Developer: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters
Requirements: 5G video iPod
The sixth anniversary of the iPod is coming up this month, and the now-ubiquitous media player has spawned a multi-billion-dollar accessories industry ranging from the mundane to the ridiculous. With its highly polished metal case, the iPod has, like a restored classic car, inspired owners to go to great lengths to protect the new look, and a huge chunk of the accessories industry is built around protective cases.
You can have a protective case for your iPod made out of just about anything. Anodized aircraft aluminum? Check. Waterproof silicone rubber in all the colors of the rainbow? Check. Leather? Check. Clear acrylic? Check. Wookiee fur? Check.
DLO’s $30 PodFolio is the spiritual successor to one of the original iPod cases, the Leatherpod. It’s essentially the same design updated for the iPod video form factor with a few minor tweaks. The leather hinge runs all the way across the top of the iPod, providing strength and durability, but the headphone jack cutout is fairly small and has the potential to block larger plugs like those found on some higher-end headphones.
The headphone cutout is fairly small, which puts pressure on the stock Apple earbuds and may prevent the use of headphones with larger plugs entirely.
There is no screen protection with the flap up. This is a double-edged sword; having a piece of clear material across the screen in a case that fits this tightly does indeed provide protection to the screen but also has a tendency to trap dirt and other tiny abrasive particles that will eventually scratch the very screen the material is designed to protect. After using both designs for quite some time, I believe the folks at DLO got it right. There’s really no need for additional screen protection beyond the flap itself.
The PodFolio’s belt clip is wrapped in leather like the rest of the case, making it slide off your belt easily—too easily—while running.
The belt clip on the PodFolio is a simple design that works well enough for walking around, but tends to slip off if you run with the PodFolio. While most people who use an iPod for exercise inspiration probably use a Shuffle or a Nano, if you’re planning on running with your iPod in the PodFolio, you’ll probably want to consider a different case with a more secure means of attachment.
The PodFolio allows you to sync the iPod without removing it from the case.
Just about every iPod case now allows you to charge the iPod without removing it from the case, and the PodFolio is no exception. A good thing, too, because removing the iPod from the case is awfully difficult. To make up for this difficulty, though, DLO designed the PodFolio to work with many Dock Connector accessories. DLO’s TuneStik, for example, clips right onto the bottom of the iPod-PodFolio combo without fuss. As with most cases, however, you can’t put the iPod in a dock while it’s in the case.
The DLO PodFolio is thin enough to allow some third-party iPod accessories to be installed in the Dock Connector while using the case. Shown here is DLO’s TuneStik.
The flip design isn’t everyone’s favorite, and for good reason. It’s inconvenient to watch video because you have to keep the flip open, and it’s well-nigh impossible to change tracks on the iPod with the flip closed. This can be a minor annoyance at best and a fatal flaw at worst, but only you know how you use your iPod, and within those limitations, the PodFolio works very well.
A steady hand and a textured surface can combine to get the PodFolio to stand on its own, but it won’t last long.
The classic black leather look goes with everything, which is more than can be said for a lot of cases. You could wear this case with a suit and it would fit right in, but it won’t look out of place with jeans and a hoodie either. Try that with a Detroit Pistons iPod case.
There’s not really much wrong with the PodFolio, and at a price of $30 for a stylish genuine leather case that does its job without hassle, there’s a lot right with it. If you’re looking for a flip-style case for a video iPod, there isn’t anything out there that’s better for the price.