Modus Design Dopi Cases
Pros: Colorful fabric cases that protect most of an iPod mini.
Cons: Lanyard cannot be removed, holes are too small, iPod mini’s corners are exposed, felt is a highly nichey material for an iPod case.
iPod cases made from felt? Yes. If it wasn’t for their machined stitching and a couple of other touches, Modus Design’s Dopi cases ($19) would be ideal grade school arts and crafts projects for precocious iPod lovers. Now available in four external colors - blue, green, red, and gray - the Dopi cases were designed to vaguely match the bodies of currently shipping iPod minis, and even include a second color of fabric inside. (Only the gray case’s green interior is a color surprise; the others are lighter shades of their exterior colors.)
The design is simple, yet novel. Each Dopi consists of a single, flat piece of material (with the aforementioned backing) that wraps around your iPod mini. One large section covers the mini’s face and sides, connecting its left and right halves with a strip of Velcro. A small tab that hangs off the case’s top folds down to cover the case’s back, providing padding for the side flaps. Finally, a long, flat piece of fabric hangs off Dopi’s bottom, covering the iPod’s Dock Connector port and separating into two halves that form a lanyard. When properly closed, the case covers everything but the iPod’s headphone port, Hold switch, and bottom surface corners.The only non-felt part is a small silver Dopi tag at each case’s top.
We would call the design ingenious except for a few things. First, felt isn’t the world’s best material for an iPod case - we were content to leave it behind in grade school - and the way it leaves your iPod mini looking is decidedly folksy. It doesn’t inspire a “cool” as much as a “hmmm” or a “that’s interesting.”
Second, its built-in and non-detachable lanyard concept will be good for some users, but not most. Few iPod mini cases have included lanyards, and none save this one have been mandatory, making Dopi a bit of an unwieldy case to carry around unless you want to wear it all the time on your neck or try and cut it off with a scissors - not recommended. It’s not bad as a mini-laden necklace, but also not the most comfortable one we’ve worn, either.
Finally, the fabric’s holes are too small, so they’re tough to properly align on your iPod to prevent buckling of the fabric or overlap of the screen and Click Wheel controls. While misalignment or even proper alignment won’t preclude use of the iPod mini, you shouldn’t expect an unencumbered view of the entire screen or Wheel when using a Dopi case. It should also go without saying that there’s no plastic or other protection here for the screen or controls, either.
Even with these relatively noteworthy issues, it’s hard not to like the Modus Design offerings on some level. Though they’re not the most protective or practical cases, their bright colors and simple designs have a handmade, youthful feel that some iLounge readers will definitely appreciate. A few little tweaks would have made the Dopi cases more generally recommendable and appealing, but they’re a good start for a new company in the iPod accessories market.