Pros: Highly attractive and reasonably priced fabric sleeve-style cases that do a superb job of protecting all of your iPod save its top. Solid metal belt clip.
Cons: Limited iPod control access when inside, no screen access, no top protection.
Since January’s Macworld Expo, we’ve been itching to review a set of iPod cases from new iPod accessory maker Sumo Cases – one-size-fits-all holsters that immediately caught our attention even though they were hidden in a small booth. To provide some context, we’re generally not huge fans of holster-style cases – ones that hold your iPod without permitting screen or control access – but of the ones we’ve seen, Sumo has some of the nicest designs around.
Today, there are two general shapes of Sumo Cases – one a standard Sumo, and the other a Sumo with Flap; this review is for the standard, flapless Sumo, which is sold in Quilted and Stripe versions. Both cases use a padded ballistic nylon pouch that covers every part of a full-sized iPod except the top when it’s open, typically with attractively stitched ballistic nylon as the exterior material. The versions shown here sell for $19.99, while other colors are available as described below for around $30. All of their interiors use a soft polyester-style fabric that won’t scratch your iPod, and there’s a non-detachable, very sturdy metal belt clip on the top of each case’s back. Sumo labels appear on the left on the standard cases, and Sumo logos are embossed on the belt clips.
Even as between the standard Sumo cases, there are some differences in coloration and stitching patterns. The $19.99 case is sold in Quilted black or gray and Stripe black or navy, while Sumo is selling other colors (red, pink, and green) for $30 in local San Francisco boutiques. The pricier ones won’t be available nationally unless there’s evidence of high demand. All of the cases’ clips except for the navy Stripe we saw (and possibly the boutique colors) are color-matched to their bodies.
You’ll have to pick the look that’s right for your own personal tastes, but what first caught our eyes about Sumo was the black Quilted case, which just looks different and more interesting than so many of the generic sleeves we’ve seen. It’s certainly a bit special. That said, that specialness isn’t enough to score a perfect rating from us, because we still strongly believe that the ideal iPod case provides easy access to the iPod’s controls. But in any case, the standard Sumo case’s great looks give it a boost, and it is definitely more protective than many of the clip-laden sleeves we’ve seen; the padding and complete coverage of all but the top of the iPod are features many comparable cases omit. For the same price, you can always pick one of the Flap versions instead if you want top coverage, too; the standard Sumo is designed for use with top-mounting accessories.
At the end of the day, there’s no denying that you’ll need to pull your iPod from the sleeve in order to use its screen or change its volume, though the cases thankfully let you get access to a 1G, 2G, 4G, or photo iPod’s pressure-sensitive track controls (don’t expect to use a 3G iPod while inside). The lack of top protection may turn off other users, particularly given how well it’s executed in the company’s Flap case. If you can get around those issues – which with these particular cases, we did – you’ll love Sumo’s designs, especially for their reasonable prices.
Company and Price
Company: Sumo Cases
Model: Sumo Case Quilted or Stripe
Compatible: iPod 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, photo