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Review: Pacific Design Flip Case

by on March 2, 2006

One could say that iPod cases have become somewhat of a commodity. Just about everyone who has an iPod also has an iPod case—it’s a relatively inexpensive accessory that provides added protection against bumps, scratches, or other damages. Because of this, we’re changing the focus of our iPod case reviews to why a particular case is worthwhile, as opposed to if your iPod should have a case or go naked.

Pacific Design has been making iPod cases for awhile and their latest product, the Flip Case for the fifth-generation iPod, keeps many design elements from previous versions, but is obviously reworked for the physical changes on the iPod. If you can’t see spending $100 on Apple’s new leather case, this one will set you back less than a third of that in many situations—putting it on-par with many other soft cases.

Pacific Design Flip Case
Flip Case Closed

Pacific Design Flip Case
Flip Case Open

Pacific Design Flip Case
Flip Case Belt “Clip” (metal clip is just to hold it in place)

The case looks like a leather case, but actually isn’t. It’s made of the “okay to take it out when it’s sprinkling” polyurethene that is rather durable, and feels somewhat like leather—so we’ll call it “leather-esque”. A stripe runs down the cover of the case, making it more interesting-looking without being cheesy. The Flip Case is available in 5 different colors: Rally Red, Big Sky Blue, Carbon Black, Precious Pink, Mocha Brown.

The design of the case itself is similar to many leather flipcases of the past – the iPod slides into the case, a clear piece of vinyl covers the screen, the click wheel is exposed, and a leather cover flips down for added protection. What is different is that the leather cover stays in place with the use of magnets, much like DLO’s PodFolio for iPod nanos. This provides a very competent hold and doesn’t wear out or break as easily as velcro or snaps. There is also less work, since the case fastens itself.

The sides of the case are elastic so that the same case can be used with both the 30GB and 60GB models. This was a nice touch, since many cases require inserts for thinner iPods or require you to buy separate versions.

Due to the case’s very thin design, the belt “clip” may or may not be for everyone. Rather than actually be a clip, it is a loop that opens and closes with velcro and a snap. In other words, it’s fine if you attach it to a belt, armband, or strap on a bag, but you can’t “clip” it on things, like a pants pocket. The upside is that the case doesn’t have any added bulk, but the downside is some people lose some functionality.

It’s also worth noting that the Dock Connector is always exposed, as are the two bottom corners (to make removal easier), and two half-inch long parts of the iPod’s sides (again, to make removal easier). For most, this won’t be a big deal, since the case adds enough thickness for it to still be the item taking the shock, rather than your iPod.

Overall, the Pacific Design Flip Case is an interesting take on the leather iPod flip-case—it isn’t. Less maintenance with a somewhat familiar feel and design, mixed with good aesthetics make this a good choice for a case.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

Pacific Design’s Flip Case for the fifth-generation iPods provides quite a bit of protection without adding too much bulk.

Pros: Attractive design, does not add much bulk, durable
Cons: Exposed areas, belt “clip” limits additional uses
Rating: 8/10

The Facts

Product: Flip Case
Company: Pacific Design
Platform: iPod (5)
Price: $30-$35 (street)

This post has been filed in iPod, Mobile Devices, Reviews