Shinnorie makes a line of gadget cases that have caught my eye before. I’ve told you before about their customizable cases for phones, iPad, and small leather card cases. I was selected to give a some of their cases a closer look. I requested three cases from their Ringo series; one for the iPad, one for my phone, and one card case. As soon as I received them, Shinnorie suspended their customization program. I’ve kept an eye on their website since then, and I see that they are starting to offer custom cases direct to the public again. Not all of these cases are available now, but they are beginning to offer customized cases again. The ordering process should be the same, so I thought I’d finally post my review.
Some pictures in this review can be clicked for a larger view.
Shinnorie offered a variety of colors to choose from in the Ringo line. Each case allows you to choose three colors that will be used for the body, flaps, straps, and handles. I decided I wanted to have a color coordinated set of cases, so I chose blue for the body color, black for the flaps, and a mint green for the accent color. When my cases arrived, they were completely encased in sewn bags made of heavy plastic.
My first impression was that the colors are beautiful and bright. Not everyone will agree, but I find the color combination very pleasing. But that’s the beauty of being able to customize your case – you can choose the colors you like. My second impression is that the very is very soft, but it seems to be a bit thin. The stitching is even and straight. Some bags have color-matched threads, others have white thread.
Bear in mind, only the iPad case is still available. There’s a new iPhone pouch that’s very similar to the Ringo iPhone pouch I reviewed. I don’t find the wallet on their website any longer.
Ringo iPad Pouch
The Ringo iPad Pouch (not currently in stock, but still shown on their website) has a grab handle that attaches to the case with metal studs inserted through one side of the case and through holes at the ends of the strap. The holes in the handle are very snug. I could pull the handle off, but it would take some effort. I think the handle will be pretty secure. These studs do change the shape of that side of the bag, and it takes up a little bit of the room. The bag is lined with a black velvety fabric that protects the iPad from the metal. The back of the case is plain except for a stamped logo near the bottom. (Note: this strap may not be available on the current model.)
The opposite side of the pouch has a leather tab with a grommet-reinforced hole that holds a keyring. I requested the optional wrist strap for the Ringo iPad Pouch. The wrist strap attaches to the keyring with a dog leash-style clip. The clip, keyring, and metal studs are all silver-colored. The wrist strap can be removed from the bag when you don’t want to use it.
The bag closes with a leather flap. I chose black for the flap, and the snap that holds it closed is also black. There’s a bit of reinforcement around the male portion of the snap on the case body. This is important because the leather is a bit thin, as I mentioned earlier.
I really love the way the Shinnorie Ringo iPad Pouch looks. I love that I can customize the colors to get just the look I want. I’m not sure that the bag will last for years, because the leather is soft, but the reinforcement around the snap should prevent the snap from pulling out after the bag is opened and closed many times.
Ringo iPhone Pouch
Apparently the Ringo iPhone pouch has been replaced with the Lori medium or large pouches for smartphones. The Lori pouches don’t have the little exterior pocket like the Ringo has. Shinnorie is taking pre-orders for the Lori cases now, with shipping expected for February 8, 2012. Either size Lori pouch costs $39.00.
Although I didn’t have an iPhone at the time, I requested the Ringo iPhone Pouch. I also added a small optional pocket to the front of the case. This Ringo Pouch is made of the same thin leather and the same black velvet lining used for the iPad case. I requested all the same colors, and the color match between the two cases is very close. The red patch is stamped with the Shinnorie logo and information. The color for this patch wasn’t selectable. The bag closes with a strap that slides under a leather strip.
The strap serves two purposes. In addition to closing the bag, the strap is part of a sling that the phone sits in. Pull up on the strap to raise the phone up and out of the case. The back of the case is plain, but you can see the impression of the strap as it continues down the back side of the bag to form the sling.
The little pocket on the front of the Ringo iPhone Pouch closes with a snap, colored black to match the flap. It’s the perfect size to hold my 6th generation iPod nano. I always turned the screen of the nano away away from the snap to prevent possible damage when the flap is snapped.
This bag also has a leather tab with a grommet-reinforced hole to attach a keyring. The wrist strap is permanently attached to the keyring on one end. The other end has a dog-leash clip so you can loop the wrist strap around your purse’s strap.
I tried the Ringo case with the LG enV3 phone I had and with my 2nd generation iPod touch. Both devices fit easily into the pouch. When I got the iPhone 4 from Verizon, I was very pleased to see that the iPhone with a Bumper fit perfectly into the bag. The sling worked beautifully to lift the iPhone up so I could get a good grip on the phone to pull it out of the case. I used this Ringo pouch for weeks – until I noticed that the black velvety lining inside the case was rubbing dye onto the blue Bumper case. This black dye wouldn’t come off the Bumper. I wasn’t pleased that my Bumper was ruined. I think the dye would probably have stained the light blue Smart Cover on my iPad 2 if I had used it as constantly as I used the phone case.
Ringo Leather Cardholder
I requested the Ringo Leather Cardholder in the same colors to complete my set. I requested the same colors, but you’ll see that very little of the mint green was used on this case. The case closes with a black strap with a color-matched snap. The back has the red Shinnorie logo square. The card case also has the leather tab with the grommet-reinforced hole for the keyring. Like the iPhone pouch, the wrist strap is attached to the keyring on one end and has a dog-leash clip on the other end so you can open it and loop it around your purse strap.
There are six credit card slots inside. Cards fit easily into each individual slot, but it gets hard to slide the cards in and out when all slots are filled. Each card holder is open on the spine side, so you could fit more cards under there. I think it would be difficult to snap the case closed if you put cards under there when the slots are all filled.
You can see that the case is bulging a bit with six cards in the slots. There’s nothing else in the case. I think adding much more would either mean you couldn’t close the snap, or the cards would be under a lot of pressure and could crack or be damaged.
I think the Shinnorie Ringo cases are pretty, fun “fashion” cases. The look nice, but I don’t think they’re built for the long haul. The iPhone Pouch and the Cardholder both start at $59.99, and the iPad Pouch is about $100. I think they’re too expensive, but they are pretty. The Lori sells for $39.00 in either large or medium. The iPad Ringo case is $99.00, but is currently out of stock.