accessory

Throwback Thursday Review: Waterfield Design’s iPod Gear Pouch circa 2005

This review was originally published at PocketAnywhere in October 2005. Over the years the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch, now available as the Waterfield Padded Gear Pouch for $59, has evolved with the gadgets and gear of the modern enthusiast and has a great new design. The Waterfield gear pouch that I still use today from 11 years ago looks just as good as it did the day it arrived on my doorstep in 2005. What hasn’t changed with the product, is the durable quality.

Without need for more words, here is the originally published review of the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch.

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2201_image1Review By Jim McCarthy
Category: cases
Published: October 2005, PocketAnywhere

If a picture says a thousand words than I don’t need to write any more. Just take a minute to look over the photos of the Waterfield ipod Gear Pouch and ask yourself if this isn’t something that you need to have. For me there was no question. My iPod goes with me just about everywhere from house to car to office to picnics to gym and the Gear Pouch just makes sense for any iPod user because it keeps everything you could possibly need to hook-in your iPod anywhere.

Made from durable, yet fashionable Ballistic Nylon and a black, soft-lining, the iPod Gear Pouch is strong and protective when using the suggested way to pack the pouch (as shown in illustration at right). With this packing strategy, all iPod accessories slip into the pouch like matching puzzle pieces so not a cord or plastic knob bumps into the other causing additional friction or perhaps even scratching when rubbing against each other. This makes it safe to drop the iPod Gear Pouch into a bigger backpack or suitcase for travel.

From the photo it is obvious to where things go for maximum protection and fit. However, I found that placing all the cords in the center pocket, where the FM Transmitter and power pack are located in the photo made it easier to grab what you are looking for while driving. For example, I would keep the Belkin 12-volt DC Adapter as well as the USB/Firewire cable in the pouch area. If it fit, I also placed the Belkin Tunecast on top of the cables. It isn’t that large of an accessory and squishes well too. In the outside zippered pocket, the original and trend-setting white iPod earbuds and the remote wind up nicely and slide conveniently into the pockets. I tend to also carry an extra pair of small headphones and a splitter with me in case I need to share my iTunes with anyone.

Not just for the iPod
Waterfield may not be the first to advertise this, but the iPod Gear pouch can also be used for other gadgets and gizmos. Before my iPod arrived I used the Gear Pouch to store multiple PDAs and sync-n-charge cables. I also tossed in a digital camera and stored a few small SD (Secure Digital) cards in the outside zippered pocket. In fact I comfortably fit a PalmOne Tungsten T3, hp iPAQ 2215, and Toshiba PDR-T20 digital camera into the three inside pockets and then also packed a Belkin Wi-Fi CF card, sync-n-charge cables for each device and the Toshiba’s awkward power-supply into the middle pouch area. It wasn’t light weight, but fit three complete gadgets into one case that made it easy to carry. There are plenty of other uses for the Waterfield iPod Gear Pouch that you will come to discover when the time is right.

Anticipating the wide variety of use of the iPod Gear Pouch, Waterfield also has a more generic Gear Pouch (shown in the photo to the left) that is crafted with the same uniqueness and durability, but also available in three different sizes.

These generic Gear Pouches start at $19 and increase in size to just under the iPod Gear pouch. To learn more about Waterfield’s other products visit them on the web, http://sfbags.com.


Today’s gear pouches, as shown below, start at $39 and are available in four different sizes. You can buy your gear pouch, as well as other Waterfield Design bags, wallets, laptop sleeves and gaming cases at http://sfbags.com.

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Why I Threw Out My Skinomi TechGlass for Apple Watch After 24 Hours

When I found the Skinomi TechGlass was going to be available again the end of March I didn’t hesitate tapping the “Buy It Now” button on Amazon, but after the first 24 hours with it on my 42mm Apple Watch Sport I am extremely disappointed. So disappointed in fact that I am replacing it with their film based Skinomi TechSkin product or just not using a watch face protector at all.

There is an old saying “you get what you pay for” and for only $5.95 on Amazon, why did I expect anything better? I think that I expected something better because of my great experience with Skinomi’s film-based TechSkin product. Despite the clarity isn’t as good between the two products, the TechSkin fit edge to edge and didn’t leave a dusty looking ring. It didn’t change the design feel of the Apple Watch and provided an added level of scratch resistance without blurring the display.

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I actually tweeted my tech-bud @bryanlewis “first look: @bryanlewis the @Skinomi TechGlass is so ugly &about 2mm too small that I almost threw up a little. ” And, there’s that dust ring.

Skinomi did the best they could with design. If you look at many other tempered glass screen protectors they all have one design criticism in common: they are not an edge to edge fit. This makes sense because many devices from the Apple Watch and iPhone to the Samsung S7 have beveled and curved edges. This would require the glass protector to be precisely curved during manufacturing, which practically zero are, so therefore they can only cover the device’s flat surface area and often end up looking, well, awkward.

The awkwardness of the glass, however, was not the breaking point for me. It was the dust ring. You can clearly see it the photo above. The strange part is that this ring was not there when the glass was first applied to the watch face. It gradually appeared. And, to answer the obvious question, yes, I followed the very simple directions when applying, even though the instructions included were for a smartphone device (see image below). Between using the TechSkin film skin to first pick up all the tiny dust particles and then wiping down the watch face with the included Alcohol pad I expected to have no issues with clarity. The TechGlass dropped on perfectly the first time, without any need for adjustment or air-bubbling. I have to admit that I was initially very impressed with the TechGlass up until the dust ring appeared.

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I considered returning the product through Amazon, but as I started the process I noticed a “Return Policy” link. Here is what it said:

Customer satisfaction is our top-most priority. Skinomi.com offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee on all our products for any reason, as long as the item is returned within 30 days from the date the item is received. Items must be returned with the original packaging and order invoice.

Unopened items can be returned for a full refund within the 30-day period. Opened items can be returned for a refund of the purchase amount minus a minimum of $2.95 restocking fee within the 30-day period.

Is it just me or does the second paragraph contradict the first? They offer a 30Day Money Back Guarantee but if you’re product is opened, which mine is, there is a $2.95 restocking fee. Considering that I the purchased the Skinomi TechGlass from Amazon for only $5.95, less the $2.95 restocking fee, my estimated refund after also paying for return shipping be would cost me an additional $1.

Unfortunately because of Skinomi’s wacky Return Policy as well as the poor quality of the product, including shipping it with incorrect instructions, I’m going to toss my $5.95 in the recycle can alongside the packaging and order invoice and have to unfortunately not recommend the Skinomi TechGlass; even for the small price $5.95.

Skinomi® TechSkin screen protector for Apple Watch

I don’t care how tough you say your Gorilla or Ion-X glass may be: scratches happen, and just last week when I glanced at my Apple Watch Sport edition I noticed one of my biggest fears, a scratch. Yep, the Ion-X glass on the Apple Watch Sport is not as strong or durable as I thought. Of course, I was basing my confidence level on what the Apple Watch Sport web page says: 

To keep the Sport collection models as light as possible, we used aluminosilicate glass — the same material used in the windows of space shuttles and high-speed trains. It’s fortified at the molecular level through ion exchange, with smaller ions being replaced by larger ones to create a surface layer far tougher than ordinary glass.

Unfortunately it may be strong enough to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, but it’s no match for the edge of my oak end table. So naturally, within minutes I had the Amazon app open and my new Skinomi Techskin protector arrived the next day.

Before ordering, however, I did some quick research on screen protectors, having not really ever been satisfied by any for my iPhone. In fact as of this writing I still do not use one on myiPhone.  What I learned is that there are basically two styles of protectors: film and tempered glass. The latter, typically being the more expensive of the two materials. Some companies make screen protectors using both while other companies like Clear-Coat don’t (read Clear Coat’s reasoning).

Tempered glass, also known as tougher glass, is a type of glass that breaks differently than normal glass. Instead of shattering into large chunks it crumbles into small, smoother-edged pellets.  It’s most commonly used for automobile windshields, but also found in buildings, food service and mobile devices. You have probably heard of Corning’s Gorilla Glass. A tempered glass protector is a multi-layered screen protector. It has a bottom layer of absorbent silicon, PET film and an optically clear adhesive tempered glass and oleophobic coating. It may not be anymore scratch proof than your current mobile devices Gorilla Glass, but it does add an additional layer of strength that just could shatter itself before the manufacturers screen. That alone I think has some value to it.

Film based screen protectors are thin sheets of plastic cut to your devices manufactured screen size. They mainly are a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and TPU (thermoplastic polyreuthane) material. Unlike tempered glass, they typically only offer protection against light scratching and don’t add any additional strength to the screen which could prevent shattering of the device’s manufactured screen. Often they are cheaper than tempered glass protectors, although, they do tend have more air bubbles if not properly applied.

The Skinomi® TechSkin screen protector that I purchased is a film based product. It came packaged with screen solution, a cleaning cloth, quick 3 step instructions and 6 film protectors for the Apple Watch 42mm Sport.
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Putting on the protector was simple and flawless. Spray the screen lightly with the water based solution and then peel a protector off the sheet and apply. The water based solution will allow you to slide it around a little bit. Once you get it perfectly position use a credit card to firmly adhere it and push out any air bubbles. At first, the protector will be a bit blurry, but don’t worry, over the next several hours as the water based solution dries the clarity will restore itself. My only real complaint about the product is the plastic feel is not as smooth as glass and sometimes my touch doesn’t register because of the tackiness from time to time and requires a harder push. Otherwise, it has no air bubbles and already a few scratches so it’s definitely doing its job and protecting my Apple Watch.

Source
Purchased a 6-pack from Amazon

Pros

  • Easy to put on
  • Comes with 6 pre-cut pieces of film in the pack
  • Includes cleaning cloth which can be used for other things
  • No air bubbles and edges have not lifted after 2 weeks of use
  • Great value for the price
  • Reusable packaging for easy storage

Cons

  • plastic glare and touch
  • easily scratches (scuffed it up with a fingernail, but that’s its job and 6 are included)

Recommendation
For added protection against screen shattering buy the Skinomi tempered glass version 42mm or
buy the Skinomi tempered glass version 38mm. Otherwise the film based product will be suffice.