We’ve probably received more leather iPod cases in the past two months than in the past 2 years, so in an effort to cover as many as possible, we’re writing only brief reviews today for all but the most interesting ones. This is our review of Griffin Technology’s Elan Convertible cases for the third-generation iPod nano and iPod classic ($25 each).
Each of the Elan Convertibles is a soft leather case with a flip-shut front lid. Unusually, the lids don’t seal closed on the cases’ fronts; rather, they can be removed entirely, or turned around to serve as simple, if not particularly stable or adjustable video viewing stands. They also come with removable money clip-style belt clips, which can be placed in two positions on the black leather only iPod classic version, or in one position (vertical) on the black or silver iPod nano version.
What saves the Elan Convertibles from utter mediocrity is Griffin’s decision to make their lids detachable: unlike 95% of flip-style cases we review and dislike, these give you the opportunity to keep the lid on or off based on how you’re using the iPod frequently, or on a given day. The belt clip feature’s also nice, and because of the money clip-style design, lets the cases stay slim no matter whether they’re with or without clip at a given point. You get to choose how much protection, thickness, and convenience you want: the only issue is that removing the lid strips off the iPod’s top and Click Wheel protection entirely.
The main problem with the Convertibles is that their lids aren’t very good. They don’t have magnets or another mechanism to hold closed, and though the nano version does a passable job of holding that iPod upright when it’s being used as a video stand, the classic lid doesn’t. Griffin also hasn’t used especially impressive leather; the Silver version is more interesting than actually good-looking, while the black one’s unremarkable. We rate each of these cases a flat B based on versatility rather than anything else; they’re better as the sum of their pieces than viewed without one or two of them.
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Model: Elan Convertible
Compatible: iPod classic, nano (video)