As more and more cases are released for the 5G iPod (“with video”), it’s getting more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. But Marware’s CEO Classic does just that by offering not one, but three different configurations. The main case is composed of a thick, rigid leather back and thinner leather front connected via two gray elastic strips, one down each side. (The elastic allows a single case to fit both 30GB and 60GB iPod models.) The front of the case leaves the iPod’s Click Wheel exposed while protecting the iPod’s screen behind a large vinyl window. The bottom of the case is also leather, with an opening for Apple’s dock connector cable; the top of the iPod is left exposed.
But the CEO Classic also includes two “lids” that can be attached via three snaps on the back of the case for additional protection. The “lid with window and controls” is a thick leather cover that protects the iPod’s Click Wheel while leaving the screen area visible. (The screen is still protected by the main case’s vinyl cover.) The lid provides a recessed area the same size as the Click Wheel — including embossed control indicators — that allows you to use the Click Wheel through the case. Openings at the top provide access to the iPod’s hold switch and headphone jack. In my testing, this “use-through” cover worked fine with the iPod’s physical buttons (play/pause, forward, back, menu, and select), but was a bit too thick for regular scrolling — in order to get the Click Wheel to register my scrolling, I often had to press down so firmly that I accidentally pressed one of the physical buttons.
The other lid, which Marware calls the “lid with pocket,” is basically a standard flipcase cover: When closed, nearly the entire iPod is protected. (The headphone jack is of course exposed, along with two small pieces of the iPod’s bottom corners, though the latter are well-protected by the corners of the case.) When open, you can access the Click Wheel and see the screen. The front of the lid also includes an elastic pocket; Marware advertises it as being able to hold your iPod’s earbuds. I found it to be a bit too snug for that purpose, but it’s a handy way to hold some cash and an ID.
Like every other Marware case, the CEO Classic also includes the company’s Mulidapt clip system — one of our favorite iPod case features. The Multidapt mounting plate accepts the included belt clip as well as any of a number of optional accessories: car mount, swivel clip, bike mount, lanyard, and more. And the mounting plate is nearly flat when no clip is attached.
I have only two significant criticisms of the CEO Classic. The first is that the case’s vinyl window is a bit too flexible — due to the large size of the iPod’s screen, the window at times suffers from a wavy glare. (Although this issue is mainly noticeable when watching darker video scenes, when glare is more of an issue.) The other issue is that the headphone jack opening in both lids is quite small, which makes it difficult to use third-party headphones that have larger plugs.
Despite these criticisms, the CEO Classic is one of the better cases out there for the iPod with video. Its quality is quite good, and it provides the protection of a flipcase along with the flexibility to get the slimmer profile of a less protective “sleeve” case. For the same $35 some other case vendors charge for a single case, you effectively get three.–Dan Frakes