Having previously looked at the first collection of cases for the third-generation iPod nano (with video), today we’re covering 11 additional options with brief capsule reviews. Five new cases – four leather, one metal – are from a company called PDair, one is leather from Noreve, one is neoprene from Marware, and four alternate between leather, neoprene, and rubber from Incase. Not surprisingly, there are a number of similarities between certain groups of these cases, so we’re bundlng the like cases together for comparison, and looking at the other ones individually.
Two of the leather cases, PDair’s Flip Type Leather Case ($25) and Noreve’s Tradition Leather Case ($40), are based on the same general idea: cover the new iPod nano in leather, using a bottom-opening flap to cover its face, Dock Connector, and Hold switch part time. Both cases use magnetic clasps to hold the flaps closed, and though they offer similar levels of protection—each one exposes nano’s headphone port and corners, nothing else— they vary considerably in execution: Flip Type uses 6 colors of padded but still inexpensive-feeling leather to look a hint classier than its Sleeve Type brothers, while Tradition uses considerably better leather, either glossy or in suede (Passion Vintage shown here) with 15 different color choices.
The companies’ pricing reflects the differences in leather, as well as the differences in design: Noreve’s solution is cleaner inside and out, with handsome stitching, a subtle black fabric interior, hidden magnets, and an iPod nano holder that doesn’t cover the screen or Click Wheel because it doesn’t need to—the flap’s there. If anything’s wrong with Tradition, it’s that the nano is a little difficult to remove from the case thanks to the almost complete leather top cover it has. By comparison, PDair’s stitching is a little uneven, with a cheaper-looking all leather interior, a large tab for its magnet clasp, and a nano holder that’s basically the same as the company’s Sleeve Type cases, complete with unnecessary screen coverage. The nano’s easier to remove, because the large magnet-laden tap covers a hole in the leather top surface, and the hole lets you push the nano out rather than putting pressure on its face or screen as is necessary with the Tradition design.
Noreve and PDair also use different belt clips: Noreve includes a nice metal ratcheting nub and plastic clip, attached with a screwdriver, while PDair’s nub uses a plastic screw and the clip hangs loosely, enabling the nano to hang only rightside up, with its headphone plug facing down, from your belt. Open each case and the nano turns upside down for easier screen and control access.
We’re not big fans of flip-style cases for any video-ready iPod, as front flaps add just one more inconvenience to accessing the iPods’ increasingly necessary screens and controls, but if you like this sort of design, these are both good, rather than great options for their respective prices. We consider Noreve’s Tradition the superior option of the two: it’s a very nice case if you’re looking for class and willing to pay a little more for it. PDair’s isn’t quite as special, but will do just fine if you’re more budget-conscious and don’t mind small design touches that show it.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod nano (video)