Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
Company: Griffin Technology
Model: PowerBlock Travel
Compatible: iPod 4G, 5G, nano, mini, shuffle
Expanding upon the company's earlier PowerBlock wall charger accessory, Griffin has released PowerBlock travel (capitalization theirs), a larger package containing three international wall blade adapters, a simple fabric carrying case with drawstring, and the prior combination of a USB wall charger and iPod-to-USB cable. Though there aren't as many wall blades in the package as you might find in, say, a Radio Shack collection, Griffin's pack-ins will work in countries with matching wall outlets and voltages from 110V to 240V.
Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPod 5G
This new two-tone rubberized case for fifth-generation iPods includes a flip-out back stand that lets you view the 2.5" video screen on your choice of angles, and includes top and bottom ports for access to headphones and bottom-mounting accessories during playback. A clear hard screen protector and a sizer insert for 30GB iPods are both included in the package.
Compatible: iPod mini, nano, 5G
Sold in iPod nano ($45), iPod mini ($35), and iPod 5G ($75) versions, these heavy-duty machined aluminum iTank cases split into two pieces - one a deep rear shell, the other a shallow front shell, each with soft padding. You drop your iPod into the rear shell, put the front shell on, and use an included wrench to tighten six screws around the case's sides. Once assembled, the cases are claimed to be virtually indestructable, with clear Lexan screen protection and enough aluminum to absorb iPod drops or person-on-iPod drops. A detachable carabiner hook is included with each case for easy carrying; no belt clip is used. A couple of caveats: the headphone ports are too small for larger-than-Apple headphone plugs, and our sample cases arrived with some fairly significant front scratches.
Company: H2O Audio
Compatible: iPod 5G
Designed to be used with the company's Waterproof Housing for iPod (with video), which is sold separately, the H2O Audio Swimbelt wraps Velcro-adjustable neoprene around your waist so that you can surf or swim without wearing the Housing's included armband. A clear soft plastic window provides visual access to the 5G's screen, and a hole gives you access to the case's mechanical Click Wheel cover.
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