Pros: Thin, fully protective of entire iPod save its top, giving access to all top-mounted iPod accessories.
Cons: No shock or drop protection, high price given functionality and competing products.
Plastic, leather, and metal cases are the most common protective options for iPod owners, but a couple of companies have made cloth cases as alternatives. We had generally unfavorable feelings about Case Closed’s oddly-patterned cloth cases - mostly because of their odd aesthetic - but RadTech’s PodSleevz take an entirely different approach.
A Kinder, Gentler iPod Case
First, the positives. PodSleevz look good. Made from Optex fabric, RadTech’s cases are offered in six mature colors and work well to scratch-protect iPods while allowing access to their controls.
“Scratch-protect” is the key phrase. Under 1mm in thickness, PodSleevz are intentionally designed to be more sheathe-like than case-like. Each case has an open top so that you can slip an iPod in and use peripherals such as Griffin’s iTrip and Belkin’s Voice Recorder without problems. A perforated hole option on the bottom lets users decide whether or not to expose an iPod’s Dock Connector port while sleeved.
The protection adds almost no thickness to the svelte iPod, making the already portable audio player near-guiltlessly pocketable - like, but better than the baggier pouches that recent iPods have included. Unlike those pouches, PodSleevz use transparent vinyl to provide access to iPods’ screens, and cover their controls with a thin, interference-free fabric surface. The screen and button carveouts in RadTech’s design contribute to the product’s respectable, professional appearance. We especially liked that the iPod’s buttons, though covered, still responded perfectly to our button and scroll wheel actions - slightly better than they do in fully protective rubber cases.
PodSleevz would be absolute no-brainer recommendations for certain iPod owners if only one thing was different. We can’t fault the PodSleevz design for preferring thinness to protectiveness, but we don’t know that $19.95’s the right price for something thinner than a child’s sock.
Although there’s no denying that the fabric PodSleevz provide adequate scratch protection for everything except the iPod’s top, we couldn’t help but feel that the $19.95 asking price would be more appropriate for a set of two or three, especially given that today’s iPods include a soft pouch that serves a similar purpose. Rubber cases at the same price point offer some anti-shock and anti-drop protection, neither of which the thin PodSleevz can offer, and a rubber case of roughly the same thickness (####’s eXo 3) costs less than half the price, and doesn’t feel as disposable.
For what they are, PodSleevz are great inventions - thin, scratch-resistant cloth sheathes with full iPod button and screen access. Whether they meet your personal needs and budget limitations is another question altogether.
Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iLounge and 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.