We’ve probably received more leather iPod cases in the past two months than in the past two 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 Form cases for the iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPhone ($30).
The first time we saw cases made from snap-together hard plastic shells with leather on the outside was Incipio’s earlier Executive OVRMLD for iPhone, which came in six leather colors, each with nice stitching, a belt clip, and a non-detachable belt clip nub. Screen protection and top protection were missing in action, but for a totally new case design, OVRMLD did a pretty good job out of the gate.
Elan Form is OVRMLD in one color scheme – black stitching on black leather—without the belt clip or nub, and with screen protection. While there are differences between the models, they’re not huge: each comes with separate front and back plastic shells, and Elan Form for the iPod classic includes two rear shells, one each for the 80GB and 160GB thicknesses of that model.
The iPod nano and classic versions have hard clear protectors built in, while the iPhone version includes screen-only film and a cleaning cloth. All three cases leave some controls exposed: the iPod nano and classic versions have no Click Wheel protectors, and leave their bottoms totally open; the classic and iPhone versions both have top holes, classic’s better than iPhone’s. All three work with any bottom-connecting accessory you can think of, and the iPhone version doesn’t inhibit use of the bottom speaker, microphone, side controls, or camera. The nano version’s the most protective of the bunch, as it’s the only one with a completely closed top.
Editor reactions to the Elan Form cases were mixed. Our female editor declared quickly that she didn’t like the way that the cases felt—they weren’t soft and leathery enough for her tastes—but for what these cases are, they’re roughly as nice as Incipio’s earlier product. We preferred Incipio’s wider variety of color choices, white-on-black stitching color, and included belt clip option for the same price as Elan Form, but Griffin’s completely flat back, more accessory-friendly bottom design, and included screen protector are all major selling points, too.
The only place where Elan Form lost its edge in our book was on pricing. Griffin’s one price per case design, size regardless policy doesn’t make a lot of sense to us for the smaller, cheaper iPod nano, and we aren’t as enthusiastic about that version for $30 relative to its many more reasonably priced competitors—including ones that are made entirely from leather rather than just a thin and potentially objectionable layer. We consider Elan Form for iPhone a step above OVRMLD overall, think the iPod classic version’s deserving of the same rating, and call the iPod nano iteration a step behind on value.
iPod classic, iPhone
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Model: Elan Form
Compatible: iPod classic, nano (video), iPhone