Review: Incase Folio for U2 Special Edition
Pros: A nicely built leather case that accentuates the black and red colors of the U2 iPod, displays its rear signature panel.
Cons: Displaying U2 iPod’s rear panel isn’t as useful (or even distinctive from a distance) as displaying its more recognizable front panel, which is locked behind snaps and mounted horizontally on your belt. Exposes iPod’s corners and entire top, uses tiny hole for Dock Connector port.
We’re catching up today on a number of case accessories for discontinued iPods, and for that reason presenting shorter than normal reviews. This review covers Incase’s Folio for U2 Special Edition ($40).
It wasn’t Incase’s most brilliant case design, but it was interesting, and most likely one of the inspirations for Tunewear’s recent Prie Ambassador for iPod nano: shaped somewhat like a black wallet with red trim, the U2 Folio closes to hold your iPod horizontally on an integrated, non-moving belt clip, two snaps at its “top,” which is actually the iPod’s left side. Facing out at the world as you walk is a clear vinyl panel that largely exposes the signatures of U2 bandmates Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., as well as the Apple iPod Special Edition and U2 logos - not the iPod’s 20GB capacity. We understand why Incase did this, but truthfully, we don’t think it’s that cool - the red and black iPod’s front was more than good enough to identify what’s inside, and a full-time clear panel for the back is just sort of weird by comparison.
Open up the case’s large flap, and you’ll find a rough red suede interior, plus a white Incase Special Edition logo stitched into the interior left side. On the right is the face of your U2 iPod, clear vinyl covering its screen and nothing covering its Click Wheel, red stitching lining them both. You’ll note at this point that all four of the iPod’s corners are exposed inside, plus all of its top - unusual for a Folio, which could have inserted the iPod from the left side rather than through the top hole - but two of those corners are covered when the case closes. There’s also a tiny hole for the iPod’s Dock Connector at the bottom, just big enough for Apple’s cables, but nothing larger.
Horizontal iPod cases - specifiically the belt-clipped ones - strike us as sort of bizarre. Given that iPods will poke you in the stomach and legs when you sit down, they have the generally right idea - put the iPod on its side instead. But the iPod’s screen then also goes on its side, which isn’t as easy to deal with when you’re walking and need access - at least, not as easy as with a vertically-mounted case. Combined with the weird back-showing panel of the case, we didn’t get too enthusiastic about this one - hence the extended delay in our review.
The oddities are a shame, because the overall workmanship and trim of the case is otherwise superb, and both its coloration and materials are ideally suited to the U2 iPod. Most impressive is the fact that its price is lower (and hence better) than what Tunewear today is charging for a smaller, simpler leather case for the iPod nano - this is a good value. If it hadn’t implemented such odd concepts and just stuck to the basics, we would have loved it. But if you have a U2 iPod, don’t mind its design quirks, and have no issue exposing the entire top of your iPod to potential damage, give it a try - you’ll love the quality.