Leather iPod and iPhone cases fall into three major categories these days: “play-through” designs that let you see the device’s screen, “flip-style” designs that inconveniently cover the screen and controls with a flap that needs to be opened every time you want to use them, and “sleeves,” which are little more than gloves that require you to slide the entire device in and out to use it. Today, we’re briefly reviewing 17 new cases for the iPod nano 4G, iPod classic, iPod touch 2G, and iPhone 3G from eight different companies. Two are different versions of Speck’s SwitchWay for iPhone 3G ($35), reviewed separately, while the third is a play-through case called TechStyle Classic for iPod classic ($30).
As a sequel to TechStyle Classic for iPod, a sort of odd case we looked at last year, the new TechStyle Classic tries to improve on a formula that seemed a bit disjointed before. You get a case that covers the classic’s entire face with leather, save for the Click Wheel and screen, wrapping the same leather around the sides and back, with minimal protection on the top and bottom. The screen gets a clear plastic cover, but the Click Wheel is left exposed, unlike the predecessor version that surprised us by having an integrated leather Click Wheel cover.
Previously, TechStyle Classic felt like a case that was trying to do too much. Sold in brown or black, it shipped with interior plaid coloration and included a super bulky belt clip holster with a ratcheting clip, and a plaid sizer pad that was necessary to use the case with the thinner 30GB iPod. Now, a couple of generations later, the holster is entirely gone, and the plaid on both the pad and case interior has been replaced with a baby blue microsuede version.
The good news is that we prefer the new version of the case to the extent that it’s less busy visually, but its slightly lowered price isn’t offset by the pack-in and front protection steps down it has taken. Additionally, the screen cover on our initial review unit arrived pre-scuffed, and though Speck sent another, the second was poorly tailored and had an oddly angled piece of stitched leather that cut off the top of the screen. This is an okay case for the iPod classic; it could easily have rated higher with better protection and attention to manufacturing quality details.
Company and Price
Company: Speck Products
Model: TechStyle Classic
Compatible: iPod classic