XtremeMac has been releasing some unique iPod cases recently, and the new MicroWallet Leather is no exception. At first glance, it looks much like any other flipcase; however, XtremeMac has taken a number of interesting approaches to basic functionality that make the MicroWallet stand out.
Like most flipcases, the MicroWallet is made of a single, flip-over piece, this one covered in soft leather and accented by attractive stitching. However, instead of a leather or fabric sleeve/pouch inside, the MicroWallet features two plastic rails, between which you slide your nano (head-first). The rails are snug enough that your nano won’t slide out, but in my testing didn’t scratch the nano’s surfaces. When the MicroWallet is closed, your nano’s face is completely covered while the headphone jack and dock-connector port are easily accessible. In fact, the MicroWallet is open on three sides , potentially exposing the edges of your iPod. However, XtremeMac has made the MicroWallet wider than the nano all around; as a result, the case is quite a bit bigger than the nano itself, height- and width-wise, but the nano’s sides are recessed quite a bit back from the case’s edges, offering a good amount of protection. (I also like that if you use third-party headphones with an unusually large headphone plug, you can slide your nano right up to the edge of the case to accommodate that plug.)
Although I’m generally not a fan of permanently-attached belt clips, the MicroWallet uses a very slim, metal clip that doesn’t add much bulk. And the belt clip serves dual purposes: The MicroWallet doesn’t use the familiar flip-over tab to snap or clip the case closed; instead, it uses a thick black rubber strap, attaced to the case via the belt clip. To secure the case’s flipcover, you wrap the strap around the case, much like the elastic band on the popular Moleskin notebooks. Although this isn’t as quick a process as the leather or fabric tabs used by other flipcases, it’s likely just as secure — and it keeps the bulk of the case down. My only concern would be how well this rubber strap holds up over long-term use.
The MicroWallet is one of the most unique and attractive cases I’ve seen for the iPod nano. Highly recommended.–Dan Frakes