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: Sound2Go/Advanced MP3 Players UK
Model: SoundBag with PowerBank
Price: £39 (approx. US$73)
Compatible: iPod 3G, 4G, 5G, nano, mini, 1G/2G*, shuffle*
This blue-colored semi-hard carrying case for iPods zips open to reveal a NXT flat-panel speaker system and battery charger, which connect to most iPods through a Dock Connector port on the case's bottom. SoundBag's internal lithium-ion battery provides power for both the iPod and speakers, running for a promised seven-plus hours with a fully charged iPod, less with a discharged iPod. There are input ports for auxiliary audio-in - if you're using, say, an iPod shuffle or early iPod - and power-in from an Apple wall charger, which the company presently includes in the package, but future buyers may have to supply themselves.
Company: AVA Showcase
Model: Sportskin/Sports Case Combo
Compatible: iPod nano
As contrasted with the company's nicer LAVA series of iPod nano cases, this generally unremarkable silicone rubber case and armband package includes two bands and a clear lanyard necklace, both unceremoniously pushed through holes left on the case's rear surface. A flip-open Dock Connector cover provides easy access to the iPod's data port, while a full-time headphone port hole is used to limit your need to open or close the cover. Textured sides and two color choices (all black or white with blue straps) are the only semi-novel features here; a magnetic cord manager ("cable grip") is included as well.
Company: AVA Showcase
Model: Element and Smooth E
Compatible: iPod nano
These two plastic case designs are identical in shape, but different in coating. The Smooth E case comes in glazed solid plastic tones, while Elements comes in your choice of chrome or gold metallic. Of the two, Elements has the larger bundle, with a fabric carrying case, black lanyard, magnetic cord manager ("cable grip"), and Click Wheel sticker protector, while Smooth E includes only a Click Wheel sticker protector. Both cases have integrated clear screen protectors and velvet interiors, snapping apart into two pieces. They also have unique mechanical sliding Hold switch covers.
This nothing special leather flip case for fifth-generation iPods is specifically sized to fit either a 60GB iPod or a 30GB iPod, depending on the version you purchase, and both black and white versions are available. A card pocket slot on the inside front flap is the only part that really looks different from similar cases we've seen. We're not especially impressed by the case's cut-out holes for the top, bottom, or sides, and though the case is nappa leather, it doesn't otherwise have the indicia of a high-quality design. It's one we'd pass on.
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