Model: Hive Response
Compatible: iPod touch 5G
Incipio Hive Response for iPod touch 5G
Hive Response for iPod touch 5G ($25) is the latest edition of Incipio's gaming case. Based on the earlier Hive design for the fourth-generation iPod touch, which evolved into the current form factor for the iPhone 4 and 4S, the core concepts behind the case remain unchanged. Aimed primarily at a younger crowd, Hive Response is thicker than many cases, but that's an intentional design decision to make the iPod easier to grip during gaming sessions. It comes with a screen protector film, cleaning cloth, and applicator card.
As before, the case consists of two pieces: a thick, silicone rubber core with a raised honeycomb pattern, and a hard plastic central frame for support. Both elements are made out of quality material that neither looks or feels cheap compared to other cases. The rubber bulges out at the ends, making the case more comfortable to hold, particularly in landscape orientation; that’s the main selling point. At its thickest, Hive Response is 0.62” deep, significantly larger than the iPod touch inside. Thankfully the rubber’s smooth coating makes the case easy to slide in and out of a pocket. One new addition with this version of the case is a kickstand built into the plastic. It adds extra functionality without increasing the size, so we appreciate it.
We prefer cases that don’t diminish the pleasant clickiness of the iPod touch’s buttons, so it’s great that Hive Response actually increases their tactility. Press any of the three covered buttons and you’ll not only feel it, but hear it, as well. Combined with the protective screen lip and separate openings for the headphone port, Lightning port, and speaker, Hive Response can certainly be considered among one of the better options we’ve seen in terms of protection. Some users may feel that Incipio went too far, as it chose to cover the loop button; other users will like the added protection. We can understand why it may make sense with this specific case, but gamers looking for wrist strap access may feel otherwise.
Taken as a whole, Hive Response offers small but welcome improvements on previous iterations: it’s less expensive than before, adds a kickstand, and offers plenty of protection with nice button tactility. While it’s not a case that’s going to appeal to everyone, it’s executed well for what Incipio had in mind; it will appeal largely to kids who are into gaming—and might be more likely to abuse an iPod. Overall, Hive Response is worthy of a B+ rating and strong general recommendation; it comes as close as we’ve yet seen to justifying the existence of a gaming-focused case for an iPod.