Review: Speck Products FlipStand
Pros: Superior protection, and great integrated stand. And hats off to Speck Products for listening to their customer’s suggestions and making improvements.
Cons: Bulky, a bit heavy, hard to open top lid (but the new and improved model is coming soon), and incompatible with some ear/headphones.
When the iPod was introduced back in 2001, I, like every other iPod owner searched for the perfect case. I have tried everything from Neoprene, to leather, to the new FlipStand iPod case by Speck Products. Premiering at Macworld San Francisco 2003, Speck Products has created a durable, good looking hard case. This bulky, protective case is the first of its kind, and hopefully, it will be improved eventually (and it will be ...read on). Like I said, I have been searching for the perfect case, and unfortunately, I am still looking.
Speck Products claims that the FlipStand is an “Easy access case with superior protection, and an integrated desktop stand.” That’s what it says on the packaging. The case itself only fulfills about two-thirds of that claim. The case is made out of an unbelievably durable poly carbonate-like material that reminded me of the enclosure of the iBook. When they said, “superior protection”, they meant it. This must be the most durable iPod case I have ever seen. The only exposed part of the entire case is the access hole for the headphone port.
Another fulfilled claim is the desktop stand function. Let me just say, it’s a spectacular feature, and really does come in handy. By twisting the cover of the scroll wheel all-the-way around, it props up the iPod at a slight angle, and even with a FireWire cable attached, it still stands up.
Finally, lets get to the pessimistic part. Speck Products claims the FlipStand has “easy access.” Unfortunately, that claim falls short. First, the top lid is unbelievably hard to open, and after a while, can get very annoying.
We asked Tim Hickman of Speck Products to address this and other problems, and he did so in an email to iLounge. “We made this a tight fit so that the iPod would stay inside if it was dropped (and thus stay protected.) We have heard some comments about this and made a couple of changes including some mini-grip handles that allow the lid to be opened much more easily. We just got these new units back from our factory.”
The case should work with all third party headphones, but doesn’t. The FlipStand seems to have been made for Apple’s earphones. My Philips stereo headphones don’t fit in the hole on the top lid, and most stereo headphones won’t. However, most right-angle headphone jacks will work with no problem.
We also asked Tim about the hole for ear/headphones, and he replied, “We did make the hole a bit larger so it would accept a range of larger (DJ style) headphones. We tested this with three different ‘Sony’ headphones. Our design goal was to really minimize dust and dirt in this top area so we did limit the size opening. The hole is 3/8 of an inch.”
If there is one reason to buy this case, it is the everyday protection it will provide. Like I stated before, the case is extremely durable, and will keep your iPod nice and clean for a long time. If you’re a student like me, who throws the iPod in their backpack every morning, this case is for you.
The packaging claims that the FlipStand can be used for jogging or biking, assuming that you’ll be holding the case in your hand or putting it into some kind of bag while biking. I wouldn’t trust using the belt clip while jogging. There are better, alternative cases on the market for jogging or biking that come with an arm band or optional bike mounts.
Speck Products has included a belt clip with the case, but believe me, once you put it on, don’t expect to be able to take it off. I cracked the hinge on my case trying to remove it. You might have better luck at removing it, but be careful because the inside edges of the case is sharp. Raj Sundra, a member of the engineering team at Speck Products told iLounge, “We will definitely look
into rounding them [sharp edges] out a bit in the next set of changes.”
Tim had this to say about the belt clip problem. “The belt clip does have a very small release clip and it’s held on pretty tightly. Since it’s so tight we recommend using a pen or small screw driver to pop it off. The good news is that the belt clip is likely to stay put!”
The fit was another issue I examined. The case itself seems to fit all three models of the iPod. I myself have the original 5GB version, and it fits fairly well inside the case. I noticed a little bit of movement, but it really was not a problem. The case comes with foam inserts for the 5GB and 10GB versions. I did not see a 20GB insert, but I assume the 5GB pad will do just fine.
The final item I examined was the scroll wheel protector. I fell in love with it, it’s great and very practical. I did not have to worry about damaging the wheel by tossing it in my backpack. Also, the clear, poly carbonate shield over the iPod’s LCD display is an impressive feature.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to keep your iPod immaculate and who does not use it while working out, then this case might work for you. The superior protection will keep the iPod nice and clean from everyday use. I hope in future versions of this case, Speck Products will be able to make it thinner and lighter, without compromising its durability.
This case is not for everyone, and will be a problem with active people, but it does fulfill most of its claims. Because it has headphone compatibility problems, and is bulky for the average user, I can’t recommend it to everyone.