Pros: Two-piece design we’ve seen and liked before, good colors and overall protection when used fully assembled.
Cons: Leather is good but not spectacular, hard reinforcement and/or padding could have been a bit better, magnets protrude a bit too visibly.
PDA case vendor Sena’s new cases are an interesting leather evolution of the two-piece Convertible case design we liked from Marware. Adding little bulk to the iPod mini’s body, the first piece of the Sena cases covers most of the front, back, bottom and sides of the mini, leaving only the screen, Click Wheel, top and finger-grip sized holes on the sides exposed. There’s no padding in the case, and only modest hard reinforcement for the front and back pieces.
A smaller than normal Dock Connector hole at the bottom may pose a small challenge to use with other than official Apple parts, but is fine for typical users’ needs.
Sena’s second leather part, called a Flip Cover, attaches to the inside top back flap of the first piece with a strip of Velcro. The Flip Cover is nothing but a reinforced semi-hard leather panel with a top hole for the headphone jack and two small interior magnets that attach to similar magnets in the front of the case. Though they protrude a bit from the case surfaces, the magnets do work quite well to keep the case closed, and both a small embossed Sena logo and a thin sheet of padding give the cover a little extra front-side refinement.
Together, the two pieces provide almost complete iPod mini protection, with the side benefit of being separable whenever you desire. It’s a smart design, if somewhat familiar.
On one hand, Sena’s web site doesn’t do justice to the cases: they certainly look better in person, primarily because their colors are actually more subtle, traditional matches for existing womens’ fashion accessories. (The “red” case for example is actually apple red, while the “yellow” case is actually closer to mustard – the color, not the condiment).