Review: Boomwave Podstar Diablo Spectrum for 2nd Generation iPod nano
What's not to like about Boomwave's Podstar Diablo Spectrum ($20, aka Diablo Series II), a modest evolution of Boomwave's earlier, "little devil"-themed Podstar Diablo cases for the original iPod nano, now designed to fit the second-generation nano? Since last year's edition, Boomwave hasn't just resized the silicone rubber to match the new nano's curves, and added the single metal hoop earring found on its more recent fifth-generation iPod version of the case; it's actually updated the line to include six colored versions, and dropped its price by $6. Great deal, right?
Well, sorta. One of the more distinctive parts of the prior Podstar Diablo was its option to include screened-on, devilish or non-devilish artwork on top of the black or red rubber body, which enhanced the looks of the case’s rubber devil horns and tail. Though Spectrum now comes in black, green, blue, pink, orange and red versions, none has this sort of artwork, and each comes with a color mis-matched silicone rubber Click Wheel protector. While we liked the switch from film to rubber for this protector, we didn’t like how the second colors looked with the cases. Since tastes vary, appearance doesn’t significantly impact our final rating of a case, but we weren’t as favorably disposed towards these as we were their predecessors.
That said, the Spectrums are otherwise every bit as protective and fun as before. There are holes for the Hold switch, headphone port, and Dock Connector port, each large (and expandable) enough to be used as you desire. A clear film screen protector is still included, as is a lanyard necklace that’s color-matched to the body of the case, rather than the Wheel protector - a smarter choice. For fun, Boomwave continues to give the cases names and personas - the green one shown is Martial Martian - and still includes a dog tag and collector’s card with faux biographical information on the case. The card has been shrunk to fit inside the case, presumably to save on packaging costs.
As much as we appreciated the price reduction, the concept behind the rubber Wheel protector, and other small tweaks to the prior Diablo for nano design, we think that smarter color choices or art would have enhanced Spectrum’s appeal. Horns and tail aside, the present lineup comes closer in aesthetic to the “generic silicone look” we’d hope that most major case designers would want to avoid. But if you like the colors and their looks, you’ll find that Diablo Spectrums are both substantially protective and more affordable than ever.