Review: Miniot iWood nano
Model: iWood nano
Price: $90 (plus $12 per engraving)
Compatible: iPod nano
Pros: A luxury wood case tailor made to the iPod nano, with optional engravings that truly personalize its looks for a specific owner. Comprehensive iPod nano protection with your choice of headphone port hole sizes for added bottom coverage. A step above the typical iPod wood product.
Cons: Price tag is surprisingly high for a small wood case, even without engravings.
While iWood nano ($90) is not the first wooden iPod product we’ve covered on iLounge, it is the first that actually looks and feels worthy of some premium price. The design, by Holland-based Miniot, is a shell made from two pieces of wood that are bound together at the top with a hinge, and sealed at the bottom with a magnet when closed. At press time, you can choose from five types of wood (maple, walnut, mahogany, cherry or oak), and two types of headphone port holes, “standard” and “bigger.” Each case’s surfaces and edges are smooth and lightly fragrant, and though the case isn’t lacquered or gloss varnished, the look is not so common that you’d think the case came from a small gift shop. It’s professional from top to bottom.
The hole on our review unit appears to be “bigger,” because it immediately worked with our oversized headphones; “standard” is cut specifically for Apple’s buds. We liked the fact that Miniot offered these options, for one major reason: this is the only hole on the case when closed, and you get to choose precisely the amount of protection you need given your iPod and headphone combiination. Emphasis is needed on this point: this case is fully protective, a key reason we like it as much as we do. The hinged lid opens without a problem, revealing the nano’s entire face and its Dock Connector port, and there’s just enough room at the bottom to connect an Apple cable to the port without removing the nano from iWood.
Next, you have the option to pick personalized inscriptions for the case’s front half - if you’re willing to spend extra money. For $12 more than the base price, a single-character (upper or lowercase letter, number, or symbol) monogram is etched prominently into the case’s top front. An additional $12 enables you to choose a two-line message - 16 characters per line - to go inside the upper lid. Whether or not you pay for the extra engravings, Miniot’s logo is cut into the case’s rear bottom. On a positive note, the etchings on each of the case’s surfaces are surprisingly laser precise - clean, easy to read, and attractive. If you decide to spring for them, you’ll be happy with the detail and style.
But there is no getting around how exceedingly expensive iWood nano is, even when it’s unadorned with the optional monogram or messages, which may be the single best part of these cases. As a gift item, we could almost feel comfortable with the $90 asking price if all of the engraving was included. But to wind up at $114 plus shipping for any iPod case, even a nicely made one, will be eye-popping for all but the wealthy. The price is the only reason iWood nano doesn’t rate higher; given the constraints of wood design, we have no complaints about its build quality, look, feel, or iPod accessibility. If you can afford it, particularly with customizations, you or your lucky recipient will unquestionably be impressed.