Now that the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android review is up, it’s time to look at some way to protecting it. For the last few months I’ve been using a leather case from I-Nique, the same guys who made other cases we’ve reviewed in the past. Read on for a quick review.
Design and use
I-Nique has some cases with very nice etched patterns on them, but for those who want a more plain look they have cases like the Napa. The lid has no pattern to it other than a decorative button-like metal ornament and it looks somewhat like a wallet when you first see it. The leather used on the lid is also a bit thin and lose in that you can easily pinch it to create wrinkles, something you can’t normally do with most leather cases. I personally prefer firmer leather, but that’s a subjective matter.
The lid flips open to reveal the device held inside a leather frame with openings for the speaker, buttons and so on. There isn’t that much of a bezel around the giant screen of the Archos, which is of course mirrored by the case. There’s also a credit card holder on the inside of the lid, which is a peculiar choice at least on the version of the case that’s made for the flash version as microSD holders would be more useful. If all you need is a credit card though, this could technically replace your wallet/card holder.
The back of the case has a flip-out stand that locks into place with a push button when not in use. This replaces the built-in flip out stand of the Archos which isn’t possible to use while the device is in the case. The push button is a bit annoying though as it’s a bit tight and hard to use, and considering how they’ve used magnetic locks for everything else on the case I don’t see why they didn’t do that with the flip out stand as well.
The back also has a magnetic button for holding the lid shut and a screw for their Wrap-M cable holder. All this makes the back look very cluttered and unorganized, and as I’ll touch on in a bit the Wrap-M and flap could have easily been skipped- something I think they’ve done on the other Archos 5 IT case they offer.
The locking system used for the lid is mighty peculiar. The right side of the case has the long flap that locks into place on the back but there’s also another much shorter flap on the top of the lid which locks into place on the bottom of the case (not the back). The former has a physical knob that locks into place as well as the magnetic aspect, which makes it a lot stronger than the magnet-only shorter flap. the result is that to flip open the lid you have to not only open two flaps located on different nonparallel sides of the case but also deal with different strength locks. This is very unbalanced and awkward to use and a constant annoyance when using the case. The long right side flap also goes around the right side of the case to lock in on the back, which means it also covers the open right side of the case where you slide in the device. It would have been a much better choice to use that flap to only secure the device opening and not the lid itself, as the other magnetic flap is both strong enough to hold the lid in place and it’s much better placed and easier to use. As the system is now, the presence of and strength of that extra flap makes it seem like the lid is meant to stay shut.
As for the Wrap-M system it’s the same thing they use on other cases including the one I reviewed for the Sony S540. I suggest reading the Wrap-M part of that review to find out more about the system, but in my opinion it’s just wasted plastic.
All in all this is my least favorite I-Nique case so far, mostly due to the weirdly placed lid flaps and the use of three completely different locking mechanisms on a single case. It’s just too awkward to use and I would like to see them try another design for a Archos 5 IT case; something less fancy, with fewer random flaps. If you do want to try the case however, it can be bought from I-Nique.com.