Brenthaven’s Easel is the company’s second foray into “stand” cases for the 5G iPod (with video), and it’s an impressive one. Made of high-quality leather reinforced with rigid panels, the flipcase design offers excellent protection for your entire iPod when closed — only a small portion of each side of the iPod is exposed, and the case extends past those surfaces, reducing the chances they’ll be damaged. Yet the case adds very little bulk to your iPod compared to many other iPod cases. The Easel’s black or pink leather is attractively detailed with white stitching, and elastic sides and bottom expand to accommodate both 30GB and 60/80GB fifth-generation iPods. Small holes on top of the case provide access to your iPod’s hold switch and headphone jack.
The case’s flipcover secures via a 4.5-inch, Velcro-covered strap that secures to a 2.5-inch matching strip of Velcro on the back of the case. When the strap is unfastened, an opening in the case’s elastic bottom provides access to your iPod’s dock-connector port. (However, this hole is big enough only for Apple’s dock-connector cable and similarly-sized dock-connector plugs; larger plugs won’t fit.) The long strap also serves as a handy stand for hands-free watching of video and viewing of pictures; you just flip the flipcover open, bend the strap backwards, and secure it to the Velcro on the back of the case. By attaching it higher or lower on the Velcro strip, you can control the angle at which your iPod is positioned. (Within reason; you won’t get it to recline much more than at a 60 degree angle.)
Surprisingly, the Easel also includes a flexible, clear, adhesive screen protector that you can apply to protect your iPod’s screen from scratches. I say “surprisingly” because, since flipcases protect an iPod’s screen when closed, it’s very rare for a vendor to include additional protection. It’s a nice touch.
This isn’t the best video-viewing case out there, but it’s certainly one of the most attractive and well-made 5G cases, and it protects your iPod well. Consider the stand feature to be a useful bonus.–Dan Frakes