I hope this product gets reviewed soon, but I'd like to post some personal feedback on this item.

I'll mention that I also own the 'soft jacket' case by the same company, bought thanks to a review from this site (B+). The two cases are very much in the same spirit, and so I'll comment on the differences between them.

I have the black anodized aluminium version of this case (30GB). I really like the slim look of the ipod, and I am happy to report that it extends the thickness of the unit from 11mm to 15mm. By comparison, a bare 60/80 ipod is 14mm.

A very significant advantage of this case over others in its category is the silicone protective layer over the clickwheel, which other hard cases that I shopped for are missing almost universally.

It's silky smooth, likely the same material used in the soft jacket case, but works even better. In the soft jacket, there was a little slack between the wheel and the cover, so it would 'skip a beat' if you pressed down very hard with your thumb. Here, this problem doesn't exist, because the metal shell presses in tightly, and as a result, the overall feeling is much, much better.

The screen protector has no border and is thinner than the one that comes with the soft jacket version. It came impeccably clean, and is admirably scratch-resistant -- though I carry it in the same pocket as my keys all the time, it showing no signs of wear. A number of times, my heart would sink as a metal object scraped across the display, because I had forgotten all about the protector. It's worth mentioning that spare protectors are available for about $3.00. I bought one with my original purchase, and it is still on standby.

The metallic shell consists of two halves which lock together. The finish is very good, and the case has a sturdy feel. The locking mechanism doesn't look as secure as it might have been, but in practice, the hold is reasonably tight, in part thanks to the grip between the silicone and the aluminium. Holding the unit by the back half and shaking vigorously WILL, however, cause the halves to separate. If the belt clip is attached, the iPod will /not/ unsecure itself, but if this happens while you're biking on a bumpy surface, you will need to pick up the top half off the ground. That said, joggers shouldn't worry too much: I've made rather long runs without any problems. Still, even slightly deeper notches would be a very welcome change. This is the most serious problem with the case.

I was not a heavy user of the belt clip on the 'soft jacket', but I must say that it is greatly improved upon in this model. The other belt clip was difficult to use, and it was awkward forcing the ipod into it without stretching the silicone. The new belt clip has a piece of springy metal that makes the ipod snap into place when you insert it, and the button releases the grip (instead of just pushing the ipod out). And, of course, there's no more leaning forward from the weight because of the hard shell. Also, the belt clip now sports a cute cord manager that snaps shut (although it's awkward to use when the clip is attached).

The ports are exposed just enough to be very usable. The hold switch is easily accessible (the soft jacket covers it, leaving you to use your thumbnail to operate it, eventually resulting in a tear in that spot). The headphone jack is wide enough to support larger (and L-shaped) headphone plugs. I don't own a dock, but I'm fairly certain that it won't fit in the adapter. It likely WILL fit without the adapter (there's a comment in the soft jacket review about that).

As a final note, I found that the case adds a bit of heft to the ipod, making it feel noticeably heavier in the hand (though, as mentioned, the increase in dimensions is quite modest).

Overall, I recommend this item strongly, and would choose it over the soft jacket case without hesitation, because of the added protection, better screen and clickwheel protector, better belt clip, and good looks. With that in mind, it does cost nearly twice as much.

P.S. I believe that in addition to anodized black, blue, and pink, it is available in smooth and brushed stainless steel.

Posted by Stas on May 16, 2007 at 10:30 AM (PDT) Comment 1
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