Review: Noreve Leather iPod Nano Tradition
Pros: A generally good semi-padded leather PDA-style case for the iPod nano with a very nice detachable belt clip and nub system. Available in four colors.
Cons: Expensive by comparison with most other leather nano cases without surpassing them in apparent workmanship or quality of materials; exposes significant portions of nano’s sides and bottom, and front lid arches out in an inexpensive way. Mounts your nano in a position difficult for viewing upside down. Headphone port hole can present problems with oversized headphones.
Every new iPod eventually winds up with a PDA-style case, and Noreve’s new Leather Tradition for the iPod nano (32.99 Euros, approx. $40 US) fits that bill. Packaged with a detachable plastic belt clip and detachable metal belt nub, it’s the first flip-closed nano case that mounts the nano rightside up on a belt rather than upside down. We look at Tradition with our new capsule review system, which has been designed to spotlight six critical factors in a case’s design: appearance, build quality, ease of use, special features/innovation, protectiveness, and value for the dollar.
Appearance: Leather Tradition is available in an increasingly familiar set of four colors: black, white, baby blue and pink. Our review unit was all white, with the exception of a patch of black velvet inside where the nano is placed, and a matte metal Noreve logo on the front bottom right corner. The leather is puffed a bit on the case’s front, but flat and not extremely impressive inside.
Each case comes with a chrome metal screw in its back, which when unscrewed can be replaced by a chrome belt nub in the shape of an eight-point star. A black plastic belt clip is also included with each case, regardless of its leather color. Opened with a nano inside, the case holds only the bottom two-thirds of the iPod, using a leather sleeve that exposes the Click Wheel and entire top third. This actually looks good - better than many of the PDA-style cases we’ve seen.
Build Quality: Generally, the case looked good, but there were rough edges in a few parts of the leather at its seams, and the overall leather quality (especially on the inside) doesn’t look as premium as other expensive leather cases we’ve seen. The front flap also is not totally flush with the nano’s front, jutting out on a curve like the rip of a baseball cap. Noreve’s belt clip and nub system, however, is better than many we’ve seen, and reasonably suited size-wise to the smaller iPod nano.
Ease of Use: PDA-style cases always get marked down somewhat because of ease-of-use issues: unlike cases that let you access the iPod’s controls at all times, you need to pop their front flaps open to see screens and controls. Here, the case latches on the back bottom with a silver snap. Additionally, if you’re planning to belt clip this case, remember that the screen will be upside down when you look straight down at it. You can turn the case in the opposite direction using its ratcheting belt clip, but be careful - the nano sleeve inside doesn’t hold the nano’s top, and only uses pressure to keep it in place.
Special Features/Innovation: There’s nothing special or innovative about this design.
Protectiveness and Value: Tradition is OK on protectiveness and value. It generally does well with nano’s front, back, and top, leaving a hole only for the Hold switch - something that strikes us as unnecessary, especially in a flip-open case. Like too many other PDA-style cases, it leaves the nano’s top and bottom sides exposed even when closed, and also has a large dual-purpose hole for the nano’s headphone port and Dock Connector. You’ll have no problem using most of today’s iPod accessories when the case is open, and the same is true about headphones - oversized headphone plugs will be a problem unless you push one leather bottom corner over to the side. When it’s closed, the bottom flap covers none of the headphone port (thankfully), but only part of the Dock Connector, so you should be careful putting keys and other objects into your pockets along with Tradition.
Except when they were truly something special, we blanched at $40 leather cases for the iPod mini, and feel the same about Tradition: especially given that there are equally protective and decent-looking cases from companies such as Belkin at only $25, this is an alright leather case at a bit too high of a price. Additional protectiveness and style would have helped it rate better.