Review: ifrogz Clear Case for 2nd Gen iPod nano
Does the world really need another nothing special silicone rubber case? No. Unfortunately, ifrogz - previously responsible for some very innovative multi-piece rubber case designs - has stumbled backwards with its Clear Case for 2nd Gen iPod nano ($20), a too-simple rubber sleeve that offers less protection and weirder looks than cases that sell for half its price. We review it only because it's such a disappointment from a company that has previously been so much more aggressive on both pricing and design.
Also known as the “Ice Case,” the Clear Case is little more than a clear frosted rubber sleeve form fit to the second-generation iPod nano, complete with eyelet holes on its left and right sides, plus holes at the bottom for the nano’s headphone port and Dock Connector, holes on the face for the nano’s screen and Click Wheel, a hole on the top for the Hold switch, and a hole in the back for use with a belt clip nub that’s not included in the package.
In fact, there’s nothing in the package to cover any of those holes: place your nano inside and the screen, Click Wheel, top and bottom holes remain open. This simple design does away with the complexities of ifrogz’ earlier wrapz, bandz, and screenz accessories, which must be a chore to manufacture in as many variations as they’ve been sold in the past, but also tosses aside their protectiveness: even $10 iPod nano rubber cases typically include screen and Click Wheel film or other protectors, but there’s none here.
Oddly, the company claims that lanyards are included with the Clear Cases, but they were not sent with our samples, and are explained as being attached to just one or the other side of the case rather than both. We’re not huge lanyard buffs to begin with, but we aren’t fans of side-mounted eyelets and the nano’s resultant tendency to hang on an angle rather than straight: a lanyard mounted in the place of the rear belt clip nub hole would have been better.
Those issues aside, Clear Case is a step beyond conventional in molding. The frosted clear design shares face design elements with other ifrogz cases - elevated edges around the screen and Click Wheel, plus little grip nubs on the back - and there’s one splash of color on each case: the elevated ifrogz logo on back comes in your choice of black, pink, blue, green, or clear. (Another version of this case, called the Color Case, instead comes in ten solid colors; we haven’t received it for review, and thus, like the missing lanyard, it’s not included in our ratings below.) Our nicest comment about Clear Case is this: protective elements aside, there’s more to the rubber molding here than most of the rubber cases sold for half its price, and the design items here are a mix between inoffensive and nice.
In sum, the Clear Case is a nothing special rubber case offering at a price that borders on unacceptable given its marginal protectiveness - a disappointing surprise from a company that seemed to have a better grasp on offering protectiveness and bold features at reasonable prices. It wouldn’t take a lot - namely included film and better pack-ins - to make this case better for the price, but without such items, we’d only consider it worthwhile at a substantial discount.