Review: Krusell Music Multidapt for iPod
Pros: Leather PDA-style case for full-sized iPods, featuring Multidapt clipping system and clear plastic iPod-holding sleeve inside.
Cons: Exposes top corners of the iPod unnecessarily, bottom corners a bit. Fit and finish of stitching and leather are not impressive. Interior pockets not useful. Vinyl interior creates major problems inserting and removing various iPods that are supposed to fit; 60GB iPod’s headphone port doesn’t match headphone port hole. Same general design has been done better by others.
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at Krusell’s Music Multidapt for iPod mini (iLounge rating: C+), a simple leather and plastic, PDA-style case compatible with the company’s Multidapt clips and holders. We update our previous review below for the full-sized iPod Music Multidapts ($29.95), which are similar in design to their smaller brothers, only more of a pain to put on and remove.
The Multidapt Clip System
The concept behind Krusell’s Multidapt clip and mounting system is a good one: the company offers a huge collection of well-made, detachable holders appropriate to different mounting applications, including cars, boats, different types of belts, and so on. One universal mount - called the “Multidapt female�? - is used on the back of compatible cases, which often come with one “typical�? clip like a belt clip, and you buy the additional clip or clips you need for various situations. Each of the clips is well-made, resilient, and detachable via a unique locking system that requires a pen tip to pop open.
When a good iPod accessory uses the Multidapt clip, it’s therefore able to be mounted in all sorts of different places, expanding its possible appeal far beyond pocketing, bagging, or belt-wearing. Marware, for example, has incorporated Multidapt clips into many of its iPod products, and generally benefited from their inclusion. But when a mediocre or bad iPod accessory uses Multidapt, it hardly matters at all that you can mount it in two dozen places – you probably won’t care to buy it at all.
The iPod version of this case comes with a clip called the “Spring Clip,�? which is a very good, spring-loaded clip that’s also been used on Marware cases. Large and strong enough for use with most belts, it’s the best feature of an otherwise very disappointing case design.
Design: The Leather
Music Multidapt is almost a stereotype at this point: a classic PDA-style case designed generically for use with many devices, apparently tailored after the fact for an iPod. It’s made from a combination of Nappa leather and clear PVC plastic, the Nappa forming a traditional front-opening flap and back outside shell, joined together at the top with leather that covers roughly two-thirds of the iPod, and at the bottom rear with a snap-closed flap that covers almost the entire Dock Connector.
The leather body looks alright - much better from the padded front than the unpadded back and snapping flap, which show some light wrinkles we didn’t find especially attractive. As with the iPod mini version, the full-sized Multidapt’s stitching and tailoring weren’t as clean as many cases we’ve seen, either. It’s internally reinforced with cardboard on both sides, and feels firm enough; a metal Krusell logo on the bottom of the front flap is simple.
Black and white versions of the case are available, and we tested both. Neither was bad, but they didn’t show off the classy leather quality that the word Nappa generally evokes. Inside of each case’s front flap are three slits in the leather, which Krusell describes as “pockets for bills, memorycards etc.” Not that you’ll have any reason to carry a memory card with your iPod, but they’re so tiny as to be difficult to open and essentially useless, another mark of a case designed for other devices and then scaled down to mostly fit an iPod.
Design: the iPod Holder
We say “mostly�? because the one key ingredient of the Music Multidapt is its interior clear plastic iPod holder, which is permanently attached to the case’s rear leather surface and holds the iPod in place. As with some (but not all) of these cases, the iPod’s top corners are exposed at all times in the holder, as are small parts of its bottom and its Dock Connector, though the Connector is mostly covered when the unit’s flap is closed. The plastic otherwise covers the iPod’s face, sides and screen, but leaves a hole for the Click Wheel.
Those are the nicest things we can say about the Multidapt’s plastic holder - it gets worse from there. Krusell’s smaller case is labeled for use with “iPod 4th Gen 20GB/U2,” which regrettably became inaccurate for today’s iPods when Apple decided to produce thicker color iPods at the same capacities under the same name. As such, today’s 20GB/U2 iPods don’t fit the thinner case at all, and even thinner iPods are a very tight squeeze. But the real surprise is that it’s hard to fit the 20GB color iPod into the thicker case, labeled “iPod 4th Gen 40/60GB” - you’ll wish you could oil either the case or the iPod to get it in and out.
Unfortunately, that case is supposed to accommodate thicker iPods, including the 60GB model. And we have never had to push an iPod so hard to get it into or out of a case than we did with Music Multidapt. We thought we had pushed as much as we could bear, and then pushed some more. Finally, the 60GB iPod fit, but the headphone hole at the top of the case wasn’t aligned properly - a problem that will also be there for 40GB iPod photos, if you tried to use one.
On a more positive note, after significantly working the plastic to squeeze the 60GB iPod in, it was comparatively easier to get a 40GB black-and-white iPod to fit inside. While the alignment of the case’s top headphone port wasn’t perfect with this iPod, either, it was closer, and headphones could work with it without much of a problem. We emphasize, however, that it took a lot of screwing around to get to this stage - something we haven’t experienced with other cases.
How could Multidapt for full-sized iPods have been better? Looser plastic probably wouldn’t have done it; once an iPod’s in, the plastic fits the face reasonably. But Krusell could have picked different materials to touch the iPod’s sides and back. Marware’s superb TrailVue (iLounge rating: A-) avoided this problem entirely by using soft fabric, including some elastic, on key parts of the case that make contact with an iPod. Krusell’s decision to use PVC on the iPod’s slick sides and face makes Multidapt comparatively grippy going on and off at all points. On the “20GB” case, its only non-grip surface is at the iPod’s back, where velvet is used instead, but on the “40/60GB” case, the problem is compounded - no velvet is used, and slick leather provides at least as much grip on the iPod.
Moreover, because of the varying thicknesses of iPods, it’s not easy to cut a form-fitting headphone hole at the top of a case and have it work for different iPod thicknesses. More attention to this top hole, and ways to protect other parts of the iPod’s body would really have helped this case a lot.
The single best features of the Multidapt case are the “female Multidapt” on its back, its included Spring Clip, and its compatibility with other Multidapt accessories. In our view, however, the choice between this case and superior Multidapt-enabled designs such as Marware’s TrailVue is a no-brainer - TrailVue is a much better case in virtually every conceivable way, as are virtually all of the other cases we’ve reviewed for ths iPod thus far.