Review: DC Shoes | Incase Sleeve

Pros: Nice external look that matches popular DC Shoes gear, great resilient fabric.

Cons: No screen or control access, some protectiveness issues given target audience for the product.

Review: DC Shoes | Incase Sleeve

From functional cases to fashionable ones, the iPod mini hasn’t lacked for clothes since the day of its birth. Now it’s beginning to develop a wider palette of styles.

A fashion statement is the almost inevitable consequence of team-ups between clothiers and iPod case makers, and the new DC Shoes / Incase Sleeve for iPod mini is unquestionably distinctive. Made from resilient nylon, the “Snow Camo” white and gray camouflage case is aimed squarely at the “street fashion” of younger skate- and snowboarders, and intended to accessorize with DC and Incase’s new camouflage backpack, plus DC shoes and snowboard boots. The case’s strong orange interior is almost entirely masked by the iPod mini placed inside.

We liked the case’s look and general feel, including the texture and resilience of what appears to be ballistic nylon fabric, the slick (if scratchable) DC / Incase plastic-and-metal logo, and the simple rear integrated belt clip.

As advertised, Incase’s slightly softer non-scratch lining left our test iPod mini unharmed.

The case’s design was another matter. Actually fitting the iPod mini into the case the first ten times was a bit tricky, as the fabric’s been sewn pretty tight, and when it’s in there, it’s pretty snug. More significantly, the case leaves exposed the top and bottom sides of the mini, plus the entire top surface and a millimeter or two of the top front and back casing. And as you can easily tell from the photos, you can’t access the iPod’s controls or see its screen while encased.

You might also note that the Dock Connector port on the iPod’s bottom is entirely closed off, as well.

Review: DC Shoes | Incase Sleeve

Review: DC Shoes | Incase Sleeve

Overall, the DC / Incase Sleeve looks good and isn’t inordinately expensive at $24.99. But whether it’s right for your personal needs will depend a lot on how you use your iPod, and whether the “white camo” look matches your fashion sense. For typical daily use with a playlist, the Sleeve does fine, though most people would want to use a remote control to take maximum advantage of your iPod’s capabilities once it’s inside. However, if you’re a fan of extreme sports, the Sleeve’s exposed sides and top may cause additional concern. While it does a good job of padding the iPod’s face, rear, and bottom, there’s no guarantee your iPod mini won’t scuff its top if you hit the ground.