Even when we don’t love the features of a specific sort of case, we can appreciate if it’s made and priced well for what it’s supposed to be. Such is the case with Tunewear’s Prie Rawhide ($25), which is packaged separately under the Prie Rawhide and Prie Moccasin names, but really consists of a single general case design: a quality black or brown leather flip case that comes in five versions, each with slightly different stitching or coloration as a differentiator. While extremely similar to Marware’s previously-reviewed Slim Fold cases, the Prie cases take a step up in looks and yet sell for the same price.
As we’ve mentioned in a number of past reviews, flip-style face covers have become increasingly stale as iPods have developed video capabilities and touch controls; leather or other fabric lids preclude immediate access to iPods’ controls and limit your ability to see whatever’s happening on the screen. However, Marware and Tunewear have come up with flip designs that do away with a couple of the genre’s worst offenses—added bulkiness and clumsiness—by using thin but reinforced leather and magnetic clasps rather than snaps to hold shut. Prie Rawhide cases look like leather, yet don’t feel much thicker than an uncovered nano, and actually seem more like mini-wallets than typical PDA-style flip cases.
Tunewear also includes separate screen, Click Wheel, and back covers to let you keep the case open, with its lid folded against its back if you desire. While the covers aren’t perfect—the Click Wheel cover handles only the nano’s touch surface and not its central Action button—they’re cut more precisely than past Tunewear film and completely cover the screen, as well as a fair amount of the nano’s rear inside the case. Adding the back film makes nano removal from the Rawhide cases a hint trickier, but a little wiggling does the trick.
What we like the most about the Rawhide designs are their looks and protection. The five designs vary a little from case to case, with rivets in some and heavy contrast stitching in others, but they all look and feel well-made and interesting—definitely not as generic and spotty as most of the PDA cases we review these days. They practically define the aesthetic difference between textbook leather cases and cases that just happen to be made with real leather; our photos should make this as obvious as anything. One of the cases has a tab at the bottom with a hole in the center, suitable for attachment to a hook; it’s only a little surprising, given Tunewear’s track record that a small carabiner isn’t included with that model. Additionally, the Rawhide cases cover literally every bit of the nano’s body when closed; bottom access is achieved by a magnetic clasp that stays shut except to the extent you need it open.
Worth briefly mentioning are a couple of other small points. First, though Tunewear’s U.S. web site doesn’t make a distinction between the Rawhide and Moccasin cases, their packages do: Moccasin is the cross-stitched brown version of the case shown in the top few photos, resembling the traditional Indian shoes, while the Rawhides are the other four cases found here. Second, we were sort of impressed by Tunewear’s packaging for these cases: rather than using large cardboard boxes, blister packs, or both, the company chose to put these Pries inside of eco-friendly bags that can be resealed like Ziplocs after they’re been opened. Most of the time, “eco-friendly” cases or packaging don’t much impress us, but these bags look nice and cut down a tremendous amount on parts we’d normally have to throw away or recycle, so we appreciate what Tunewear has done here.
Given how substantially they protect, how nice they look, and how reasonably they’re priced, the Prie Rawhide series of iPod nano cases strikes us as being amongst the very best of the leather flip-style cases we’ve tested. While we wouldn’t encourage the continued design of such cases for future iPods, given how much the lids interfere with normal use of their screens and controls—and the numerous alternatives that exist for similar protection—if this style of case interests you, we would in no way dissuade you from giving the Rawhide of your choice a try. It’s a good value for the dollar, limited only by its adherence to a traditional design.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod nano (video)