Review: Tunewear Icewear for iPod nano
Pros: A silicone rubber case with distinctive ribbed edges and included film protectors for the iPod nano’s screen, back, and Click Wheel. Available individually or in three-packs.
Cons: Competing options offer comparable protection at lower prices. Click Wheel film looks very wet on the nano’s face.
Before today, we’d reviewed three generations of Tunewear’s Icewear cases: one for iPod mini (iLounge rating: B), a slightly more protective one for the 4G iPod (iLounge rating: B+), and then a impressively protective and well-priced one for the iPod shuffle (iLounge rating: A). Now it has released Icewear nano ($20 for one, $30 for three-pack), which now includes TuneFilm, clear stickers that make up for protection the rubber case itself lacks.
All of the Icewear cases share one distinctive trait: they have ribbed edges that provide both unique looks and a little extra grip typically lacking in rubber cases. Because nano’s so small, Icewear nano’s ribs aren’t nearly as prominent as on its predecessors, but they’re still there on the sides, and as edging around the nano’s screen. Otherwise, the core Icewear case is frosted translucent, letting the color of your nano peek through. Pink and black versions are available in a three-pack we haven’t seen.
Icewear nano is a solid case on protectiveness, covering nano’s sides and back entirely, finally doing away with the slits Tunewear used to leave on the back of these cases - hooray. And Icewear covers all of nano’s front when used in conjunction with TuneFilm. Unlike the 5G iPod version of TuneFilm, the iPod nano film covers nano’s screen and Click Wheel rather than its full face, and generally doesn’t suffer from the same ragged edges we noticed on the 5G stickers.
But there are still significant air bubbles, ones we found especially hard to remove from the nano’s two-piece Click Wheel cover; it always looks “wet” when TuneFilm is on. Some people might not find this to be such a bad thing given Icewear’s frosted and otherwise not purely transparent appeal, but it still doesn’t look that great. The screen protector does substantially better, and you can avoid those air bubbles through proper cleaning of the iPod’s face before application. An extra sticker included for the nano’s back is optional, and does an acceptable job.
There are only two fully exposed portions of nano’s body: its Hold switch and bottom ports. Because of these holes, you won’t have a problem connecting any accessories here, but you also won’t be able to safely put keys in your pocket with the encased nano. It’s worth a brief related note that there’s no belt clip, hook, or other carrying option here - a fact we don’t mind much, but some people may feel differently.
Because of its textured body, Icewear has traditionally avoided falling into the commodity silicone case trap of many of its competitors, and it’s enough of a standout on looks that people will like it regardless of its omissions. But while we liked its looks a bit more than Marware’s equally protective Sport Grip (iLounge rating: B+), as just one example, Icewear is two times as expensive, and we’re not as fond of its included film. You do better if you buy the $30 three-pack, but for the same price you can get five iPod nano Tubes (iLounge rating: B+) from Apple. We still prefer the better-designed iSkin Duo (iLounge rating: A) overall, but Icewear nano’s a good case.