Model: Premium Glove Leather Case
Compatible: iPod 4G 20GB
Mindknob Premium Glove Leather Case
Pros: Fairly attractive-looking black leather sleeve for fourth-generation, 20GB iPods with integrated clear screen protector. Inexpensive pricing.
Cons: Sizing of holes and attention to fit and finish are a bit off, with fray and other small issues. No Click Wheel or top protection; iPod hangs out of the top a bit. Dock Connector hole is too small.
Mindknob’s new Premium Glove Leather Case ($12.99) for fourth-generation, 20GB iPods is a relatively simple design: it’s a black car glove-like leather sleeve with three holes, one at the top for iPod insertion and removal, one at the bottom for the use of Dock Connector accessories, and one in the front for the iPod’s Click Wheel controls. There’s also a carveout in the leather for the iPod’s screen, which is covered by a piece of clear vinyl. All of these holes save the Dock Connector one at the bottom are stitched; the case also leaves two tiny slits at the iPod’s corners that barely impact protectivity. Its back includes an integrated, non-detachable metal belt clip that has been covered in leather, and an embossed Mindknob.com logo immediately beneath.
Other than these elements, the case is unadorned and looks very much like a typical inexpensive car glove, with the slight frays in leather and string, small leather wrinkles, and other marks of so-so quality one would expect from a low-end case. None of these are terrible things per se, but the attention to detail here is a bit lower than in the truly “premium” cases we’ve tested.
These issues detract from an attractive overall look that works best with black U2 Special Edition iPods, and nicely matches the sorts of leather coats people buy at shopping malls. Most of your 20GB iPod’s front, back, bottom and sides are covered nicely, and the case’s soft plush interior won’t leave any scratches. (Thicker 40GB and 60GB iPods don’t fit the case properly, so don’t even try.) Mindknob’s belt clip is fine, though it would have been better as a detachable option, and the screen protector is appreciated, if a little generously sized by comparison with competing offerings.
In terms of protectiveness, the Glove will be adequate for some people, though it’s not great by comparison with other cases we’ve tested. The iPod’s entire top is exposed, as is the Click Wheel and a ring of a millimeter ot two around it. Unlike many of the open-top cases we’ve tested, though, an iPod’s top protrudes through Mindknob’s hole enough to be essentially unshielded if you dropped it, while its bottom Dock Connector hole is too small for a fair number of third-party accessories.
Overall, the Premium Glove Leather Case isn’t bad, but it’s not great, either. For the price, we think that some people will be willing to give it a shot - and they should, so long as their expectations are commensurate with the sort of leather goods that are offered for $13. Additional polishing of the case’s rough edges and a bit more attention to protectiveness factors would have made this offering both more useful, and even worthy of a higher asking price.