The three cases we chose from the Marware line were very traditional designs. Marware does have many other cases that were more fun looking (SportGrip, SportGrip Extreme, SportSuit Santa), but we controlled ourselves and stuck to the original goal of this article...reviewing some classic and upscale cases for folks who wear suits to work :-)
The most straightlaced case of the three is the CEO Card Wallet. This case has room for a few credit cards and the iPod nano.
Then nano slips in from the top, the case folds over like a typical wallet. There are strategically placed openings for the headphone jack, the clickwheel, and the lock slider.
Our initial impression of the case? The leather DOES feel nice! The stitching appears to be well done. It is a good looking case and will fit comfortably inside a jacket pocket...but is not so practical if you like to keep your wallet in your back pants pocket. The plastic window added some distortion to the view of the screen...not a big deal. If we didn't already have the InvisibleShield on the nano, the plastic would have offered useful protection. Since we did, it was overkill for us. Also, one of the folks here commented..."so, when they pick my pockets...not only do I have to replace all my credit cards, but I lose my iPod as well?" Hmmm...good point.
The next case is the Classic. The Classic's front cover had a very nice embossing of the clickwheel. This allowed the user to manipulate the clickwheel to some degree...FF, Rev, Play. If the user wanted to change the volume or scroll, they must open the cover.
Note that there are snaps at both the top an the bottom...this is because two covers are supplied with this unit. We didn't really understand the purpose of the other cover. It has a small pocket in the front and no view window. The pocket is not really big enough for anything. We are not sure if it would be a good idea to put anything (pen? change?) in there since it would just press against the front of the iPod. If we are missing something, give us a clue!
The clip system is really difficult to attach, but once on it will not come loose. We found it was easier to attach the clip if we took the iPod out and bent the case slightly so the spring clip was not pressing on the case while trying to get the clip to engage.
Once the clip was in place, we slid the iPod back in. The curve piece of the clip pressing on the back made the entire assembly very secure. There was no way the iPod would ever accidentally slide out of this case.
As with the Card Wallet, this case also have the usually openings for the hold button, clickwheel and headphones.
However, by this time one of our interns realized that neither case allowed the user to recharge the iPod while it is IN the case. This might be a small point, but we think it would get pretty annoying in the long run. Potential buyers should keep this design note in mind when comparing cases.
The last case from Marware we got was the SportSuit Convertible. This "system" is like a soft armor jacket for the iPod nano. We think they designed it with the SWAT guys in mind. There are three basic ways to carry the nano with the SportSuit: Clip, Cord, or armband. However, with each basic style, there is the option of with or without the semi-hard cover. We are not going to show all the combinations, but we are sure you can visualize the permutations :-)
The main case is a soft neoprene wrapper for the ipod itself. The nano is inserted from the bottom. The flap tucks back in forming a complete "glove" around the iPod.
The encased iPod can be clipped onto the arm band using the same clipping mechanism used in the Classic. It was still tricky to get this case on the arm band or the clip.
If you want even more protection for the iPod when wearing it, you can add the front cover. If something manages to damage the iPod while the user is wearing this full protection set up, we are pretty sure the iPod is not the first thing the paramedics will be attending to.
If you are daring, you could decide to go with a minimal protection and just use the wrist cord. We actually found this to be quite comfortable. The iPod natually sits in the palm of the hand and doesn't really move around much. We'll have to take it for a run to see how it actually performs.
In summary, we are sure some folks will find these Executive Leather and Sport cases more fitting to their style, but we think they just take too much away from the slim lines and spirit of the iPod nano.
There are less expensive and, to us, more appealing options in the Marware line. However, if you have your heart set on a leather case or full double layer protection, these Marware cases will have you covered!