Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic


As much as we like the sound quality, capacity, and battery life of the iPod classic, its iPod 5G-like body style has made it pretty predictable as far as cases are concerned, with the latest releases strongly resembling the ones we’ve seen for the past two-plus years. Today, we briefly look at four new iPod classic case releases: Incase’s Leather Sleeve ($30) and Neoprene Sleeve ($30), Marware’s SportGrip ($15), and Noreve’s Tradition Leather Case ($40). All four are much like identically named products for other iPod models, and though none is a breakthrough, SportGrip continues to impress in build quality and protectiveness for the dollar.

Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic

With strong similarities to the company’s same-named products for the third-generation iPod nano and iPod touch, Incase’s new Leather Sleeve and Neoprene Sleeve for iPod classic are also very similar to one another, except for small differences in materials. Both cases cover the entire classic except for its Click Wheel, Dock Connector port, and two top corners; they each include integrated clear plastic screen protectors with only slight prismatic distortion, and use a combination of a semi-hard face shield and fully hard, non-detachable belt clip with considerably softer sides and backs.


Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic

The differences are these. Leather Sleeve is almost entirely made from contrast-stitched black leather, which covers the face, integrated rear belt clip and everything else save thin strips of classic’s sides, which have stripes of neoprene that expand or contract for 80GB and 160GB iPod classic models. By comparison, Neoprene Sleeve replaces most of the leather with stitched black or pink plastic, with even more color-matched neoprene on the sides for the same expansion effect. Leather Sleeve leaves a little more space for the iPod’s Dock Connector, but you can stretch the hole on Neoprene Sleeve to become roughly the same size if necessary, and both can be used inside of Adapter-less Universal iPod Docks. The cases are otherwise identical; they both seal shut at the top with Velcro tabs.


Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic

It’s worth pointing out that while both of these cases are a little nicer-looking than Incase’s prior-generation Neoprene Sleeve for iPod 5G, they’re not as protective or as numerous in color. Though slightly saggier, the prior Neoprene Sleeve managed to cover more of the iPod’s top and its entire Click Wheel, and it sold for $5 less than today’s version. While we prefer the current Sleeves’ looks, the prior ones were a better deal for the dollar.


Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic

Review: Incase Leather and Neoprene Sleeves for iPod classic

In our view, Leather Sleeve is a modestly better value than today’s Neoprene Sleeve given that they’re the same price, based on Leather Sleeve’s superior materials and slightly classier looks. Inside, it features the company’s topographic map-etched velvet, rather than the simple neoprene of the other model, a touch that suggests that it was made to be the pricier case of the pair. But as with the other Incase Sleeves, if you’re hungering for a pink version, your only choice is the Neoprene Sleeve, which isn’t less impressive enough to deter anyone from a purchase. Neither case is as ideally protective as we’d prefer, but they’re both nice designs, and very easy to use with the classic.

Table of Contents

Our Rating


Leather Sleeve


Neoprene Sleeve

Company and Price

Company: Incase


Model: Leather Sleeve, Neoprene Sleeve

Price: $30

Compatible: iPod classic

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Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.