When Apple released its Leather Cases for iPod and iPod nano nearly two years ago, the world would have yawned if the $99 price tag hadn’t been so outrageous; instead, iPod fans were angered at the appearance of a brazen cash grab. The design was nothing special — merely some nice black leather wrapped around hard shells in the general shapes of the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano — but one idea, a fabric loop that helped you eject each iPod from the enclosure, has inspired a few copycats.
JAVOedge is the latest such company, with its new JAVOLeather Case Pull Out series of sleeves for the iPod nano ($25), iPod classic ($28), and iPod touch ($30) offering the same general idea at much more reasonable prices. Each of the cases is made from modestly reinforced leather in your choice of red, pink, or black, and bundled with a lanyard that matches the fabric loop at the top: red has a red and blue loop, black has a black and gray loop, and pink has a rainbow loop. Again, pulling the loop helps you remove the iPod.
Our same general objection to the Apple case continues to apply here: the loop is all but necessary because you can’t use the iPod’s screen or controls while it’s stuffed inside. As inconvenient or dumb of an idea as it was to cover the screens of past iPods, this has only become more of an issue with the continued release of video-ready models, which in the absence of remote controls are not only useless for video viewing inside these cases, but impossible to adjust in volume or current track playback as well. It goes without saying that you can spend the same money on any number of cases with a superior combination of iPod access and protection. On the flip side, it’s worth briefly noting that these models don’t interfere at all with the iPods’ Click Wheel controls, an issue we noticed with the prior Apple designs.
JAVOedge’s two most notable improvements on Apple’s formula—the included lanyard and the lower prices—are offset by several cheapening touches. Putting aside the somewhat tacky lanyard colors, and the fact that the leather shows marks more easily than Apple’s, you’ll notice that each of the cases has holes cut out of its bottom, presumably to provide headphone port access for the bottom-mounted ports on nano and touch. But they’re cut on both sides of the bottom, and even present on the iPod classic version of the case, which has nothing down there but metal to expose. Then there’s the lack of the Apple and iPod logos, which have been replaced by a small metal JAVOedge logo plate, and the silver D-ring on the back. All in all, the design just doesn’t look as nice as Apple’s—it’s a cheap knockoff.
Our overall impression of the JAVOLeather Case Pull Outs is that they’re slightly above passable. We wouldn’t use them with our own iPods, and wouldn’t seriously recommend them to most of our readers. That said, they rate a hint higher than Apple’s now-discontinued cases only because they aren’t as ridiculously priced, and offer more color options; had they been equally good-looking and protective, they might have rated a bit higher.
Company and Price
Model: JAVOLeather Case Pull Out
Compatible: iPod nano (video), classic, touch