Mophie’s Bevy is based on the company’s Wraptor clip-on case for the second-generation (2G) iPod shuffle. In fact, the Bevy was a result of Mophie’s “illuminator” contest at the January 2007 Macworld Expo: the company asked Expo attendees to submit ideas for iPod accessories; the Wraptor was one of the winners, and the company began production a few months later. Basically, the Bevy takes the Wraptor design and modifies it to include a metal bottle opener as part of the face of the case.
As we noted when we reviewed the Wraptor, it’s tough to design a good case for the 2G shuffle — the player is already pretty sturdy, thanks to a metal enclosure, and its built-in belt clip means that any case needs to leave the back of the shuffle unobscured or else the belt clip will be unusable. The Wraptor earned a 3-Play (Good) rating from Playlist, and the Bevy, while innovative, doesn’t improve much on the Wraptor; the Bevy’s most notable feature is also a bit inconvenient to use.
Like the Wraptor, the Bevy is a clear-plastic, clip-on shell that protects the front of the 2G shuffle — except for the control pad, which remains accessible — as well as the shuffle’s top, bottom, and sides. Cut-aways on the bottom of the Bevy provide access to the Power and mode (shuffle/repeat) switches, and a notch in the top makes room for most headphone plugs.
The left and right sides of the case feature thick grooves around which you can wrap your headphone cable; you then secure the cable by wrapping it around the shuffle’s own belt clip. As with the Wraptor, the depth of the grooves allows you to wrap approximately one-half to two-thirds of the cable, provided you’re using Apple’s earbuds or headphones with similarly-thin cables; this makes the cord-winding feature useful for reducing the amount of excess cable you have when listening to the shuffle, but difficult for wrapping all of the cable for storage — and not very useful at all if you have third-party headphones with thicker cables. And, also as with the Wraptor, it’s still too easy for the cable to come unravelled, since the iPod’s belt clip doesn’t grab the end of the cable very well.
The two features new to the Bevy are the above-noted bottle opener and a key-ring. The latter attaches to the Bevy via a protruding eyelet on the left side of the case. Although this certainly makes the Bevy usable as a keychain, I personally wouldn’t do so because there’s no protection — for the controls on the front of the shuffle or the clip on the back — against scratches from your keys.
The other new feature, the bottle opener, is provided via a metal insert permanently embedded in the face of the Bevy. After removing your shuffle from the Bevy, the hole that normally provides access to the shuffle’s front controls can be used to remove bottle-caps from bottles.
The key phrase here is “after removing your shuffle from the Bevy” — you can’t use the bottle-opening feature if your shuffle is in the case, making the Bevy inconvenient to use for this purpose. On the other hand, one area in which the Bevy improves on the Wraptor is in the ease of removing your shuffle from the case — you can easily pop your shuffle out of the Bevy when necessary. Considering that you need to remove your shuffle from the case to sync and charge it, this is a welcome improvement, bottle opener or no.
Like the Wraptor, the Bevy is a novel idea and well-made, but it doesn’t quite succeed. Having to remove your shuffle to use the Bevy’s most-touted feature is inconvenient, and, like the Wraptor, the Bevy’s cord management isn’t as useful as it could be.–Dan Frakes