Pros: A perfect iPod mini-sized Christmas stocking with belt loop and lanyard included.
Cons: As it doesn’t provide easy iPod mini screen and Wheel access, it’s not likely to be used once Christmas is over - or even reused at the holidays next year.
Based purely on build quality of their finished products, there’s no question in our minds that Marware is and has been one of the top producers of iPod cases. While we could go into great detail praising the company for various fit and finish details - those little things like proper stitching, tight manufacturing tolerances, and smart, professional use of attractive parts - we’ll simply say that when the company wants to make a high-quality product, it doesn’t skimp on the little things.
Marware has developed three new iPod mini cases just in time for the holidays - one is a specialty case for Christmas, and the others are PDA-style cases that you could use year-round. We’ll review the PDA-style cases in an upcoming piece, but for now, heeeeere’s Santa.
The Santa case is one of those great ideas you wish you’d thought of first: it’s a iPod mini-sized Christmas stocking, available just in time for the holidays. Santa has five components: an interior neoprene lining that won’t scratch or otherwise damage the iPod mini inside, a soft red fabric exterior, a soft white fur top, a fabric belt loop on the back, and a lanyard necklace clip hanging from a metal eyelet above the loop.
As with Marware’s Safari cases, an iPod mini easily slips into the Santa stocking and fits safely inside, held firmly in place by the elastic neoprene body. Santa can hang near the fireplace next to any other Christmas stocking with either the belt loop or the lanyard. If worn on your neck or belt, the top of the stocking is open enough to permit full access to the iPod mini’s headphone port and hold switch, so the mini can be used (though its screen not easily read) while inside. You can also roll up the stocking a bit if you want to more fully cover the top of your iPod.
Santa is a novelty item to the extent that it’s designed for a very specific purpose and selling season, but if there’s a better way to present an iPod mini as a Christmas gift, we can’t think of it - it’s just right for the season and its intended purpose. Because of its lanyard clip, we would imagine that some people (read: younger girls) will actually wear Santa cases around their necks for a while after the holidays, though probably not much thereafter.
Sure, the same dollars could be spent on a case you’d use year-round (with more practical access to the iPod mini’s screen and controls), but Santa’s the sort of case that moms and dads will love regardless - especially given its impulse buy-friendly $19.95 price tag. While we can’t give it our highest recommendation because of its limited year-round practicality, it merits a strong B+, and we think lots of people will be happy to find these hanging (hopefully with four Gigabytes of iPod inside) in their living rooms come December. A full-sized iPod version is coming for 4G iPods in the near future, too.
Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iLounge and practices intellectual property law in his spare time. His 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.