Review: Incase Designs Sleeve


Pros: Simple, functional, rock solid design.

Review: Incase Designs Sleeve

Cons: Minor issues of alignment and exposed areas of iPod.

Impressive. One word that comes to mind when describing the new iPod cases by Incase Designs. With so many iPod cases on the market, especially those made of leather, it’s not easy deciding on which case to purchase. Well, it just got harder. Recently, Incase Designs introduced two new iPod cases using high quality leather and distinctive styling. I’ll be reviewing the Sleeve for iPod and see how it stands up against the crowded field of iPod cases.

Fit and Finish

The iPod 5GB is the only model which will fit in the Sleeve for iPod. Incase Designs will be releasing a new one-size-fits-all case during the holiday season. I inserted my iPod, and the fit was snug, but not so tight that it’s hard to remove. I noticed when pushing the iPod all-the-way into the case, the bottom of the Sleeve’s protective window wasn’t aligned with the iPods display. This presented some problems. The last line of characters on the iPod’s display was being clipped by the bottom of the Sleeve’s window. So I had to adjust it by pushing the iPod up a bit to realign the window with the display, but this also caused the scroll wheel access hole to be out of alignment. The top of the menu button was being clipped by the top of the access hole. You can see an example of this in the photos. Though not a big deal, a case of this quality should not have this problem.

The Sleeve’s leather and construction are outstanding. When I first inspected the case, I immediately noticed the heavy gauge thread used in its construction. The thick grey thread against the black leather is pleasing to the eye and makes the case all that more appealing. There was no excess glue or stray threads.

The back, leather panel is reinforced, most likely with a thin piece of ABS plastic or sturdy cardboard. The entire case feels strong and rigid and should out last your iPod and beyond.

The interior is lined in suede and soft enough so as not to scratch your iPod. There were some minor concerns that the heavy gauge stitching at the top, interior of the front panel (around the window) might scratch the Lucite faceplate when inserting or removing the iPod. I did not have any problems, but if you do, let me know about it.

Review: Incase Designs Sleeve

At the bottom corners of the case are two notched holes exposing the iPod. This same, notched design is also used at the top corners of the case, and the top is fully exposed as well. So all four corners and the top of your iPod are exposed. I know, I might be worried about nothing, but It takes only one drop on any corner and you’ll be cursing your case as you notice the scratches and/or piece of Lucite (clear plastic front panel on iPod) missing from the corner of your iPod.

Review: Incase Designs Sleeve


As with most sleeve type cases, the Sleeve for iPod is a full-access design allowing users to access all the iPod’s functions; scroll wheel, function buttons, “Hold” switch, audio and FireWire ports. This is a simple design allowing maximum access without the hassles of front lids, snaps, and/or Velcro – you get the idea.

The Sleeve uses thick leather throughout, and I noticed this most when pushing the function buttons. The thick edge of the scroll wheel access hole makes it a tad difficult when trying to push the buttons. It may be more noticeable for those with large fingers or thumbs, but I’ll take the thicker leather over this minor issue.

One of the most important features of a sleeve type case is the LCD display protection. The Sleeve protects the iPod’s LCD display by using a hard, clear plastic window as opposed to the widely used clear vinyl. At first, I was concerned that the plastic window could be scratched, but after testing the surface with my fingernail I was satisfied. There were no scratches, and the plastic should be fine with normal wear and tear.

Review: Incase Designs Sleeve

On the back panel of the Sleeve is a simple, leather clad, metal belt clip. It’s not as versatile as the Multidapt system (mutliple clip attachments for car, bike, arm, belt, etc.) found on other cases, but keeps the Sleeve’s design simple and functional.

Review: Incase Designs Sleeve


Overall, the Sleeve is a very impressive case in respects to its design, materials and construction. I’m sure this case will become popular for iPoders who want leather, solid design and functionality for only $20. Though I had some minor issues with the Sleeve case, it’s one of the best leather cases on the market.

Our Rating


Company and Price

Company: Incase Designs Corporation


Model: Sleeve for iPod

Price: $20.00

Compatible: iPod 1G, 2G


Dennis Lloyd

I'm a passionate, long-time lover of Apple products, and was a civil draftsman and graphic designer before creating the iLounge web site. My prior projects include work for The Los Angeles Times', and the company Creative Domain, where I developed websites for clients including Columbia Pictures, Disney, Fox Studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers. As the Publisher of iLounge, I direct the site's community forums, photo galleries, iPod User Group, and general business affairs, which have grown under my watch to over sixteen million page views every month. I'm happily married with one daughter, one dog (Rocket the Wonderdog), one cat (Ferris), many iPods, iPhones, iPads, and two turntables.