Pros: Clear cases with standard colors show off iPod well, more than satisfactory protection for the iPod.
Cons: Funky designs will only appeal to niche audiences, fabric runs strong risk of being damaged inside pockets, might not want to wear mounted on belt.
There may be no accounting for taste, and we’re always hesitant to knock a person’s fashion statement as ridiculous, but at some point even we’re willing to say enough’s enough. Case Closed’s iPod cases come precariously close to that fine edge. We received three different cases, one called the “Clarence” in “Black and White Checkerboard” color, one called “Sheldon” in “Funky Flowers” color, and one called “Sheldon” in “Miami Geo” color. To the one, these cases are targeted at a market we would love to call “the un-hip,” except that there’s always a segment of “uber-hip” people who revel in embracing the bizarre. And these cases are bizarre. And, well, admittedly unique.
The two Sheldon cases share a common iPod-covering design that we actually liked a lot. They use enough sculpted fabric and padding to really cover the key parts of the iPods they contain, with quality elastic bands holding the cases together at the bottoms and sides. Each Sheldon uses transparent plastic to protect the iPod’s screen, which doesn’t exactly fit snug but still serves its protective purpose well. An inexpensive plastic nub on the back attaches to a decent black plastic belt clip. The top and bottom ports are easy to access, and the iPods slip in easily at the cases’ tops. Despite the garish patterns of the cases we were sent, Case Closed does offer less distracting versions of the Sheldon in colors such as blue, pink and silver, and we wouldn’t necessarily have a problem recommending them to certain users.
Intended only for thinner 3G iPods, the Clarence case uses a fabric back with a transparent vinyl front and side shell. Again, we were sent the most visually aggressive version, but Case Closed’s offerings include blue and pink color alternatives, and unlike the Sheldons, Clarence cases allow the iPod to largely obscure the case’s back rather than put the fabric on display. The vinyl shell protects iPods only adequately, leaving quite a bit of the face (save the screen) exposed to the elements, but does provide a highly transparent avenue to show off your iPod. We were able to squeeze a 30GB iPod in when we tried, though it was definitely a small struggle to get it out afterwards.
Without mincing words, the Case Closed cases made a poor first impression with us – primarily because the recipients were in their late twenties and early thirties. Fabric cases are a tough sell, not only because of the damage potential of the material, but also because of the style. Fashion-conscious female viewers thought they were a bit tacky and the men could think of ten cases they’d sooner select.
But if we were thinking of cases to buy our moms, we certainly wouldn’t rule these out, primarily because we don’t think the cases would be subjected to the pocket abuse or peer scrutiny we might put them through. Sparkles and flowery fabric might not sit well with guys, but there’s definitely an audience for such products, even if we’re not it. All in all, putting the sample patterns we received aside, the Sheldon and Clarence are still somewhat esoteric cases and priced a bit high for what they are, but they’re not terrible designs by any means.
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.
Company and Price
Company: Cased Closed Bags
Price: $24.95, $19.95, respectively
Compatible: iPod 3G