We’ve probably received more leather iPod cases in the past two months than in the past two years, so in an effort to cover as many as possible, we’re writing only brief reviews today for all but the most interesting ones. This is our review of Speck’s TechStyle-Classic for iPod nano 3G ($20).
Somewhat confusingly named, especially in light of the release of the iPod classic, the TechStyle-Classic series began with a fifth-generation iPod case and holster set that mixed leather exteriors with beige Burberry-style plaid fabric interiors, and has now continued into iPod nano and iPhone versions. The iPhone version continues all of the fifth-generation iPod case’s design traditions, while the iPod nano version dispenses entirely with the plaid and holster parts in favor of a stripped-down, cheaper design.
TechStyle-Classic for iPod nano is, in essence, a slightly shabbier but more protective version of Incase’s Leather Sleeve for iPod nano. Black leather covers almost all of the nano’s body, interestingly including the Click Wheel—rare in leather case designs—while a clear screen protector is integrated, and Incase’s non-detachable rear belt clip is left out. Lacking any belt clip or holster, this edition of TechStyle-Classic is designed to be tossed into a pocket rather than worn.
The Speck and Incase designs are highly similar, but not identical. Speck has a tab of leather covering the nano’s top left side, and a full-time, full cover for the Dock Connector, while Incase places its top tab of leather at the center, and uses a thin Velcro tab to partially cover the Dock Connector or open for use of accessories. Incase’s high-contrast stitching is nicer, and unlike Speck’s, doesn’t dangle shag into the iPod nano’s screen—this build quality issue is the only reason Speck’s offering rates lower than Incase’s.
Where Speck trumps Incase is in face protection and pricing. You’ll pay $10 less for the Speck case and get that integrated Click Wheel cover, which works great as a protector but requires a little extra pressure to actually use the nano’s controls. A $10 price difference is nothing to sneeze at, and would normally tilt the equation in Speck’s favor, but we really don’t like rough edges around any iPod’s screen, especially a video-capable one, and Incase’s superior accessory compatibility is also a major selling point. With TechStyle-Classic, you’ll need to pull the nano out for charging, speaker docks, and anything except headphone connection, which thankfully is uninhibited. Slight inconveniences aside, though, this is a good case, and because of its protection, it’s also one we’d sooner pocket than the pricier Incase offering.
Company and Price
Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPod nano (video)