Review: RadTech Sleevz for iPod mini
Pros: Thin case that covers entire front, back and sides of iPod mini, protecting Click Wheel and screen while permitting their use.
Cons: No top or bottom protection of any sort, no shock or drop resistance, high price given functionality and competing products.
Having previously reviewed RadTech’s PodSleevz for 3G iPods (iLounge rating: B) and Sleevz for 4G and photo iPods (iLounge rating: B), we were quite interested in another version made for the iPod mini. Previously known as MiniSleevz and now called Sleevz for iPod mini ($18.95), the smaller cases are less impressive than their full-sized iPod offerings.
Each of the Sleevz is a soft fabric case that protects most of an iPod while permitting access to its controls. They’re made mostly from Optex fabric, a soft, microfiber material that won’t scratch your iPod, and offered in six mature colors - indigo, titanium, grape, ultra violet, red, and black. These obviously aren’t the standard bright and sunny tones picked for most iPod mini cases, which could be a good thing for older consumers. There’s also a thin clear vinyl screen protector on each case that perfectly frames the iPod mini’s screen.
As with the full-sized iPod cases, the mini versions of Sleevz are under 1mm in thickness, and intentionally designed to be more sheathe-like than case-like. You have a bit of soft protection that covers virtually all of the iPod mini’s metal surfaces, but surprisingly, RadTech doesn’t include any protection for either the iPod mini’s top or its bottom.
In the full-sized version of Sleevz, the iPod’s top was exposed but given a few millimeters of extra fabric; on the iPod mini, the Sleevz actually leave thin slices of the iPod mini’s metal showing through on the top and bottom. It’s a design issue that takes away from the case’s otherwise professional looks, and dramatically compromises its protectiveness even further than with the full-sized version of Sleevz. The nice way to market such a case is to call it compatible with every top- and bottom-mounting iPod mini accessory ever made, but unless you’re using two of them at all times, you won’t find this case as protective as most of its competitors.
The biggest positive feature the various Sleevz versions share is the Click Wheel protector, a thin, interference-free fabric surface that’s essentially just an embossed portion of the case’s Optex fabric. Though covered, the Click Wheel still responds perfectly in the Sleevz to button and scroll actions - slightly better than in most fully protective rubber cases. A tactile circular nub is used for the Menu button, while similarly tactile arrows are used for the track and play/pause buttons.
We weren’t thrilled with the price of full-sized Sleevz at $20.95, and even though we generally like the mini version’s looks, we think the $18.95 asking price is surprising given the case’s very limited protectivity. If you’re looking only for a way to change the color of your iPod mini and prevent contact with most of its metal, these cases might suit your needs, but we’ve reviewed plenty of better options for the price.