Review: Willow Design BiFold Case
Pros: It keeps iPod safe. Attachable pouch for headphones. Full-access functionality.
Cons: An abundance of snaps. A lack of style. Protective vinyl appears hand cut.
Early in the development phase of the what would later be known as the BiFold case, Willow Design sought the help of iPod users to give feedback to create the case everybody wanted. The BiFold case was unqiue, because it didn’t look or function like many of its competitor’s cases.
I’ll be taking a look at how different the case is and how it stands up to the standards I’ve come to expect in a well-made case. Though, after having seen the BiFold case for the first time, I wondered, “How am I supposed to use this?”
Securing the iPod
The first test I normally subject a case to is the ease of use in which to secure the iPod into the case. This case uses snap buttons, which makes for a somewhat difficult time securing the iPod if in a rush. The iPod slips in through the top of the case, and the top cover flap is secured with snaps. One must push on the case (and therefore on the iPod) to secure these two snaps. This was far too difficult and made me worry that I might be damaging my iPod.
Once the iPod was in the case, there were three more snaps to secure the front flap. After several attempts, I was reluctant to put my iPod back in this case. Some readers have expressed a fear of damaging their iPod when securing snaps (however, not on this specific case) and I shared their same fears. Once the iPod was in the case, the fit was perfect. The inside was soft and the iPod was able to slide in smoothly for a secure, but not too snug fit. The slightly larger 20GB iPod fits as well (albeit a tighter fit).
The stitching on the case seemed to be high quality as there were no loose or stray stitches. After a close inspection of the interior of the case, there was no excess glue or rough edges to be found. Once all of the snaps are secured, this case provides a decent protection.
I was dismayed at the hand cut appearance of the protective clear vinyl that surrounds the LCD display and scroll wheel. The holes appeared to be cut with an X-Acto knife. Another observation was the hole cut into the clear vinyl around the LCD display. Why would you want to cut a hole into the clear vinyl for the LCD display? It didn’t make sense to me. It’s better to leave the clear vinyl over the display to protect against scratches.
The belt clip on the back of the case seemed quite sturdy when tested. I felt safe running around with my iPod in my belt. It never felt as if it would slip off or break off. This was one of the finer points of the case.
At the top of the case is a snap-close cover flap giving access to the Hold switch, FireWire and audio ports. The one side can be un-snapped for access to the Hold switch.
There were two Velcro attachments on the bottom side of the case which allowed a small zipper pouch to be connected. This is an excellent way to store the headphones, although I was frequently checking to make sure that the pouch had not detached from the case. If the small pouch were sewn on, or secured in a more trustworthy fashion, I would have felt safer leaving my headphones in it during the times when my iPod was not in use.
Included on the inside of the cover flap is a card holder for I.D., business cards, etc. Although I have never had the use for this feature, I am sure that there are others who would utilize it. Willow Design gets bonus points for turning this space into something useful as opposed to leaving it bare.
Willow Design also has available an optional armband holder and a pouch for carrying the FireWire cable and power adapter. At the time of this review the Willow Design’s website did not have pricing for the armband or pouch posted. Email them for more info.
While there were several upsides to this case, it does not rate too highly in relation to other cases that I have used. If I weren’t before, I am now very opposed to using so many snaps on anything that will be touching my iPod. While the snaps themselves might not come in contact with iPod, the pressure needed to secure them makes me wonder if I’m doing any damage, and I shouldn’t need to worry about that when securing my iPod in a case.
The iPod is also about style, something that this case lacks. Though the ideas and concepts that went into the BiFold case are unqiue and different, I believe Willow Design could have done a better job at designing a more appealing case overall.