Back to the Future!
PROS: improves the grip, protects from scratches, perfect fit, high quality leather, imprinted buttons.
CONS: price, will not work with tempered glass screen protector.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Manufacturer website: Dignis.
About year and a half ago, I have written a series of reviews dedicated to Dignis leather cases for Lotoo PAW Gold, iBasso DX80, Cayin N5, and FiiO X7 DAPs. At that time, majority of DAP manufacturers either didn’t include one or provided very basic silicone cases to improve the grip and to protect from scratches. Seeing these uninspiring and boring stock cases designs, Dignis quickly realized the demand for products that don’t just protect, but also fit like a glove without hiding the beauty of the DAP while wrapping your investment in a luxury leather.
So, what happened next? Many manufacturers started to notice the popularity of Dignis cases and decided to follow with their own upgrades, either as a stock or as an optional accessory. Some used real leather, like Cowon, iBasso, theBit (though, Opus cases are by Dignis), others had pleather cases, like FiiO, Cayin, Shanling, etc. As a result, Dignis decided to limit its design to selected DAPs and portable DAC/amps. Luckily, Sony WM1Z, I’m in a process of reviewing now, got the green light! While I was eager to review Dignis leather case for 1Z (MIDAS model), I also received a surprise bonus, a special edition Walkman case designed in collaboration with Sony. Let me share more about it.
Manufacturer link: MIDAS.
Regardless of this being “just a case”, Dignis always put an effort to make a very elegant packaging, with a nice compact box that has outline of the DAP with a case on its cover, and a protective tray for the case inside, with a pocket on the back of the tray for user guide and protective film. This protective film is pre-cut for the open top of the DAP, around headphone outputs, and another piece to apply on a memory card cover at the bottom. Along with a case, I also received a matching leather strap which arrived in its own box.
It was a nice presentation with a luxury feeling, and the visual and the smell of the leather was impressive.
The MIDAS case for WM1Z/1A comes in 6 colors: black, deep blue, brown, vivid red, vivid red strong, and dolis skyblue. I thought the brown leather will be a perfect match for a gold tone of 1Z chassis, and indeed, it matches nicely. This is not just a regular smooth brown leather. It has an aged leather retro look with a special pattern, not too dark or too light, with a nice stitching, Dignis logo, and NFC marker (aligned with a DAP) on the back.
The case has a very tight fit, like a glove wrapped around the sexy curves of 1Z. You can feel how it enhances the grip and creates a friction with any surface you place it on. Inside the case, leather is soft with “dignis” imprinted pattern, protecting the chassis from scratches and minor bumps. But remember, it’s not intended to protect from drops on a hard surface – that is a reason why wrist strap is important. The included users guide provides instruction how to remove the case, and you do need to apply some force, so make sure you do that over the covered surface, just in case if you drop it.
The case has a generous opening around ports, including charging port and memory card door. On the right side, volume and control buttons are covered, and every button is imprinted with corresponding functionality symbol so you can easily feel it by sliding your finger over it. On the left side, Hold button is open with an easy access. Top is fully open as well; that’s where you slide the case in. The case wraps around the sides of 1Z body, creating a raised protection around the front glass so you can place the DAP face-down without worrying about scratching the glass. The only problem here, you can’t use this case with a tempered glass screen protector because you will peel it off when sliding the DAP out. Would have been a good idea for Dignis to include a film screen protector here.
The leather strap, optional and available in matching color with a case, is also high quality. With a neat stitching on outside, it has a softer leather inner layer to cushion the weight of 1Z pulling on it, and a nice adjustable cinch to keep it secure around your wrist. I know, this strap is bigger and bulkier in comparison to the included stock Sony’s thin black strap, but it matches so well with a case, giving it a more retro look.
Manufacturer link: Walkman.
Unboxing a case shouldn’t be a big surprise since you kind of know what to expect. The only surprise is sometimes to see the actual color in person while comparing to the web pictures. Here, I found a silver Walkman box with a classic “WALKMAN” name printed on top, even using the original font. When you take the tray with a case out, you still find a pocket on the back with users guide and protective film for the top of the DAP and another piece for a memory card cover. But the main view of the case brought sweet memories.
In collaboration with Sony, Dignis was able to create an authentic Sony Walkman look. This limited-edition case available only in skyblue leather color. No wrist strap is available, but I think the original stock one in black matches it very well.
Similar to MIDAS, the case also has a very tight fit, like a glove wrapped around the sexy curves of 1Z. It also enhances the grip and keeps it from sliding when placed on any surface. Inside the case, leather is soft with “dignis” imprinted pattern, protecting the chassis from scratches and minor bumps. Just remember, this case is not intended to protect the DAP if you drop it on a hard surface, thus use a wrist strap.
In general, the case has nearly identical design to MIDAS with a generous opening around ports, including charging port and memory card door. The right side covers the control and volume buttons, where every button is imprinted and easy to feel by sliding your finger across. A special attention was given to a Power button, in red and raised like the original physical button in Walkman. Hold button is open with an easy access to slide it. Top is fully open, to get 1Z inside the case. Similarly, the case wraps around the sides of 1Z body, creating a raised protection around the front glass so you can place the DAP face-down without worrying about scratching the glass. And, likewise, I wouldn’t recommend using tempered glass here since you will peel it off when sliding the DAP out.
The special treat of this case is when you flip it to see the back. This Walkman case has a soft blue leather with a very realistic cassette window made from some soft vinyl material. The details of the cassette window are dead on, looking like a real plastic window with tape spools, even having a reflection. Furthermore, you also have a raised red power button which looks realistic, and actually functional since it aligns with a power button of WM1Z/1A.
Sony WM1Z/1A DAPs already have a stock case, a flip case that some might not find exactly ideal since you have to constantly flip it open/close when dealing with a touch screen, plus it covers the usb port when closed. The stock case does offer a better level of drop protection since it uses a hard plastic with a felt soft material on the inside, but some might want an alternative to dress up and to protect their fine investment. Without a doubt, Dignis case for WM1Z/1A is one of those fine alternatives. With a fine premium leather quality, tight fit without hiding DAP curves, sharp details of buttons imprinted in leather, and all the generous port opening – it looks and feels luxurious. The Walkman case is very original, not tacky, and definitely will turn people’s heads. Of course, these cases are not cheap, they come at a premium price, but in my opinion, the quality of the material, the workmanship, and the design can justify it.