Review: Piel Frama Leather Case
Pros: Handsome leather, sturdy belt clip and overall good protection.
Cons: Comes across as an older user’s case, has PDA-case like functionality and a price tag that will only appeal to some users.
Spanish leather case maker Piel Frama certainly knows how to make a fine-looking leather product. The first impression we had when opening the box for its black leather case was that an older executive would unquestionably want one if he had an iPod. From padding to stitching, inside and out, the Piel Frama iPod cases just ooze class. And there are versions for both old and new iPods.
That’s not to say that they’re cases we would prefer to use ourselves, but for a major reason: they look and work just like PDA cases, and Piel Frama even includes the iPod on its web site list of PDAs alongside Palm handhelds and HP’s iPaq. In traditional PDA case fashion, you flip a front flap open and closed, securing it with a snap on the bottom back of the case, and there’s even a prominent belt clip if you’re that sort of toolbelt-wearing “power user.”
Each case comes with a sturdy detachable brass belt stud that locks firmly to a heavy plastic belt clip, and an interesting little key tool ratchets the belt stud on and off. It took a bit of playing with the key to get the stud to align properly for a 90-degree connection with a belt, but we liked the locking mechanism a lot. There’s enough padding on the front and back of the case to protect the iPod against most types of falls, and we’d suspect that the clip mechanism renders many of those falls unlikely, but there’s no padding on the sides - only thin leather. This isn’t a major issue, though.
Some people will love the design, complete as it is with places for business cards (but not, say, headphones), and it does include holes for headphones, the hold switch, and the dock connector. Black, tan, and black/tan versions of the case are available for leather lovers, and at over $50 per case, depending on where you shop, we suspect Piel Frama’s customers will buy these to match black jackets, tan purses, and the like.
That said, we really prefer thinner cases that allow for easy access to the iPod’s controls at all times, and Marware’s C.E.O. case really won us over with its iPod-centric design. However, Piel Frama wins the “classy” award, so if you’re buying iPod accessories for an older user or a Young Republican, consider this case to be a fine option.
Jeremy Horwitz is a consumer electronics fanatic who practices intellectual property law in his spare time. His recent book, Law School Insider, has been called the “best book about law school -ever,” and he continues to contribute to Ziff-Davis electronic entertainment magazines.