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Helium Digital Leatherback Flip iPhone / iPod Touch Case

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An iPod Touch – or an iPhone, if you really felt you needed a phone that was smarter than most of your friends – will start looking a lot less leading edge after it’s been used for a while. Scratches, dents, a damaged screen and a few unidentifiable stains can serve to make these icons of technology and general coolness resemble leftovers from an upmarket garage sale.

This is, of course, why there are cases available for these devices. In fact, there are a bewildering number of cases available for them, ranging from really cheesy and objectionable ones, right on up to rhodium-plated micro-sarcophagi hand-tooled with Edwardian hunting scenes. Most of these suffer from the same palette of shortcomings, too – they’re either too ugly to look at without suffering permanent retinal damage; they’re too awkward to use, causing them to be hurled across the room in time; or they offer no detectable protection for that which they encase.

I got through several lesser cases, all of which wound up as dog toys, before I happened upon the Helium Digital Leatherback case for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s so nicely thought out, so profoundly cool and so shockingly functional as to all but overcome the disturbing truth that I happened upon it in Walmart.

As its name might imply, the Leatherback case isn’t made of plastic. It’s stitched together from cowhide. This will cause steam to erupt from the ears of vegans and PETA people, but for conventional earthlings, it looks really nice. It feels a lot more agreeable than sweaty plastic, too, and it will infuse any iPhone or iPod Touch with a bit of steampunk neo-Victorian elegance.

Consisting of a case proper and a cover that flips over it and gets held in place by hidden magnets, the Leatherback Flip has no moving parts, no catches to break, no windows to open and it doesn’t require that you view a DVD to get your iPod installed in it.

Openings in the interior panel of the case allow an iPhone or and iPod Touch to be used without removing it. This having been said, you can extract whatever’s in one of these cases pretty effortlessly.

Unlike plastic, cowhide is seriously strong, and if you do manage to beat up the case, it will look distressed and rugged, rather than cracked and loathsome.

At about twenty-five dollars – albeit, the Walmart price – a Helium Digital Leatherback Flip should clearly enfold every iPhone or iPod Touch on earth. Yes, there’d be a sudden cow shortage, and yes every dog on the planet would have discarded polyethelene iPhone cases stuck between its teeth, but these matters are as naught compared to a scatch-free, virginal iPhone.

One word of caution if you do decide to spring for one of these things. The phone is cool, and the case is cool – flipping the top and instructing Scotty to beam you up is not.