Review: Speck Products Canvas Sport

Stylish sneaker-like iPod case (September 12th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Speck Products

Price: $34.95 US

The Good

  • Much more punk rocky/hip hoppy style of iPod case than found elsewhere. Thick rubber edges protect iPod from dents and dings. Sewn-in screen protector. Three colors.

The Bad

  • Thick rubber edges make dock connector, headphone jack and hold switch hard to reach. Not as many colors as real Converse All-Stars come in. Belt clip is not detachable. Too rigid to easily remove the iPod.

Converse All-Stars have been a right of passage for kids for generations; the omnipresent basketball shoe has been uniform to punk rockers and hip-hoppers for decades. Now Speck Products has adopted the design for its Canvas Sport iPod case, made in versions to fit both the video iPods and iPod nano, for $34.95.

Retro iPod Case

The Canvas Sport is a standard iPod case, made of canvas, surrounded by rubber edges. A sewn in plastic screen protector prevents your iPod or iPod nano's display from being scratched, and an integrated belt clip gives it something to hang on to your body. The belt clip, alas, is not removable. The case is thin enough that it won't bulk up a pocket too much if you prefer to carry your iPod that way, as I do.

You insert your iPod through the back of the unit, which closes with a button clasp. The full-sized iPod Canvas Sport case tested came with an adhesive-backed spacer which, in the absence of any instructions on or in the packaging, we applied to the back of the case. It helped properly space the slimmer 30GB iPod within.

Tight Fit

Removing the iPod inform the case proved to be a bit problematic, because it was wedged in there pretty well. I eventually figured out that if I pushed on the click wheel the iPod would work loose. I think it's because the case is fairly rigid, so it doesn't have the flexibility you need to just pop the iPod out quickly.

An iPod Sneaker

Once in, the iPod click wheel controls are easy to reach, and a cutout on the bottom keeps the dock connector accessible. The molded thick rubber edges resemble the classic Converse All-Star, complete with colored stripe and diamond-hatch pattern. In fact, Speck has even weathered them a bit, applying some clever discoloration around the edge to make the Canvas Sport look used.

Unfortunately, the same thick rubber edging that gives the Canvas Sport its authentic look also makes the headphone jack, and especially, the Hold switch, considerably more difficult to access. The case also shares a common trait with almost every iPod case; it can't be used in most devices that use a dock to cradle the iPod, as it adds some significant size to the sides of the iPod.

Fun and Stylish

Even with its drawbacks, the Canvas Sport is a fun and stylish iPod case. It is more attractive if your aesthetic sensibilities run towards classic punk and hip-hop gear.

Speck makes the Canvas Sport in three colors for each iPod model: Black, white and pink. That's nothing compared to the veritable rainbow that Converse offers for the classic All-Star sneaker, but it's a good start. I tested the black unit, but I'm tempted to buy a white one just so I can decorate it with magic markers and ballpoint pens, like I did with the Cons I wore in high school.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Lee P. Meredith


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