Review: XtremeMac TuffWrap Plus for iPod nano
The only thing that's difficult about reviewing XtremeMac's TuffWrap Plus case for the iPod nano ($25) is rating it: once again, XtremeMac has come up with a silicone case design that's way above average in looks, and a little bit better than the norm in protection, as well as a little more expensive.
Though it shares the same name with the standard TuffWrap case for iPod nano, TuffWrap Plus really isn’t the same product at all. XtremeMac here has done away with the less expensive product’s distinctive two-tone silicone rubber coloration in favor of a two-material hybrid of rubber and hard plastic, together designed to protect the iPod nano’s entire body—save for its bottom surface.
Unlike TuffWrap, which looked really nice by combining black and gray colors together, TuffWrap Plus comes in two distinct colors, black or frosted clear, each with a completely clear detachable front shield. Passive side clips hold the front plastic shield in place, and in a nice aesthetic twist, use clean curves to expose the ribbed sides of the rubber case. It’s a rough draw on whether the TuffWrap or TuffWrap Plus design looks better, which tilts our rating in favor of the standard, cheaper TuffWrap.
On the flip side, TuffWrap Plus is a little more protective. The clear front shield adds a little bulk to the screen, which TuffWrap covered in film, and an integrated rubber Click Wheel guard provides complete protection rather than leaving the central Action button exposed like the film cover from the less expensive model. XtremeMac still includes a carabiner hook attachment with Plus, just as it does with TuffWrap, making their only differences the ones noted above.
Neither case includes the sort of frills we see more often these days in more deluxe iPod cases—a video stand, a bottom port cover, a belt clip, or a lanyard. While we don’t honestly miss most of these features, their inclusion would further justify the $25 asking price, which is on the higher side of the iPod nano silicone case spectrum these days.
TuffWrap Plus sells for a $5 premium over the standard TuffWrap, which isn’t a lot, but we tend to expect more than just small protectiveness improvements and nice but not definitively better aesthetic changes to differentiate two case designs. Instead, the cases are so closely matched in features and design quality that we’d narrowly give the lower-priced version the edge here, and with cases such as PDO’s TopSkin out there offering similar iPod nano protection and more in-box frills for only $15, it’s hard to justify that $10 price difference on cosmetics alone. That said, given how attractive TuffWrap Plus looks, we wouldn’t be surprised if you felt differently. We consider this to be a very good case, and worthy of our strong but general level recommendation.