Only three months after the iPod touch’s release, there are lots of fabric and leather case options out there, so we’re moving through another collection of nine options today to help you acquaint yourself with the great, good, and nothing special offerings. Four of the nine cases also come in highly similar versions for other iPod models, which we detail briefly alongside them. This review is for the DLO HipCase Nylon Case for iPod touch.
All of the leather cases we reviewed today had something in common: as little as some of them may have been tailored to the iPod touch, none of them required you to actually remove the iPod to use it. By comparison, the Fabrix Cases for iPod nano 3G, iPod touch, and iPhone ($20 each) and DLO’s HipCase Nylon Case for iPod touch ($30) are what we consider to be maximally inconvenient cases: they transform your multimedia iPod or iPhone into little more than a music player unless you take them off.
DLO’s HipCase is a nylon holster in the same shape as the company’s earlier iPhone HipCase, and designed to keep your iPod touch at your side under a Velcro-sealed tab for complete removal when you need to use it. A non-detachable belt clip is built into the back. Like the Fabrix cases, you can plug headphones into the iPod’s bottom-mounted port if you insert it properly inside, and removing the iPod won’t force removal of the headphones.
It goes without saying that at this point in time there are thousands of iPod cases out there, several dozen for the iPod touch, and plenty for other models, as well; their average selling price is in the $25 range, and at such a price, it’s not only easy to find a case with good protection and easy access to both the screen and controls, it’s common. It’s also almost vital. A recent iLounge reader survey suggests that most of our readers now use their iPods at least part time for video playback, which is completely precluded in fully or largely sealed cases like these. Put another way, buy one of these cases and you’re guaranteed inconvenience.
The HipCase design struck us as somewhat lazy and uninspired for the iPhone—a nothing special, sunglass case-styled design carried over from the cell phone world to the iPhone out of convenience rather than quality or value. What saved its rating was the look of its leather exterior, which offered class comparable to the iPhone—we could see how some people might accept the design on looks alone.
But the iPod touch version is a little different: it’s only available in a cheaper-looking nylon, like the weakest of the three versions for the iPhone, and there’s no “it’s familiar to cell phone users” justification to bring this case to the thinner, even more screen-dependent iPod touch. Unlike the iPhone, which ships with a limited in-line remote control and has external volume controls, the iPod touch sacrifices all functionality when it’s inside HipCase; even if a remote control was released, it couldn’t be plugged in with this case. This is a holster for the imaginary iPod touch buyer who got sucked into the $299-399 model not for its video functionality, but for its music features, and consequently not something we’d recommend generally to our readers.
Whether it’s $20 for the Fabrix cases or $30 for the nylon HipCase, we’d expect more and better for the prices from these companies; thankfully, at least in DLO’s case, there are lots of other case offerings to choose from that do better for the dollar. These aren’t bad cases, but they’re easily forgotten.
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: HipCase Nylon Case
Compatible: iPod touch