Pros: Quality black leather flip-open cases for the fifth-generation iPod, each of which protects all of iPod except corners and portions of top and bottom when closed. Both cases include a detachable (non-matching) microfiber ID card holder and a microfiber carrying bag. Flip also includes quality detachable belt clip.
Cons: Both cases are more expensive than competing options of comparable quality and protectiveness; exposure of 5G’s corners, tops, and bottoms remains unnecessary for these types of cases. Flip-closed design remans less than optimal for use of 5G iPod’s video screen.
Hit and miss would be the only way we could describe iPodstreet’s lineup of leather cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano – we’ve seen some good ones and some okay and bad ones in each pile. The company’s new 5G Bifold Leather Encased case ($40) is generally amongst the good ones, similar to the same-named offering for iPod nano (iLounge rating: B), while the 5G Flip Leather Case ($40) is a new offering.
Both cases start off the same way: they’re wallet-style cases made from soft black leather, each with soft black fabric interior linings and flip-closed lids that protect a 5G iPod’s face while closed. In each design, the iPod fits in a holder inside that uses a clear plastic screen protector, and has a hole for the Click Wheel that’s sized and aligned properly. They each come with inexpensive microfiber carrying bags of their own that can be used for added protection, as well as matching detachable microfiber and clear plastic ID card holders. If inserted, the ID card holder dangles in the center between the iPod and the flip-closed lid. It doesn’t match either case’s leather texture, but works on color, and makes the cases a little more useful.
From there, the cases differ. Bifold opens like a wallet from left to right, holding a fifth-generation iPod on its right side and two sets of cards (business, credit, or otherwise) on its left. There’s also a pocket behind the card sleeves which can hold cash, additional cards, or the edge of the ID card holder. A leather tab on the case’s right side and a rear-mounted leather loop hold the case closed when necessary. When closed, Bifold still exposes both of the iPod’s bottom corners and Dock Connector, as well as its entire top and upper right side.
By comparison, Flip Leather opens like a PDA case from bottom to top, holding the iPod on its bottom half, with Bifold-like card compartments on its top flap. A magnetic latch hangs off of a leather tab on the case’s bottom, attaching to a metal circle on Flip’s front to hold everything closed. In this state, it exposes less of the iPod than Bifold: all four of its corners, but not the iPod’s top (save the headphone port) or Dock Connector port, which are both covered. Also unlike Bifold, which has a flat, belt clip-less back surface, Flip includes a metal screw-style detachable belt clip nub and black plastic spring-loaded belt clip, plus alternate solutions – slits in the leather to pass a belt through, and a tiny leather loop at the top for a wrist strap, which isn’t included.
On a positive note, both Bifold and Flip Leather look and feel well-made, with puffed fronts and backs, precise stitching, and quality parts – a pleasant contrast with iPodstreet’s low-quality Leather Cases with Detachable Wrist Straps, and good enough products overall to compete with the big boys on looks. But both of the cases have the same general issues – like some other cases we’ve reviewed, their flip-closed fronts make them far less than ideal for using the video functionality of 5G iPods, forcing you to flip the case open whenever you want to watch what’s on the screen. And because of their $40 price tags, they’re not as attractive as Belkin’s Flip Case (iLounge rating: B) or Marware’s CEO Classic (which we’re presently testing), both of which are at least equally well made and sell for even lower prices. We’d opt for either of these other options before either Bifold or Flip Leather, but both cases are still pretty good. If they were less expensive, they’d be worthy of more than our limited recommendation.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod 5G