Belkin was the first vendor to actually get a case for the iPod 5G in our hands, and their first effort is a generally good one that features a few thoughtful touches. The Flip Case uses a standard leather flipcase design: Your iPod slips into a main sleeve that protects the sides, back, and bottom of your iPod but leaves its controls and screen accessible, and a flipcover closes to protect the iPod’s face and top. Inside the flipcover, the Click Wheel is exposed while a clear vinyl window protects the 5G iPod’s screen. (Because the screen protector is flexible and sits away from the screen by a few millimeters, watching TV shows and movies on the 5G iPod’s large screen is not quite as clear as when using the iPod without a case.)
The sides of the Flip Case, instead of using the same material as the rest of the case, are made of gray perforated leather. (I personally like the look, which gives the case some character.) The bottom features an opening large enough to connect Apple’s dock connector cable to your iPod’s dock port without having to remove your iPod from the case; however, the opening isn’t quite large enough to connect larger third-party dock accessories such as SendStation’s popular PocketDocks. I like that Belkin has surrounded the dock opening with rubber instead of just cutting a hole in the leather.
Two other handy features are a rubber “lip” at the bottom of the flipcover, which makes it easier to open the cover, and a secure rubber-nub-and-steel-eyelet fastener for keeping the flipcover closed. (One nitpick: There is only a single such fastener, on the left side; one on each side would have been more secure and would let the flipcover close more evenly.)
Like many recent flipcases, the Belkin Flip Case uses a notch at the top for the headphone jack rather than a hole; this allows you to open the cover without having to unplug your headphones. The notch is also large enough to accommodate even large third-party headphone plugs. Finally, a plastic belt clip is attached permanently to the back of the case; the clip is sturdy, but a removable clip would have allowed the user to reduce the thickness of the case.
Overall, Belkin’s Flip Case for 5G iPod is an attractive and protective flipcase. Besides the minor issues I’ve mentioned, it’s only real drawback is that flipcases in general lend themselves to infrequent access to your iPod’s controls and screen, whereas the 5G iPod biggest draw is its large screen for watching video. So if you plan to use your 5G iPod’s video features often, plan on having to hold the flipcover open during use.–Dan Frakes