Review: Noreve Tradition Leather Case for iPod classic
As much as we like the sound quality, capacity, and battery life of the iPod classic, its iPod 5G-like body style has made it pretty predictable as far as cases are concerned, with the latest releases strongly resembling the ones we've seen for the past two-plus years. Today, we briefly look at four new iPod classic case releases: Incase's Leather Sleeve ($30) and Neoprene Sleeve ($30), Marware's SportGrip ($15), and Noreve's Tradition Leather Case ($40). All four are much like identically named products for other iPod models, and though none is a breakthrough, SportGrip continues to impress in build quality and protectiveness for the dollar.
A quarter more expensive than Incase’s Leather Sleeve and somewhat more protective, Noreve’s Tradition Leather Case is a PDA-style flip-open case similar to its earlier Tradition for fifth-generation iPods, enhanced with additional suede leather and color options, and sold in separately tailored versions for 80GB and 160GB iPod classic models. Dark Vintage, shown here, is a black suede design, while 14 other colors are also available. Each comes with a detachable belt clip and nub system, as well as a screwdriver to attach the nub; Noreve’s parts here are a little nicer than the ones typically included by iPod case makers.
We have been vocal in our dislike of PDA case designs for iPods, particularly ones with video screens, as they add inconvenience to what other cases make a simple process of accessing the iPod’s display and controls. Incase’s Leather Sleeve is just one of hundreds of examples of how leather can be used to attractively and efficiently protect an iPod without forcing you to drop a flap over its face.
That said, Noreve’s specific implementation of this old-fashioned case design is pretty nice. We love the suede leather, and the design of the top flap permits full-time headphone port access; a snap at the bottom reveals the Dock Connector port, and with a little wiggling, you can get Tradition into an adapterless Universal iPod Dock just like Incase’s Leather Sleeve. The top lid also has two slots sized for credit cards, and like the interior iPod sheathe, the Noreve logo embossed inside. Tradition looks more deluxe, and better-appointed, than the generic OEM leather cases we see all the time.
However, Tradition isn’t a perfect PDA-style case. The top surface has an unnecessary hole for the Hold switch, and all four corners are at least a little exposed, which isn’t the case in better leather designs we’ve seen. When you open the lid, both the screen and Click Wheel are fully open, and the Click Wheel has an unusually large opening that we’d fault not for protection, but visually; if your iPod classic’s not the right color, the exposed metal may clash with the looks of the leather. Overall, this is a good case for what it’s supposed to be, and reasonably priced given its build and material quality, but PDA-style designs wouldn’t be at the top of our list given all the other great options out there.