Product Review: iPod Smart Case from WaterField Designs

Posted by Filed Under: Gear & Apparel, MP3 Players

(Occasionally, manufacturers send CRN authors products to sample. Here’s a review of one such product, sent for review.)

ipod-classic-top-lg.jpgAt first sight, the iPod Smart Case with clip from San Francisco-based WaterField Designs is satisfying to my organized mind. It is discreet and sleek. The iPod slides smoothly into the case and stays put, gripped securely between the walls of the hard shell. It fits it like a glove. It calms me to see it look so snug and cozy. It eases my mind to see how protected the iPod looks. It looks prepared to take a bullet. (And, apparently, indeed it probably could!) What’s more, the seams are robust and nothing has started to unravel, which is more than I can say for other cases I’ve tried.

But, talk to the runner in me and, unfortunately, that is where the good feelings end. What calms the control-freak part of my mind—its simplicity and tidiness—is what makes it impractical for me as a running “flipper.” There is no cutaway in the shell of the case to access the iPod controls. Once safely nested in the case, you cannot change anything about playback without removing the iPod from its comfortable nest.

As I can be fickle about my tunes, this is an issue when I run. I can’t simply set a playlist and go with it. I need to be able to jump ahead to the next track if the current one isn’t energizing enough. Occasionally, I like to repeat the songs that make me feel happy, bouncy, and raring to go. Pulling the iPod out of the case to do this makes me nervous when I am trying to keep my stride steady and undisturbed (as well as not landing myself in a face plant).

Another disadvantage for runners is that the way the clip is designed. It is bulky and thus sets the iPod away from your body. This results in some hip slapping as you run. While this is a good way to keep a beat, it becomes irritating the further you go.

The iPod Smart Case is compact and durable. It is discreet and doesn’t scream “expensive electronic equipment right here!” At $29-$39 US, it is priced reasonably in terms of similar cases out there. However functionally, for runners, and especially those that like to flip around while they run, it doesn’t seem like the best option. Though I’m glad for the protection, it doesn’t offer quick access to the iPod’s controls for those times when I need to jump ahead to my power song. Unfortunately, to me and what I need as a runner, that is a big drawback to an otherwise desirable case.

About Nora

I am a native Californian currently settled and running my way bit by bit around the South East of England. Besides running, my training activities include biking, hiking, swimming, yoga, and tap dancing in place while in line at the grocery store. I am addicted to photography and run most races with my camera in hand, just in case.

  1. Deazy on November 15th at 1:30 pm

    costly iPod cases are a big pet peeve of mine-
    the best case for my iPod Nano (the previous generation narrow one) that I found was a $1 case at the Dollar Tree (dollar store). Called the “myTunes” fitted nano skin. It is rubber and wide open over the controls for ease of volume/track changes. It has 2 slits on the back to slide your finger thru so it wont slip out as I adjust it on the run. The rest of the time its in my pocket, safe as can be.
    I hope they are still available at the dollar tree. I even bought an extra one for another buck!

  2. Nicole on November 17th at 1:08 pm

    I decided to give one of these a try, and I love it! I start my playlist, put the iPod upside down and get a nice long run with it. I generally run in the woods, so this “smart case” keeps it clean and protected in case I fall. Thanks for this review!

    P.S. I also bought one of their camera cases while I was at it. It’s really stylish. Love it too. Both are well made as well.

    Happy trails,