Review: STM Cocoon for iPod nano
Pros: A good-looking semi-rigid travel case of quality construction with clamshell halves that zip closed; When closed, the case is completely protective. Well made, sturdy belt clip that’s slim enough to not be an issue for those who won’t use it.
Cons: A poor silicone sleeve is included in the package as an inner case; A hole in the outer shell for headphone jack access is very difficult to make use of.
We’ve always been impressed with Australian company Standard TM’s travel style Cocoon cases, with those for the both iPod mini (iLounge rating: A) and full-size iPods (iLounge rating: A) receiving our righest ratings due to their their wonderful build quality and smart design. Though it’s still a good choice, we were slightly less impressed with their latest Cocoon, designed for the iPod nano.
As with previous STM Cocoon cases, the Cocoon for nano is a clamshell-style case made of semi-rigid material often used for camera cases. The Cocoon’s two halves zip completely closed with a pair of quality zippers. Inside one half is a mesh pocket large enough to carry a pair of earbud-style headphones. Inside the other is a simple well which is deep enough for an iPod nano to fit into with an included slim case applied. The well is straddled by a thin piece of clear plastic intended to keep the iPod from falling out should you open the case upside down. In the corner of the outer case nearest the iPod’s headphone jack is a grommeted hole so that one can listen to the iPod with the case closed. Unfortunately, this hole is small and at a position and an angle such that getting Apple’s headphone jack properly inserted into the case and iPod is a challenge, and impossible with many larger third-party headphone jacks.
The Cocoon’s outer case is highly similar to that of its siblings, and generally just as well-made. Its hinge, seams, and zippers are all well-finished and all feel extraordinarily durable. Each half is nicely lined with a soft black felt. On the outside of the iPod-holding shell, a thin but sturdy simple metal belt clip is sewn into the outer material. Though not removable, the clip is sufficiently small to not bother those who won’t use it much.
Our biggest disappointment lies not in the Cocoon’s mostly excellent outer shell, but in the extraordinarily cheap silicone sleeve included as inner protection. The sleeve is frosted white silicone, and has three major problems. First and least significant, it has some of the roughest edges we’ve seen on such a case in quite some time.
Second, the sleeve’s attempt to protect the iPod’s screen with its very thin molded-in layer of silicone resulted in rather poor screen clarity, extremely murky and dirty-looking. In fact, the thin silicone screen protector looked tattered and worn out of the box.
Finally, the holes in the bottom of the sleeve for headphone and dock connector access are both too small for their respective plugs to make secure connections without first pulling the silicone out from underneath them. Even Apple’s slim cable connections were too large to fit without effort.
Value and Conclusions
At $10 cheaper than its A-rated iPod mini cousin, the STM Cocoon for iPod nano is an excellent value, though perhaps less so when considering the inner sleeve’s issues that weren’t present before.
We struggled a bit to decide upon a rating for this case, as the final grade would depend upon whether we viewed the included silicone case as a main package feature or a mere bonus. The Cocoon’s outer shell is undoubtedly a well made and recommendation-worthy travel case, and in our opinion, an inexpensive silicone sleeve clearly isn’t the focus of the case’s intent. Our largely positive recommendation reflects this interpretation.
The STM Cocoon receives our B+ level recommendation, and we would recommend it especially to those users who already have suitable inner protection or who simply prefer not to use a sleeve at all. As a travel case, the Cocoon’s well-crafted, durable outer shell alone is likely worth the $30 asking price, but for those users considering the STM Cocoon as a one-stop purchase for two types of cases, you’re sure to be disappointed with one of them.