Upon first glance, opening Sena’s new MagnetFlipper case ($40-50) brought to mind the interior of a new Porsche or Maserati – perhaps any high-end sports car. Some people drool over the high speed and horsepower, but there’s a lot to be said for their interiors, especially the rich, aromatic leathers, which typically range from vibrant orange to rich tan. While MagnetFlipper doesn’t quite match the performance of a high-end sports car, its vibrant leather colors and styles – sixteen in all – will be enough to turn your head.
Sena is known for its wide variety of phone and PDA cases, and has produced flip-style iPod cases for quite some time. Back in 2004, we reviewed and liked its Detachable Flip Cover Case, which let you snap on or off a front shield matched to the colored, iPod-contoured case body. Now the company has released another unique design for the second-generation nano, most interesting because of its integrated magnetic flap. Rather than covering the entire nano face, MagnetFlipper’s front flap closes to conceal only the Dock Connector and Click Wheel. The screen is protected at all times by a clear sheet of plastic, which disappointingly has a significant amount of prismatic distortion relative to other screen protectors we’ve seen. Because of the combination of the wavy screen protector and part-time Click Wheel coverage, MagnetFlipper looks and feels sort of like a flip cell phone case, with a similarly small level of inconvenience.
The level of protection that MagnetFlipper provided to the nano was only a little above average. On a positive note, it covers the majority of the nano’s face, back, sides, top, and bottom when closed, all with nice padded Nappa leather that’s better than what we see in lower-end iPod cases, but still easily able to show scratches. Unfortunately, MagnetFlipper leaves all four corners exposed – always on the sides, and sometimes on other surfaces as well, an omission that we wish had been remedied by the designers at Sena. Like the headphone port, the Hold switch is left fully unprotected.
From an accessory compatibility standpoint, MagnetFlipper is close to great. We were pleased to find that it could accommodate larger accessories such as large headphone plugs and oversized Dock Connectors. However, it doesn’t include any major frills, such as a belt clip or lanyard; Sena does include one of its standard red drawstring bags in the package, which you may or may not want to carry around alongside the case.
Sena’s strength isn’t in comprehensive protection; rather, it excels in creating a luxurious feeling and looking design. Besides offering the MagnetFlipper in a standard $40 leather version with twelve different color options, there’s also an upgraded crocodile case in four colors for $50. In our view, after really weighing the overall package offered here, we felt that the standard version’s $40 asking price is fair but not aggressive given what you get; added protection would have made this a more decisive winner, but the array of colors makes MagnetFlipper stand out. As-is, this is a good leather case with fashion appeal and a unique flap design that will work better for some users than others.
Company and Price
Company: Sena Cases
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)