Review: MARWARE C.E.O Classic Case
Pros: A classic marriage of form and function, the Marware C.E.O. Classic case for iPod, with its excellent workmanship and design, is a winner. Flexibility and adaptability should make this case appealing to a wide range of iPod owners. The removable front flap and the Multiadapt interchangeable clip system are this case’s standout features.
Cons: Lack of choice in leather color - black is the only available option.
My New Favorite Case!
I have a new favorite case for my original model 10GBiPod - the MARWARE C.E.O. Classic ($34.95 direct from MARWARE with a 1 year warranty). This new black leather case from the makers of the Sportsuit Sleeve and Sportsuit Convertible neoprene iPod cases (previously reviewed here at iLounge), strikes the perfect balance of style, protection, and functionality for my tastes. Previous to my trying the C.E.O. Classic, I owned & extensively used a XtremeMac Deluxe leather case and a Willow Designs BiFold case. In this review, I will make several comparisons to the XtremeMac Deluxe case since the C.E.O. Classic case is of the same style - leather with a vinyl face and cover flap.
The C.E.O. Classic case’s exterior is made of high quality, soft, supple black leather (black is the only color choice). The back of the case and the top flap are made somewhat rigid with what feels like plastic inserts. In addition, there is a small amount of what feels like foam padding inside the top flap. The top, bottom, and sides of the case contain no rigid insert. Inside, the case is lined with a very soft, slightly brushed tan leather. The main body of the case protects iPod’s face with a thick, clear vinyl covering that covers everything (including the iPod’s screen) except for the scroll/track wheel. Direct access to the wheel is provided via a circular cut in the vinyl. Unlike the XtremeMac case, the circular cut on the C.E.O. Classic case does not leave the iPod’s Menu, Back, Forward, and Play/Pause buttons exposed. However, these buttons are still easily pressed through the vinyl covering.
As mentioned before, the top flap flips up towards the top of the case, just like the XtremeMac case. When attached to the case (more on this in a minute) and closed, the flap provides access to iPod’s headphone jack via a circular hole. Unlike the XtremeMac case, this hole is not oblong. The oblong hole is necessary on the XtremeMac case to allow the flap to be raised when headphones are plugged in through the hole. However, since the C.E.O. Classic case’s leather is more supple, its flap will flip open and bend at the front edge more easily, providing no interference with even the “L"shaped plug on my Sony earphones. No external access to the “Hold” switch or the FireWire port is provided when the top flap is attached and closed. The flap snaps closed on the bottom of the case.
There is a pouch on the front of the flap that can be used to hold iPod’s earbuds, but it is a tight pouch such that only the earbud’s wires can easily slip inside. The earbuds themselves hang outside the pouch. So, I do not find the pouch useful for holding my earphones, but it can also be used for holding a business card or other piece of identification in case you lose your iPod.
The C.E.O. Classic case covers iPod completely on all sides and protects it very well when the top flap is attached and closed. In contrast to the XtremeMac case, whose sides leave approximately 3/4"of the iPod’s sides exposed at the top, the C.E.O. Classic case’s sides extend all the way to the top. At the bottom corners, slits where the case’s sides are not sewn to the bottom leave visible (but not vulnerable) just a tiny sliver of the iPod’s corners.
Finally, the C.E.O. Classic case utilizes the wonderful and highly flexible Multiadapt interchangeable clip system. This system allows a variety of attachment options and is discussed in detail below.
The Best of Both Worlds!
One of the great features of the C.E.O. Classic case is that the top flap is completely removable. Aside from the single snap at the bottom of the flap, there are two snaps at the top of the flap on two tabs that attaches to the rear of the case, one on each side of the Multiadapt mount. This allows the flap to be removed. When removed, the case resembles the iGlove (or other slip in, sleeve style cases). Note that with the front flap removed, the top of iPod is completely exposed. I really like this removable front flap - it is like getting two cases in one!
The snaps on the flap are also thoughtfully designed. The “male"half of all three snaps are on the flap itself, while the “female"half is on the case. So, if you want to slip the case sans flap into your pocket, the snaps on the case will not catch on or poke you through your clothing.
Multiadapt Interchangeable Clip System
Also in the “Best of Both Worlds"department is my other favorite feature of the MARWARE C.E.O. Classic case - the Multiadapt interchangeable clip system. This clip system provides the utmost in flexibility and adaptability. The only part of the system permanently attached to the case itself is the base - a plastic slide mount approximately 3/4"wide by 1 1/8"long (not including a small loop at the top) sewn into the top back of the case. With nothing attached to it, it rises only approximately 1/4"off the back of the case. So, if you want to slip your iPod in its C.E.O. Classic case into your pocket, you can remove any attachment and do so without a swivel post or belt clip getting in the way.
The Multiadapt attachments slide up and into this mount, locking into place with a reassuring click. Included with the case is a “low profile"belt clip attachment that does not swivel. Available separately are a swivel belt clip ($5.95), a car holder for dashboard mounting ($5.95), a bicycle holder that mounts onto a bike’s handlebars ($7.95), a leather swivel clip ($9.95) and a lanyard ($7.95). Other than the lanyard (which I could not quite figure out how to attach to the case), the other mounts all utilize a small swivel post which slides and locks into the Multiadapt base. To remove this swivel post or the low profile belt clip, all you do is stick a pointed object (like a ball point pen or a PDA stylus) straight down into the center, releasing a spring loaded catch. Then you simply slide the attachment down towards the bottom of the case, removing it.
Inserting & Removing iPod
MARWARE states on their website that the C.E.O. Classic case currently fits iPod 5 & 10GBs only. My original model iPod 10GB (the same size as the original & current 5GB model, 3 mm thicker than the new iPod 10GBs, and 3 mm thinner than the new 20GB iPods) is a nice, tight fit in the case, so I would think a 20GB would be too tight.
My iPod slid fairly easily into the case. It is easily removed by first pressing up from the bottom of the case, sliding the iPod up (which is probably why the sides of the case are not sewn to the bottom at the two corners). Once the bottom edge of the iPod is accessible through the circular cut on the face, a finger can push the iPod up from there the extra inch or so until the iPod itself can be easily grasped from the sides and pulled the rest of the way out. And, rest assured, the soft leather interior of the case is the perfect surface to prevent your iPod from getting scratched while sliding it into or out of the case.
I did not have a new, thinner iPod 10GB to try in the case, but I think the 3mm difference will still allow a snug enough fit and iPod to slide out a bit easier. As for iPod 20GB, I e-mailed MARWARE and asked them whether they had any plans for a model of the C.E.O. Classic case for them. They replied that a 20GB model is due out in about a month.
As I stated at the outset, I love this case. With its removable top flap and its Multiadapt interchangeable clip system, this case should appeal to many iPod owners. With the top flap detached, it can function as a sleeve type case, showing off the iPod’s face and providing full access to the top of the iPod. Or, with the top flap attached, it can provide the utmost in protection by totally covering the iPod. Thanks to the Multiadapt system, it can be used with a fixed belt clip, a swivel belt clip, or no swivel post or clip at all for easy sliding into a pocket. About the only iPod owners, whom I think will not like the MARWARE C.E.O. Classic are those who dislike hiding any part of their iPod in an opaque case. Those people will still be better served by a Groove Jacket, iSkin or similar translucent case.