My iPod was one of my more
extravagant gadget purchases. This seemingly delicate device would be exposed to
the risk of damage pretty much constantly. I would listen to audio books and
ripped news programmes on the way to work, music while writing at work, music
while walking from office to the sandwich bar … etc. So, there would be many
opportunities to scratch or drop the iPod. Obviously I
needed a case to protect this expensive machine.
A case came in the mail with a bundle of stuff from Gary
Waterfield at Waterfield Designs. The case
is made from ballistic nylon, a brightly coloured and patterned nylon that
Waterfield calls “Playball” and some coated nylon mesh on the rear. The latter
is apparently to allow better heat transfer. The case comes in three trim
colours: red, white and blue.
As you can see, the case has the ubiquitous Ultra Clip on
the back. The Ultra Clip tab is fixed to the case by a sturdy patch of what
looks like leather.
The case has a front flap secured by some Velcro at the
corners, the hook Velcro being on the underside of the flap. Beneath the flap
are revealed the iPod controls and screen. Also under
the flap is a pocket for the headphones. As this closes over the “glass” face of
the iPod it is appropriately made from soft and
“furry” nylon material.
Initially, a clever aspect of the case design frustrated me. This case fits
neatly and tightly on the iPod – very tightly!
However, in order to get this tight fit you have to: a) push and pull like hell
on the case and securing tabs to get the iPod in, and
b); have to wait a few hours while the case stretches over and conforms to the
shape of the iPod. I had not thought this through
though, and initially thought that I’d been sent the wrong size case or
something. Thinking about it, it‘s hard
to imagine how one could achieve such a good fit in any other way.
I was a bit worried about the hook Velcro snagging my
clothes, but this has not been a problem. I suppose this is because I rarely
open the flap when the case is in the clip and on my belt. In fact after a bit
of practice I learned to stroke the volume slider and press the control buttons
without lifting the flap. Alternatively, I use the remote control.
A slot in the top of the case lines up neatly with the
Firewire and headphone jacks and also gives access to the hold button.
Connecting the headphones and operating the hold switch is no problem, and while
connecting the Firewire cable is a bit fiddly, this is more Apple’s problem than
it is Waterfield’s.
The natural “gathering” of the nylon as it goes around the
corners of the case creates extra protection here. These have been put to the
test twice when I knocked the iPod off my desk at
work. On both occasions I watched with horror as the iPod
hit the floor, corner first from a drop of a metre. The iPod
survived. (Note. This is not a guarantee, perhaps I’ve been lucky!)
A bit of a no-brainer this, but you have to ensure that
the headphone jack is pushed to the bottom of its pocket or else it will scratch
The coated mesh on the back of the case tends to leave a
slight residue on the metal back of the iPod, but it
rubs off easily. This said, I hardly ever remove the iPod
from the case.
This case gets very heavy usage and still looks great. It works very well. It‘s
much, much better than the original Apple item. Relative to the expense of the iPod
the cost is minimal for such a stylish and functional item.