about as simple and direct as its name is. Little more than a neoprene case with a belt strap, the pouch does not offer much in terms of features, but it does a great job on those it does offer.
The case is made of thick (about .5 cm) neoprene and is available in seven colors. A padded fabric flap extends over the top of the case and secures your iPod in place with a strip of Velcro. The flap does not have a hole for your earphones, but there is enough space between it and the sides of the case that your cord will easily fit through.
While this design is far from innovative, it offers a much better fit than any of the other comparable cases I have used. The iPod slides in securely, with little if any room to slide around - an essential characteristic for protecting your device should it fall or be hit. At the same time, the slight elasticity of the material allows easy access for removing your player. Without a doubt, the pouch offers the best balance of these needs in any of the neoprene cases we’ve seen to date.
While the cases width and depth allow for a snug fit, there is a noticeable bit of extra room at the top of the case, presumably for the ear-bud headphones included with each iPod. Though I tested the case using a pair of Sony headphones, the extra space was not particularly troublesome, as the case’s fit was tight enough to prevent the device from sliding vertically.
The pouch also includes a belt strap. Unlike most cases that include clips that let you easily slide the case on and off, this strap is a locking fastener, similar to those you might find on a backpack. While a strap like this offers more security than a clip, it is also more difficult to fasten and unfasten, so unless you plan on doing some mountain climbing with your iPod, you’d probably be better off sticking with a standard clip.
Unlike many iPod cases, which offer direct access to the device’s jog wheel and buttons, this case does not. Simply put, it’s just a pouch - much as the company’s name implies. While the case offers great protection for keeping your iPod in a backpack or suitcase, its lack of access leaves you with no options for listening other than to carry it around bare. Initially, I was content with the lack of accessibility. Granted, it was somewhat annoying getting used to taking my player out every time I wanted to select a song, but then again, you know that is a sacrifice you will be making when you buy a pouch.
However, my satisfaction turned to frustration when I pulled out my iPod one day to discover a large scratch across the middle of the screen.
Because I could not keep it in the case and use it at the same time, I was just letting it float around in my pocket one day, and I realize now that the combination of an iPod with rough jeans and a cell phone probably was not a smart one. I have no reason at all to think that the pouch directly caused the scratch; in fact, the case is very soft and does a good job protecting the device both against operational damage and cosmetic blemishes.
Instead, my experience using the case reflects more on all of these access-less cases as a whole than on the pouch specifically.
The Bottom Line
If you want a simple neoprene case for your iPod, the pouch is the way to go - but you may want to reconsider getting any cases like this in the first place. Cases with windows for screen and job wheel access can be found for about the same price as the pouch and they offer protection whether your iPod is buried in your backpack or playing your favorite album.