Review: Marware Slyder for iPod nano 2nd Gen
Pros: A highly innovative clear plastic case design that shows off your nano’s color and protects nearly its entire body, using a sliding mechanism to quickly enable both full Click Wheel access and substantial access to Dock Connector port. Reasonably priced and strong, includes great matching detachable belt clip and Multidapt nub.
Cons: Sliding piece won’t open with L-shaped headphones and sometimes comes off bottom of case too easily.
It would be tempting to dismiss Marware’s new Slyder ($25) as “yet another clear hard plastic iPod case,” but the long-time case maker has made some radical and impressive innovations in the increasingly saturated genre. Second-generation iPod nano owners will find that the case - obviously inspired by Nokia and other mobile phones with slide-open keypad compartments - provides equally simple, efficient access to the nano’s Click Wheel while covering virtually the rest of its body in hard, clear plastic.
The critical design innovation here is Slyder’s lack of a traditional left- or right-hinged or -snapped insertion system for the nano: instead, the face of the bottom two-thirds slides down, resting either in a position far past the case’s natural bottom, or flipping upwards and resting on an angle comfortably above the nano’s Click Wheel. In the most open position, Slyder is ready for a nano to be inserted, removed, or connected to a Dock Connecting cable; when flat and down, the nano’s Click Wheel is open, but its bottom is otherwise not. We found that it stayed closed when we wanted it closed, and slid open quickly and easily, making iPod control access substantially less frustrating than in a traditional flap-based case.
This slide-open mechanism is only a step shy of brilliant, and then only because of its incompatibility with L-shaped headphone plugs: when connected, they completely prevent the nano’s controls from being accessed. However, the case works with even the largest such headphones, assuming that you don’t need to use the Click Wheel while they’re connected, and slides open without any issue when straight-style headphone plugs such as Apple’s and others’ are attached. Frequent users of oddly shaped headphones or large, bottom-connecting accessories may find other options, such as Contour Design’s recent iSee nano V2, a better match for their needs.
Having pioneered some of the iPod case market’s best clip systems, Marware hasn’t compromised on that feature here, either, and has actually tackled it in a way we really liked: rather than putting a hole or a permanent nub in the back of the case, there are an adhesive belt clip nub and a clear, Multidapt-style belt clip in the package, attachable or detachable as you prefer. The clip mechanism remains compatible with other Multidapt belt, arm, and vehicle mounting accessories, should you have them or want them, another nice distinction from other clear plastic cases we’ve seen.
Headphone port aside, our only issues with Slyder were small ones. It has a slight tendency to show thin scratches, exposes the nano’s Hold switch at all times - good for ease of access, not as good for protection - and has enough of a hard plastic lip at the bottom that it’s not able to be used in most iPod speaker or non-speaker docks. Marware’s sliding piece also has a tendency to come off when near its fully extended position, which appears to be due to the way its side grooves were constructed, a minor but occasional annoyance in an otherwise great design.
Overall, Slyder is the sort of innovative, well-made iPod case we’re happy to highly recommend to our readers: sold for a reasonable price given its unique design and build quality, it offers a high degree of protection, nearly unfettered access to the iPod’s controls and ports, and a belt clip option that’s equally excellent, optional, and versatile. Small tweaks could make its successors ideal for all iPod users, but for the vast majority of second-generation nano owners, this is a smart, and truly great case.