Review: JAVOedge Design 1 Case
The Good: A leather case that doesn’t look or feel cheap.
The Bad: Price is too high relative to its utility and quality; competing products offer better features and/or quality for similar prices.
Occasionally we receive an iPod accessory that we aren’t sure whether or not to formally review, and we received two such accessories recently from JAVOedge, maker of attractive PDA accessories. The first was a very simplistic sheathe-like leather case called iPod Leather Case - Design 1, while the other was an even simpler thin plastic screen protector for the iPod called the JAVOScreen. Ironically, we wound up really liking the less elaborate of the two products, and were less impressed by the other one.
JAVOedge’s iPod Leather Case - Design 1 almost duplicates the nylon fabric case accessory made by Apple and packed-in with most third-generation iPods. Notably, however, the Design 1 employs leather rather than nylon as a primary material, and lacks the Apple case’s belt clip. Three pieces of elastic hold the sides and bottom of the Design 1 case together, and any sized third-generation iPod slips in the open top of the case.
Most of the cases we receive have a clearer reason for being; in other words, they do something that other cases do not and therefore stand out more. Because it’s nothing more than a plain leather iPod sheathe, the black Design 1 case struck us as a surprisingly bland offering, at $30.95 priced too high relative to its competition and functionality.
Its front is a fairly attractive composite of two pieces of medium-grade leather, the top stamped with the JAVOedge logo and the bottom using what initially appears to be breathable, hole-punched leather. Yet the leather doesn’t actually dissipate any heat, as it is reinforced internally with thin velvet to prevent iPod scratching and cardboard to provide durability. Dissipation might have been useful on the back of the case, but instead of using punched holes, the back is just a plain piece of leather with similar velvet and cardboard inner pieces. The entire Design 1 case is adequately stitched with sharply contrasting white thread.
An iPod easily slips into and out of the case, covering its screen, controls, and Dock Connector port, while leaving its corners and top (including headphone port and hold switch) entirely exposed. Design 1 is therefore as simple as Apple’s own case to use, but lacking the utility of the belt clip, which many people believe is the only real reason to bother with Apple’s product. Minus that clip, JAVOedge’s offering is a little thinner in profile, and therefore a slightly easier case to toss into any bag or pocket lacking hard, scratching objects. But it can’t be used for much else without risking tarnish on the top and corner surfaces of the iPod.
As a leather product, the Design 1 doesn’t compare favorably with Vaja’s high-quality black leather Classic cases, which cost only $4 more, look considerably sharper, and use better materials. Similarly, we feel that Design 1’s appeal is limited to the small subset of people who meet each of three criteria, namely those who: (1) didn’t get free, highly similar nylon cases with their iPods, (2) like to pay higher prices for medium-grade leather goods, and (3) have no need for a belt clip attachment. The Design 1 is by no means a bad case, but it’s also not a product we are especially thrilled about.