Company: STM (Standard TM)
Model: Holster for iPod nano
Compatible: iPod nano
STM Holster for iPod nano
Pros: Very attractive, protective pouch-style cases for the iPod nano, sold two to a pack at the most aggressive pricing we’ve seen in a very long while. Each case includes a detachable wrist strap and key ring.
Cons: No access to the iPod’s screen or controls while inside; cases don’t fully protect their one exposed iPod surface (bottom).
While we’ve had a lot to say about STM’s excellent Cocoon series of iPod travel cases, we’re not going to drone on about the Australian bag company’s Holsters for iPod nano (USD$15/AU$20) beyond to point out three key things: their price, their looks, and their feel. If you’re looking for a pouch-like nano holder, these would probably be our top pick for the dollar - assuming you can find them. You get two for the $15 price, one in charcoal, one in red, and each comes with two detachable items, discussed below.
We’ve always been impressed by the resilience of STM’s cases, and these Holsters are no exception: they’re made from a canvas-like polyester that’s stood up very well to extended testing, with a super-soft lining that won’t scratch your iPod nano. That it fits properly is not surprising given that it’s a pouch-style case with only one hole; its finish is superb, with sharp piping and stitching at its edges, STM’s embroidered logo on its face, and a sturdy, snap-closed semi-flap on its top. Its detachable strap and ring parts are also great.
Holster’s major failing, obviously, is in ease of use: you can’t see the iPod’s screen or use its Click Wheel while it’s inside. You’re supposed to insert nano upside down with its Hold switch at the case’s bottom, while the headphone and Dock Connector ports face upwards. If you can deal with this sort of design, which we’re generally not fond of, Holster’s no worse than similar cases.
Holster earns special feature points for three pack-ins: obvious are the detachable wrist strap, which is large and well made, and detachable key ring, which can be used to hold - yes - keys alongside the padded nano. But STM scores three more points for including an extra case in the reasonably priced package, which is also accounted for in value below, and its distinctive designs, which are unlike any other nano pouches we’ve seen.
As a pouch-style case, Holster scores quite well on protectiveness, shielding almost all of the nano from harm. It exposes only one surface of the nano - its bottom - and loses a second point only because its body is medium-grade fabric rather than something harder and more durable. For what it is, it protects well.
This is the category where Holster really shines. Priced at under $20 in Australian dollars, STM designed these two cases together to sell for $15 in the United States. As many companies sell (with some discomfort on our part) one pouch-style case for more than this, Holster’s a truly great deal - the best value we’ve ever seen for people who are interested in stylish pouch-like holders for their nanos. The only problem is that we haven’t seen them for sale yet in the United States, but they’re available overseas, and surely worthwhile wherever they are. Will someone (Radtech?) bring them to the US at an equally reasonable price?
We don’t typically offer our high recommendation to cases that don’t permit full visual access to an iPod’s screen and controls, but we’re willing to make an exception where the pricing is as aggressive as STM’s. Though improvements could make this case more usable, without them, this is how pouch-style cases should be priced and packaged. Great work, STM.
A Note From the Editors of iLounge: Though all products and services reviewed by iLounge are "final," many companies now make changes to their offerings after publication of our reviews, which may or may not be reflected above. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.