Review: Case Logic Traditional Tins for iPod nano + classic
There are two ways to truly impress oversaturated iPod users with case designs these days: beauty and functionality. Beauty is the key asset behind several of Case Logic's latest releases, including two reviewed here -- the Traditional Tins for iPod nano and classic ($30 each), and the Trend cases for iPod nano, classic, and touch (reviewed separately) -- as well as the Folio, coming later today. But not for their good looks, we'd be unenthusiastic about all of these cases, as they use lids that obscure both the iPod's screen and controls unless you remove them.
The Traditional Tins are Case Logic’s spin on the repurposed tin container-as-iPod case concept, initially a “do-it-yourself” concept where Altoids boxes were transformed into holders for iPods, and later commercialized by companies such as Tinbot, which added outside art and inside padding. Case Logic’s version is a little different, lacking a hinge and complete coverage in art. Instead, there’s an artistic front lid, a plain perforated silver rear and side shell, and a white silicone rubber lining.
Made to fit the 160GB iPod classic, the larger case version also includes a white soft insert pad that helps the case resize for thinner 80GB classic models. Each case provides full-time headphone and Dock Connector port access, but completely precludes use of the screen and controls unless opened. Three different colored faceplates are available and sold in separate full-case packages: black, purple, and silver.
To Case Logic’s credit, Traditional Tin is an attractive case in any of these color schemes. Our black and pink review samples looked sharp from front to back, felt good in our hands, and slid open easily, locking their front lids into place when completely closed. We liked both the front stripes, which are embossed to provide both looks and texture, and the rear perforations, which combine with the silicone to provide both protection and a distinctive design. Cosmetically, Traditional Tin is pretty cool—not quite as diverse as the wide spectrum of Tinbot cases, but better for sure than a plain Altoids tin. You also do pretty well on protection, with only two iPod ports exposed at all times.
The problems here are fairly obvious ones. iPod access is precluded by the front lid, which needs to be fully removed for use of the controls and hand-held because it detaches completely from the rear shell. Case Logic’s headphone and Dock Connector port holes are only a little larger than Apple’s tiny plugs, and not Universal Dock-friendly, which makes these cases poor choices for third-party accessory use. And the $30 asking prices? They’re the same as the Tinbots, which strike us as better-designed, but still high considering the relative lack of convenience here.
Overall, the Traditional Tins are nice-looking and protective cases with inconvenient screen, control, and accessory access. Though they’ll do better than a $2 pack of Altoids at carrying your iPod nano or classic, their lack of Callard & Bowser’s hinges—say nothing of the mints—makes them less attractive than they might, and frankly should have been for $30 asking prices. You’ll likely do better for the dollar with Case Logic’s Folios, and if you’re an iPod classic user, with Tinbot’s designs.