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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Piel Frama Touch Case

1. Introduction - Design - Conclusion

You just got the iPod Touch - arguably, the coolest and most stylish Media Player on the market today. When I first saw this incredible $400 machine - my first reaction was "this is beautiful." My second reaction was "this looks fragile." The beauty of the iPod touch is the large screen - the large glass screen and the smooth finish. This media player cries out for a stylish, yet protective covering of some sort. Remember as well, that your iPod has all your music files which can't be copied from the iPod to the PC. That means that protecting your investment is more important now than ever. Thankfully, there are some amazing cases out in the marketplace that not only protect your iPod Touch, but also wrap it in luxurious leathers.

One manufacturer offering such cases, is Piel Frama - a Spanish company whose cases have been reviewed quite favorably on this site before.

The iPod Touch feels like it needs protection - but it is so beautiful, that any case that doesn't enhance the beauty would detract from it. How does Piel Frama's offering for the iPod Touch stand up to our rigorous testing and our eye for beauty?

logoPiel Frama made its first steps in manufacturing leather covers for mobile phones in 1984, but has been manufacturing leather goods since 1945. Today, Piel Frama is seen as a very prestigious company by the entire PDA, MP3 and mobile phone industries, offering the finest quality products that exist in the market.

All their products are hand-made, using different, elaborate processes. During each process, each piece goes through a very strict, quality control. Piel Frama craftsmen, cut the different parts of the leather case by hand.

Once all necessary pieces are ready, our leather craftsmen assemble them like a jigsaw puzzle, using a glue that is not dangerous to the environment.

The thread used to sew the leather covers is made of 100 % polyester (much more durable than cotton). This thread is made by Gutermann, a leading textile manufacturer from Germany.

The kind of leather used to make PDA cases is 1st quality cow hide. This leather comes from Spain, giving Piel Frama the opportunity to select the best leather available. This leather comes from younger cows that have no damage or scratches on their hides. Piel Frama´s leathers is ECOLOGICAL because it is tanned and finished with natural products and biodegradable organic substances, which guarantee no ill effect to the environment.

Design:

The Piel Frama case for the iPod Touch, is a traditional "Flip Over" design. When closed, the case covers the entirety of the Touch and is secured with a magnetic enclosure. When open, the user has access to all the important features of the Touch. On the inside of the upper portion of the case, are slits for credit and business cards, and even money. Piel Frama included a very nice and handy screen cleaner which fits right into one of these slots.

The first thing you notice is the attention to detail and the "feel" and smell of the leather. This is a beautiful piece of work - the leather is soft to hold and very nice to look at. My sample case was a beautiful red case which contrasted nicely with the Black of the Touch. The stitching is impeccable and each cutout is almost perfect. There are cutouts on the bottom for the Earphone jack, and for the docking/charging port.

The cutout for the earphone jack was not "perfect" and it took a little wiggling to get my headphones connected. I also think this may have to do with the need to "break in" the leather case. Also, some headphone jacks are long and straight and others are angled - so it really depends on the jack you use. After time, however, I was able to attach the earphones and keep the case shut.

The "Hold" button wasn't accessible unless the case was opened. The volume also can't be controlled unless you open the case - not a fault of the case - that has to do with Apple eliminating exterior volume controls on the Touch.

The front flap on the case seems to have some extra padding for security and it felt great. The back is a little harder leather, and attached is their patented belt clip which I have long felt is the least obtrusive and best designed in the industry. The belt clip can be removed if desired - but it takes up very little space when it is connected.

Craftsmanship:

As I said above, this is a really a piece of art - which is fitting for the iPod Touch. Stitching, cutouts, seams and craftsmanship in general are just beautiful. You can truly tell that this is a handcrafted case. I got many positive looks and comments from people when carrying this case - it looks elegant and it gets noticed.

There are many leathers to choose from - different styles and colors as well. I can only imagine that each will be just as beautifully crafted as the cow skin version I received. At this time, a Crocodile and an Ostrich case are available on the web site for purchase.

Overall Conclusions:

The case is beautiful to look at, hold and use. The real issue here is that the Touch is so nice to look at out of the case, I was, at first, reluctant to put it in the case. The Touch also seems fragile - so I have come to believe that a case is a necessity - not a luxury. Thankfully, the case really doesn't add too much bulk to the Touch.

While I appreciated the cutout for the earphone jack - it needed to be a little more perfectly lined up. It took about a week for the leather to stretch a little and make it easier to plug in the headphones.

That is my only complaint with this case - it is just beautiful. It protects the Touch without adding too much bulk, it is very nice to hold and luxurious to look at. The belt clip allows easy attachment and removal from your belt. Piel Frama is truly one of the "elite" companies when it comes to fine leather cases and their prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the product.

Pros:

  • Beautiful leather and craftsmanship
  • impeccable attention to detail
  • offers good protection

Cons:

  • Earphone jack cutout is not perfectly lined up at the bottom of the case

Piel Frama Fine leather cases for the iPod Touch sell for about US$87.00 and upwards, based on the conversion rates for the Euro. Go to www.pielframa.com to purchase.




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