Speck Products FlipStand
Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Review
Speck Products FlipStand
Their Sophomore Effort is an iPod accessory homerun
by Michael R. Harvey
Speck Products has a nice collection of iPod accessories available. Most are various protective, or carrying cases, for your iPod. The one I am looking at for this review is, I think, the best of their offerings, not to mention the best of all offerings for the latest generation of iPods.
Speck really knocked one out of the park with their newest FlipStand. This case is near perfect. Solid, clear plastics protect the iPod from scratch and impact damage. The buttons are easily accessible, as is the scroll wheel, for the most part (I'll get to that later). The top door easily opens to allow you to insert or remove the iPod, but still holds securely shut. You don't need to worry about it flying out of the case. There is a detachable belt clip. And, there is the flip cover that doubles as both a protector for the scroll wheel, and a stand arm to allow the case to rest at a nice viewing angle on its own.
Okay, so that's the short tour of the case, and it's very cool. It is not, however, the coolest part of this rig. The coolest bit is the dock. Dock!? Why would you need a dock when the new iPods come with one? Well, because this dock can hold the iPod while it's still in the case. This is a first. Until now, you had to remove your iPod from any covers in order to plug it into a dock. Even the latest iPod docks only have space for the iPod itself. As the FlipStand adds about 1/5 inch to the width, and 1/3 inch to the thickness of the iPod, it just won't fit in the Apple dock while in the case. The case that Speck provides with the FlipStand is specifically designed to handle iPod and case. It is weighted to keep it stable on your desk with an iPod inserted, and has a slot to hold Apple's connecting cable to allow you to plug the iPod into your computer system when to put it in the dock. This is exactly the kind of thing someone needed to bring to the iPod accessory market. The main thing that always drove me nuts with the previous version iPods was having to yank it out of the case to use any third party docks (like the Transpod or iPodDock). Kudos to Speck for taking care of this glaring omission.
That was the best part, so what's the worst? Remember my mention of getting to the scroll wheel accessibility issue? That is the one thing I don't like about this case. The flip cover of the case that protects the scroll wheel gets in the way of using it. The volume of individual songs in my tunes collection tends to vary (despite the equalizer in iTunes), and I found it a pain to have to flip the cover out of the way to turn the volume down when one of the blasters caught me. My ears were usually ringing by then. I found, however, that the cover was easily removed from the case, without damaging it either. With a little care, the cover can be pulled off the posts that hold it to the main body. My problem was solved. Your mileage may vary. If you find the utility of the stand to be something you can't live without, leave the case connected.
Speck Products first FlipStand was only so-so. It felt flimsy, was hard to open, and hid away the good looks of the iPod. This new FlipStand reminds me of Contour Designs case for the last generation iPods, the iSee. Clear plastics that protect the iPod while simultaneously showing off its great style. The iSee was the best of the last generation cases, and now the FlipStand has taken that mantle and run with it. Good looks, high durability, and the dock make this accessory the one to get for your third generation iPod. And that stuff about the flip cover, well, it's subjective, and easily worked around. This product is well worth the $29.95 price tag Speck is offering them at on their web site. Get one of these. You'll be happy you did.
Michael R. Harvey