Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: HipCase Leather Folios
Compatible: iPod classic, iPod nano (video)
DLO HipCase Leather Folios for iPod classic and iPod nano
We've probably received more leather iPod cases in the past two months than in the past two years, so in an effort to cover as many as possible, we're writing only brief reviews today for all but the most interesting ones. This is our review of DLO's HipCase Leather Folio for iPod nano and iPod classic ($30 each).
Though “HipCase” is now being used by DLO to describe two types of leather or nylon cases, these simple black flip-style leather cases for the iPod classic and iPod nano bear the extended HipCase Leather Folio name, as distinguished from the sunglass case-like standard HipCases. Like most other flip-open lid designs, the classic and nano HipCase Leather Folios cover your iPod’s screen and controls with a front flap, which opens when you want it open. A rear belt clip is built into the back of each case, and non-detachable; the classic version expands to fit both 80GB and 160GB models.
Only three things set the HipCase Leather Folios apart from the hundreds of other flip-style leather cases out there. First, their exterior leather is unusually soft, thanks both to the material itself and its padding. Second, they use magnetic rather than snap or claspless lids to stay shut when they’re not in use.
Third, they take different approaches to iPod protection inside. While both cases expose all four of each iPod’s corners, the classic version has two additional holes for the headphone port and Dock Connector; the nano version exposes the headphone port and Hold switch, but not the Dock Connector. The classic case uses a “traditional” flip case interior, with holes for that model’s screen and Click Wheel, while the nano version has a unified clear protector covering both parts and the metal between them. This protector looks sort of cheap, and isn’t necessary to protect the nano because of the lid; it’s likely just there to hold the nano in, given that more of it is exposed than covered by the leather.
Flip cases like HipCase Leather Folio are a dime a dozen these days, and we’ve never been really fond of them, particularly for video-ready iPods, but if any of the above features float your bloat, you may be OK with paying DLO’s slightly too high $30 asking prices. In our view, both cases could stand to be better designed for protection or versatility, especially as Griffin’s Elan Convertibles offer similar protection and more features—detachable belt clips and lids—at lower prices. We weren’t blown away by the Elan Convertibles, either, but we’d give them the edge for the price. Pick the HipCases over them only if the look and feel of leather are important enough to you to trump both pricing and features.