Review - Dignis leather cases for iBasso DX80, Cayin N5, FiiO X7, Lotoo PAW Gold, and Sony WM1Z/WM1A
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This is a Review of Dignis cases for iBasso DX80, Cayin N5, and FiiO X7.  http://www.dignis.co.kr/product/list.html?cate_no=54.
 
It seems that every few months we have another new DAP release, and they all show an improvement in build and sound quality.  But one thing remains unchanged: manufacturers still cut the corners when it comes to protective cases.  With an exception of Astell & Kern and Luxury & Precision, some include just a basic silicone skin case, while others don't even bother.  I guess the idea behind silicone skin is to protect DAP body from scratches, to protect the surface you put your DAP on from scratches, to provide a very basic bump protection, and to offer a better grip, not to mention being a perfect lint magnet.  From a functional perspective these cases do the job, but aesthetically - it's boring and uninspiring, and often they cover up details of DAP design.
 
One company quickly realized the demand to dress up audio players, regardless if it’s a $2k flagship or $200 entree level, and came up with their own line of premium Italian leather cases well known for their precise fit and top level of craftsmanship.  These premium cases do come with a premium price tag, typically around $50.  But once you see the unique design, the selection of different colors, and the feel of genuine leather - the price becomes more reasonable.   Keep in mind, this is a not a must-have accessory but rather a luxury add-on to spoil your favorite DAP.  But gotta warn you, once you dress your DAP up in a Dignis leather suit, you will not want to take it off, unless required to remove your uSD/SD card if a particular design covers it up (not all do).
 
If you look at Dignis website, they have been very consistent with all the latest popular DAP releases, but unfortunately not all of them stay continuously for sale.  I’m still kicking myself for not buying PAW Gold case since it’s no longer available, and after getting my hands on DX80, C5, X7, and recently Opus#1 Dignis cases – I realized what I have been missing.  The fit of every case is like a custom made glove, hugging every corner and every curve.  The stitching, obviously decorative, is very neat and clean.  The Dignis name is stamped on the back.  All the necessary ports are generously open and easy to access.  Some designs have buttons covered, while others have them exposed, depending on the layout.  The leather finish/texture varies, some are smoother while others are a bit grainier, but it’s real Italian imported leather, not a pleather.
 
Don’t worry, I will not go into my usually 10-page review ramble, and instead will do a brief overview of each case with my observation comments, providing a direct link, and the usual beauty shots from every angle.  Dignis main website is in Korean, and they do have a link to English version, but it’s limited to only a couple of cases.  The best place to look for Dignis products is on Amazon.  All these 3 review units were provided to me by Extreme Audio who is their exclusive US distributor.
 
* click on images to expand.
 

 
iBasso DX80 case ($49.95, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ABUZQ8O/, manufacturer link: http://www.dignis.co.kr/product/detail.html?product_no=112)
 
DX80 already has a very comfortable shape for a single hand operation, thanks to its narrow width, touch screen, and unique 3 large transport buttons under the display.  The design is slick and all metal, and it could feel a bit slippery in your hands.  The included silicone case does the job to enhance the grip and to cover buttons, but it’s also acts as a lint magnet and doesn't really compliment DX80 curves. 
 
The Dignis case hugs the body of DX80 very snugly, leaving the top fully exposed for access to micro-usb charging port, dual uSD cards, and coax/optical port.  The bottom has access to HO and LO ports, a single shared opening with a generous cutout.  Power and Volume buttons on the sides are covered, easy to feel when you slide your finger, and have a nice tactile response of physical buttons.  The front large transport buttons also have a nice raised shape, stamped with corresponding functionality ids, easy to press, and with a nice tactile feedback.  The case adds a minimum bulk to the DAP, and feels very premium and non-slippery in my hand.  Case stays very secure on DX80.  To remove it, you just need to hold the case with one hand gripping around the sides, and push up DX80 with a finger through HO/LO opening.
 
Unboxing.
 
 
 
 
Design and Fit (red).
 
 
 

 
Design and Fit (brown).
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
Cayin N5 case ($49.90,  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018XBGFZ6/, manufacturer link: http://www.dignis.co.kr/product/detail.html?product_no=111)
 
For anybody familiar with N5 design, the first thing that goes through your mind when you hold it in your hands – it’s a shame to hide it in a case.  The heft of the metal, the unique layout of controls, the design of scrolling wheel and control buttons, the carbon fiber back – it’s definitely an eye candy.  The included silicone case just dulls it up, covering all the buttons and protecting from scratches while also enhancing the grip.  Even Cayin recognized that people will not be all too happy with silicone skin case, and they released their own pleather case, which I must say not bad at all and will cost you less than a half of Dignis case price.  But, it’s not a Dignis case!
 
For this design the black leather case I received is smoother and softer in comparison to DX80 brown leather finish.  The top is fully open, exposing power button, balanced HO, single ended HO/LO, and Coax ports.  Also, due to a unique bevel of the top back design, Dignis included a stick on piece of leather so you can completely “cover” the back of N5.  Great idea, though personally I prefer to leave it exposed without sticking anything on the DAP.  Bottom of the case only has an opening for micro-USB3 port while covering both uSD card slots.  In this case you will have to remove the DAP if you want to replace/remove storage cards.  The side with Volume and M buttons has a cutout to access these buttons directly.  This opening is wide enough and also prevents from accidental pushing of the buttons.
 
The display opening of the case is wide enough to include the left side bezel area with horizontal grooves.  This is a unique design element of N5 and I’m glad Dignis kept it open.  The same with 3 buttons on the front side, they are left open and have an extra cutout on the left to see the functionality.  The scrolling wheel also has a precise cutout and an extra opening to the right so you can see the charging light.  This cutout follows precisely the design lines of N5.  To remove the case, you would hold it in one hand and use a tip of a pen or a pencil to push up through micro-USB opening at the bottom.
 
In comparison to Cayin pleather case, Dignis edges are more rounded and more pleasant to hold in your hand.  Also, original Cayin case has the area to the left of the screen covered, and Skip and Return buttons are covered while functionality is stamped on the top.  The scrolling wheel opening doesn’t have extra exposed area on the right, though you can still see the charging light.  Also, Cayin case has Volume and M buttons covered on the side, and they actually did a good job making sure you can feel those buttons and get a nice tactile response.  In this case, no pun intended, I like both implementations, covering or leaving the buttons exposed.  But covering them up hides the design elements of N5, so overall preference still goes to Dignis case.
 
Unboxing.
 
 
 
 
Design and Fit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Comparison between Dignis and Cayin cases.
 
 

 

 
FiiO X7 case ($49.95, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B2I3D7A/, manufacturer link: http://www.dignis.co.kr/product/detail.html?product_no=114)
 
From day one when I received my X7 review unit, I said: this DAP NEEDS a case!!!  The shape of X7 is a traditional smartphone bar with a bit of a heft and a slick all metal design which you can easily drop.  Besides that, you also have a symmetrical button layout which I quite often get salty about because I’m spoiled with access to many DAPs and along with my Galaxy smartphones always forget which side is for volume/power and which one for playback control.  I was patiently waiting for the case and was quite happy with FiiO’s original pleather design, never tested their leather version but I assume the difference will be in material only, not the design.
 
Well, Dignis takes this to a new level, but it’s not 100% perfect.  Here, I received their brown leather case which actually has a combination of N5 case softness and DX80 case slight graininess.  Top is fully closed except for a generous LO port opening.  Bottom is fully open, exposing HO and micro-usb ports.  Also, you don’t have to worry about future AM expansion with additional balanced HO port since there are no individual port cutouts – the bottom of the case is how you get this leather jacket on/off X7.  Sides are covered, which means you will have to remove X7 to get access to uSD card if you want to replace it.  To remove X7, just use a pen or pencil pushing on LO port to slide X7 out.  Also, works perfectly with tempered glass protector, no issues here.
 
The touch screen opening is generous and has enough margin at the bottom to show the blue light, something that original FiiO pleather case covered (at least the case I received).  There is also a little cutout at the top of the screen opening, if I’m not mistaken for the light sensor, very tastefully implemented by Dignis.  Unlike the original FiiO pleather case, the sides of Dignis case are rounded, and in comparison the original FiiO case looks boxy.  Even at the top on the back where you have “step-down” due to a battery hump, Dignis found an interesting way how to pull the leather with a wider piece so it hugs the X7 shape better.  Also, unlike original FiiO case where X7 was sliding out by me dropping my hand down with some force, Dignis case stays on secure.
 
But regardless of all these advantages, Dignis made one mistake in their design – they kept side buttons covered.  They are slightly imprinted and have a different texture which you can feel by sliding your finger, but it’s not as noticeable and kind of narrow.  One thing I wasn’t too crazy about X7, just my subjective opinion, is pressing buttons by accident when I hold this DAP with my hands wrapped around it – symmetrically you push buttons on one side while my fingers also push it on the opposite side.  Here, you are kind of enhancing this accidental pressing since you have a tighter cover of the buttons and you don’t feel them as well on the opposite side of the grip.  You still get a nice tactile response, but I wasn’t digging these buttons being covered and wish they would leave the cutout similar to FiiO original case implementation or the way how Dignis had it with N5 case.  Personally, I hope Dignis will revise X7 case with a cut out openings on the sides.
 
Unboxing.
 
 
 
 
Design and Fit.
 
 
 
 
 

 
Comparison between Dignis and FiiO cases.
 
 

 
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reserved.
 
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Lotoo PAW Gold case ($69.95, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVWHR4Y/, manufacturer link: http://www.dignis.co.kr/product/detail.html?product_no=87)
 
I guess I spoke too soon when I said that LPG case is no longer available.  Apparently, it's no longer available in 3 out of 4 original colors, but one color just made its triumphant return - Papavero red "poppy" color.  PAW Gold is a relative small DAP but it has a nice heft and thickness to it, and any grip enhancement case is very welcome.  I’m still not sure about the logic behind releasing $2k flagship without even a basic silicone skin, but just guessing that Lotoo probably thought that ergonomics of the design doesn’t require any cover up.  Either way, I’m glad Dignis stepped up to the plate.  Maybe in the future they would reconsider another limited production run with all 4 different colors of this case, but for now we are left with only one color - red.
 
I know what some might think, red?!?  Not a very common color among typical black and brown DAP cases.  Well, first of all you don't have a choice anymore because it's the only available color you can buy from Dignis.  To my surprise, after a short period of time it actually grew on me.  I have a bin full of DAPs, all properly dressed in leather cases, and among black/brown selection the red is very easy to find.  We are not talking about a dull red uniform color, but a rather vibrant leather-pattern "worn out" red case.  To be honest, I wasn’t as crazy about DX80 red leather case because it had no patterns on it.  This Dignis case has more personality and looks better.
 
I also found Gold navigation pad and power button to blend in very nicely with red leather.  Both openings in the front of the case were large enough not to obstruct the operation, and I like how Dignis imprinted the functionality icons for Play/Pause, Skip Next/Prev, and Stop.  Other 5 buttons are covered, easy to press while feeling a nice tactile response, and also have imprinted functionality so you don’t have to guess.  USB3 and power charging port opening is combined and generous enough not to obstruct cable connection.
 
The top of the case is fully open, providing full access to a volume pot and HO, LO, Gain, and Hold.  It’s easy to insert LPG through this opening into the case, but not as easy to take out since my trick of using a pencil to push it up doesn’t work in here due to a bottom of the case being fully sealed.  In theory you only need to remove PAW Gold from the case if you want to take out SD card, and if you have to do that – try to grab LPG around volume wheel area and wiggle it as you pulling it out.
 
Unboxing.
 


 
Design & Fit.
 



 
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It has been awhile since I updated this thread, now it's time for Dignis Leather case review for Sony WM1Z/WM1A DAPs!!!


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.


Intro.

As you can see from my previous write ups above, posted 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.

MIDAS case.
(http://shop2.dignis.cafe24.com/product/midas-sony-nw-wm1-case/133/)

Unboxing.

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.

dignis_wm1z_case-02.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-03.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-04.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-05.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-06.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-07.jpg

Design/Fit.

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.

dignis_wm1z_case-09.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-10.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-12.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-13.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-14.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-15.jpg

Walkman case.
(http://shop2.dignis.cafe24.com/product/midas-dignis-x-sony-nw-wm1-limited-case/175/)

Unboxing.

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.

dignis_wm1z_case-16.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-17.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-18.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-19.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-20.jpg

Design/Fit.

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.

dignis_wm1z_case-21.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-22.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-23.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-24.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-25.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-26.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-27.jpg dignis_wm1z_case-28.jpg

Conclusion.

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.
 
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imparanoic

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Dignis cases look really nice and high quality as well as functional
 
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