Review: iSkin eVo3 Limited Special Edition for iPod with video
Since we've already reviewed iSkin's original eVo3 case for 5G iPods (iLounge rating: A-), we've opted to do only a capsule review of its slightly tweaked successor, the eVo3 Limited Special Edition ($40). Thanks to an unusual level of attention to detail for a silicone rubber case manufacturer, the original eVo3 is amongst the most popular rubber iPod holders around, combining silicone with a clear hard face plate called a Visor. Now the Limited Special Edition offers a handful of unique twists, all blended into a design that color-matches Apple's latest black and red iPod U2 Special Edition. Separate versions of the case for 30GB and 60GB iPods are available, letting you turn even an all-white 60GB iPod into a U2 iPod look-alike - the larger iPod in this photo is an all-white 60GB unit, and can't be distinguished easily from the black one besides it.
iSkin’s eVo3 design changes are interesting. First is that the silicone rubber iPod sleeve is now two-toned, with a matte black body and a matte red Click Wheel, mimicking the distinctive U2 Special Edition’s color set; second is that there’s now a matching black hard plastic Action button cover, integrated directly into the red Click Wheel. This two-color, three-finish rubber body design is seriously impressive - eye-catching and beautifully integrated with the hard face plate, for a design that fits the bad boy U2 iPod to a tee. As before, it provides basically perfect protection for the body of your iPod, leaving only a tiny hole around the headphone port exposed - everything else is covered.
The third and fourth changes are in color. iSkin continues to include a RevoClip2 rotatable belt clip with eVo3; this time, the detachable clip uses a black plastic design, without any transparency. It looks nice, and matches the case’s glossy front quite well. But controversially, iSkin has also changed the color of the front clear hard plastic Visor. Now it’s smoke black - just transparent enough to let you use the iPod’s screen, but darker than normal, and therefore not as easy to watch video through. Picture putting a pair of sunglasses on before viewing your iPod, and you’ll get the idea. In all honesty, we think this was a less than brilliant move; it looks good with the iPod, but forces you to compromise screen visibility. As Griffin has done with its Bookcase for iPod nano, iSkin really should have included dual Visors - one shaded, one not.
As before, iSkin is offering case-matching Cerulean XLR earphones as an optional add-in: the newest ones are black and red with two sets of ear foam covers. One set is black, the other pink - not quite matching the red - and they unfortunately tear a bit too easily. You can add one pair of earphones for $15 at the time of eVo3 purchase, or buy them separately for $30.
When we reviewed the prior version of eVo3, we noted that it was more expensive than most of its peers, and at $40, the Limited Special Edition Case case is $5 more expensive than before, a princely sum by rubber case standards. The prior price was about as much as we’d ever consider paying for a rubber design, and we’ve only accepted iSkin’s prior pushes of the pricing envelope because its cases are so certifiably well done. That said, there’s no doubt that this new version - other than its smoky screen cover - is superior to its predecessor in every way, and we’d hope that its design improvements trickle down to the standard eVo3 case, with additional color options. If you don’t mind the darker screen protection, or are trying to collect “limited edition” cases, consider this a must-see case for your U2 iPod, and perhaps for other 5G iPods, as well.