I purposely waited for this one. Saddleback Leather Co. sent me their small Gadget Pouch a couple weeks before the iPhone 4 launched. I used it a bit with my iPhone 3G, but I really wanted to wait until the iPhone 4. My wait paid off and now I have a case that blends in with my current home in Texas. The fun and raw story of the company that is Saddleback leather can be found here, but rather then retelling stories that aren’t mine, I’ll just give my thoughts on their Gadget Pouch.
Saddleback sent over the small rendition of the Gadget Pouch in tobacco, which is fitting given my newest site. Inside, they included a business card a soft cloth case for the pouch. For a second I thought about leaving the pouch in the box. I didn’t want my hands to rough up the beautiful leather, but then I realized the wear gave it the character that would make timeless. Finally, I let my dirty hands touch the leather. Oh how good real leather feels.
The first thing I noticed after finally coming to terms with touching the pouch was the weight and sturdiness of the case. It’s two pieces of full grain boot leather with pigskin interior. I don’t understand leather like the folks in El Paso do, but this is the real thing. It’s not something you will find in your local Apple Store (for now at least), and a boot shop will probably be able to tell you more about it than an Apple Genius. The stitching is industrial marine grade, which I assume means it’s pretty strong. My tests, which weren’t industrial in nature, found that it’s really strong. There is an opening at the top to slide the iPhone in and a small hole at the bottom allowing you to use the 30-pin connector without taking the phone out. The bottom hole also allows flex in the case, which is key for getting the iPhone in and out.
Saddleback claims the interior pigskin is the second strongest natural material, I don’t doubt them. The case is thick and the material makes you feel even better about the protection afforded to your iPhone. There is a tad bit of softness, but in general I’d describe the case as “firm.” The beautiful stitching on the side reates a hard frame around the phone. The one are of concern is the top. If the phone lands on the the top of the case, there are going to be scratches in all likelihood. That being said, it’s the first case I put my brand new iPhone 4 in – so that’s probably a pretty good endorsement.
It worked with the iPhone 3G, but that’s a cluttered definition of “worked.” Getting the iPhone in was a fun enough task and getting it out required some force. Now, there was an obvious break-in period, but every time a call came, there were 50-50 odds as to whether I would get my phone out quick enough to answer the call. Then came the iPhone 4. The shaved bulk means that the iPhone slides nicely into the pouch. Two firm shakes and the iPhone slips out, or I can just use the hole at the bottom to push the phone out. Unfortunately, the game that entertained those around me for the first few days of using the Gadget Pouch is now sadly defunct. Fortunately, the Gadget Pouch as a case is a whole lot more usable.
In the End
I’m not an iPhone case addict by any stretch of the imagination. But, I do go through them pretty frequently. Occasionally, I’ll find one that keeps me occupied for a couple months and that will be my case of choice, then there are times like now where I have a lot to try out. A few cases come to mind as ones where I would get questions constantly, but this is definitely towards the top. The striking design, the classic looks and the timeless character of the Gadget Pouch intrigues people. It’s not for everyone, but it’s hard to imagine a pouch I’m going to like more. For those that want to reconnect with their inner-Texan, the Gadget Pouch (Small) is available in four colors directly from Saddleback for $31.00.