Pros: A simple PDA-style case for the 5G iPod, made from good quality, soft black leather at a reasonable price. Includes belt clip.
Cons: Corners of iPod are all exposed even when case is closed, belt clip is non-detachable, PDA-style design is increasingly less than convenient for fifth-generation (video-enabled) iPods.
Right before Apple discontinued the fourth-generation iPod, DLO released a collection of PDA-style leather cases (Relaxed Leather Cases, iLounge rating: B) that were distinctive for one reason – the leather was “distressed.” Now the company has released its first standard 5G case, PodFolio ($30), a very similar black leather case without the distressed look. It’s the second case of this sort to appear for the 5G; Belkin’s Flip Case (iLounge rating: B) was first.
PodFolio is sold in a single size that fits both 30GB and 60GB fifth-generation iPods, and features all the hallmarks of a standard PDA case: a front leather flap that opens from the bottom to top, an open inside leather face that reveals the iPod’s screen and Click Wheel without plastic protection, and leather coverage for most of the rest of the iPod’s body. Elastic in the sides lets the case expand to fit thicker iPods; a flat, non-detachable belt clip is on the back.
Though we’re not fans of PDA cases – a fact we re-emphasize given the arguable wisdom of covering the 5G iPod’s video screen – the key things we look for are build and leather quality, protectivity, and reasonable pricing. PodFolio is good, not stellar, on all counts. The case has the look of a professionally mass-manufactured product, with good quality leather that’s soft to the touch, padded in the front, and without rough edges. DLO’s belt clip is a single piece of bent metal, covered in matching leather, looking and feeling good. A magnet at the flap’s bottom holds the case closed, and can be seen a bit through the interior leather front.
Unfortunately, it’s not the most protective design we’ve ever seen, exposing all of the 5G’s side corners and its Dock Connector port. It’s surprising to see these parts open, because the company was so aggressive about protecting the iPod’s top – there is a very thin hole to connect your headphones, custom fit to let you use Apple’s pack-in earbuds without an issue, and flexing the leather to accommodate bigger headphone plugs. There’s no hole for the Hold switch – DLO wisely covers this, and lets you access it by opening the case’s top.
The major selling point here is the $30 price, which because of the good leather quality won’t deter anyone who likes the design. In our view, it’s cheaper than the Relaxed Leather Cases – priced closer to where they should have been – but also less attractive overall, highly similar in flaws and benefits to the Belkin Flip Case. That adds up to our flat B rating, and standard recommendation – this is a good case, well made, but nothing especially innovative.
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: DLO PodFolio for iPod 5G
Compatible: iPod 5G (with video)