If you’ve read our review of the Marware TrailVue for iPod mini, you know that we’re fans of that stylish but rugged case. So I had high hopes for the TrailVue’s new sibling, the MetroVue for iPod mini. Billed as a more “urban stylish” version of the TrailVue, the MetroVue actually looks and feels like a lower-cost version (that just so happens to have a more urban-stylish appearance). That’s not necessarily a bad thing — at just over $13 a case (in a pack of 3), the MetroVue offers a lot of case for the money.
Like all flipcases, the MetroVue has a flip-open cover that provides easy access to your iPod’s controls and screen when open but protects them when closed; the cover latches via a velcro tab at the bottom of the case. Your iPod is secured by a clear PVC “slip” inside the case. The MetroVue also features the stellar Multidapt clip. This accessory mount on the back of the case can be used to connect a number of different accessories, from the included belt clip to optional dash mounts to bicycle handlebar mounts to lanyard attachments, and makes Marware cases some of the most versatile on the market.
In these ways, the MetroVue is identical to the TrailVue. The most obvious way in which the cases differ is in their materials and appearance. Whereas the TrailVue uses a heavy nylon fabric, the MetroVue’s nylon is of a thinner grade; the result is less bulk overall, but a case that’s not quite as rugged. And while the TrailVue cases feature two different color nylons — one for the main case color and another for the stripe — the MetroVue cases use a single piece of fabric with silkscreen stripes. I personally prefer the TrailVue’s more outdoors-y appearance, but the 70s-retro design of the MetroVue will surely appeal to some. The only other significant difference between the two cases is that the TrailVue, in keeping with its more rugged design, features a rubber grommet around the headphone/remote jack hole, whereas the MetroVue uses simple stitching. There are also a few minor “fit and finish” differences that likely stem from the lower cost of the MetroVue.
The MetroVue comes in packages of three: A “Girl Pack” featuring muted sage, blue, and gray cases with light purple, turquoise, and dark purple trim, respectively, or a “Guy Pack” that includes dark gray, light gray, and brown cases with yellow, red, and blue trim, respectively. Each set includes one belt clip to be shared between the three cases.
Overall, the MetroVue feels more like “TrailVue Lite,” and at 3 for $40 (MetroVue) vs. $30 a piece (TrailVue), is priced accordingly. But if you get bored with your cases easily, getting three for the price of many single cases isn’t a bad deal.–Dan Frakes