Company: Gravis Footwear
Compatible: iPod 3G
Pros: Sturdy design that looks good and protects iPod quite well. Good match of fabric for target audience.
Cons: Slightly thicker than some might prefer, design of flap leaves left top half of iPod exposed.
If nothing else has proved the iPod’s enormous and universal appeal, the release of cases by everyone from street shoe companies to Gucci and Prada has conclusively demonstrated the iPod’s allure to different age groups, genders and financial strata. In the past week alone, iLounge has received and reviewed iPod cases made from rubber, hard plastic, leather and nylon, mostly with solid colors or no color at all. But two new camouflage cases stood out dramatically from the rest, ironically because they were designed to blend in.
We’ve already reviewed DC Shoes’ and Incase’s white camouflage Sleeve for the iPod mini (also available for the third-generation iPod), and today we look at Gravis Footwear’s new G-Pod, a black and grey camouflage case that could almost as easily turn up in a modern spy movie as on the street corners of your neighborhood. Substantial feeling, largely well designed and cool to look at, the G-Pod case is the one we’d be most likely to recommend to skateboarders and snowboarders.
Part of the appeal is the material. Like the DC|Incase Sleeve, the G-Pod we received is made from a heavy, resilient-feeling fabric that feels like ballistic nylon, with a rounded rectangular front flap and backside that have been reinforced with heavy card stock. When closed, the flap exposes only the left top half of the iPod from its headphone port to its edge, covering the right side, and when it is opened, it reveals a nicely stitched fabric and clear vinyl iPod face protector.
Gravis’s implementation of a flip lid design works really well in the G-Pod: because of the lid, and unlike the DC Shoes Sleeve, you’re not precluded from accessing the iPod’s screen or controls while it’s encased. The aforementioned vinyl protects the screen, and features holes cut perfectly for the 3G iPod’s four buttons and Scroll Wheel. Heavy elastic guards the iPod’s sides and bottom, with a smaller than average Dock Connector hole that’s just large enough for official Apple connectors. Velcro pads hold the case closed, and a small but very strong integrated belt clip is the only distinctive feature on the back. (The clip could stand to be slightly larger, but we think most users will like it.) A red embroidered Gravis logo runs down the front right side of the closed case.
Gravis has also released another G-Pod case called the G-Pod BB, similar in style to the current G-Pod but made from white leather. (A snakeskin version will be available in Japan in time for the holidays.) With all due respect to Gravis, the G-Pod is a case that seems best in the form reviewed - rather than easily tarnishable leather, this G-Pod feels like it could withstand some serious damage. The front and rear panels extend ever so slightly off of the iPod’s edges, meaning that the case will be the first surface to touch the ground under most circumstances, and with the exception of two relatively small unprotected surfaces (the top panel and the top sixth of each side), the iPod’s well covered. For this reason, we don’t mind that the case is a little on the thick side: it feels like the choice was made for good reason.
We really liked the case’s overall look. The black camouflage with otherwise heavy gray tones looks dark and a little menacing, and would be hard to write off as too youthful or embarrassingly stand-out given current fashion trends. If anything, it blends in quite well with other dark articles of clothing, and given that it matches two inexpensive bags made by Gravis (the Day Pack and Exponent), the G-Pod seems like the rare appropriate iPod-related extension of an existing accessory line.
Finally, we really like the G-Pod’s price. At $15, it’s cheaper than many iPod cases - including plenty that are less protective and/or attractive - and this factor just helps push Gravis’s product into our excited category. The G-Pod represents a great value for the dollar, looks really good and does a better than average job of protecting the iPod while permitting access to its controls. While it’s not right for every conceivable buyer, it’s so right for many people, including its target audience, that even we would use it. Great job, Gravis.
Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iLounge. A consumer electronics fanatic who practices intellectual property law in his spare time, Jeremy’s recent book, Law School Insider, has been called the “best book about law school - ever,” and he continues to contribute to Ziff-Davis electronic entertainment magazines.