Review: XtremeMac MicroShield & MicroShield Plus for iPod nano
What do you get if you make tiny tweaks to Tunewear's Tuneshell? XtremeMac's MicroShield ($20) and MicroShield Plus ($30) for iPod nano, slightly better designs that are otherwise so similar in execution as to be interchangeable. Each MicroShield gives you clear front and rear shells, plus a film-style partial Click Wheel cover; the standard version comes with a carabiner hook, and the Plus version instead includes a second rear shell with an integrated belt clip.
Rather than reiterate Tuneshell’s pros and cons, it suffices to note that MicroShield is a hint more protective and a hint nicer of a package because of its Click Wheel film and hook, which are superior in our view to Tunewear’s non-existent Wheel coverage and generic lanyard necklace; some users may prefer the neck accessory to the belt- or bag-ready one, though. You still get all the same top, bottom, side, face, and back coverage, plus an open bottom that’s fully accessory friendly while providing Hold switch access; the case still feels a little rough around the front edge.
MicroShield Plus strikes us as a little too expensive for the simple second rear shell that it offers. In its normal configuration, it’s just like MicroShield, but you pay the $10 premium for the belt clipped rear shell and lose the hook in the process. We found it hard to get the packaging film off of the belt clip, which has a very limited range of motion, and don’t really know that we’d pay anything extra to get this part. Other clip-laden cases, such as Contour Design’s iSee nano V3, do better on protection and versatility for a lower price.
The one gap in the MicroShields’ front protection is the Click Wheel guard, which is a donut-like ring of film that does nothing to cover the iPod nano’s central Action button. iSee nano V3 includes a full rubber cover, and Belkin’s Remix Metal has an integrated clear plastic cover; you’ll need to decide whether the metallic nano button is really in need of the extra protection.
All in all, the standard $20 MicroShield is a better value for iPod nano owners than many of the clear cases we’ve seen, while the $30 Plus version isn’t quite as good of a deal. Both cases look good and are above average but not ideal in protection, while about par in features, and not super innovative. Consider the $20 MicroShield a worthwhile option if you’re looking for clear protection at a fair price.