Review: Boomwave Podstar Diablo for iPod nano
Pros: An original “turn your iPod nano into a little devil” case design that’s practical for everyday use, including complete clear film protection for the nano’s face and a slim rubber body that includes horns, tail, and your choice of face graphics. Each case includes a matching detachable neck strap, numbered dog tag, and funny collector’s card. Reasonable price for the overall package of items and original design.
Cons: Air bubbles unavoidable on Click Wheel portion of nano face protector; Hold switch is slightly exposed, bottom is entirely open.
If you feel the need to dress up your iPod in a costume this year, and you’re more likely to wind up on Santa’s “naughty” list than the “nice” one, we strongly recommend that you take a look at Boomwave’s Podstar Diablo for iPod nano ($26). Reasonably priced and significantly protective, the Diablo design combines a contoured silicone rubber case with a detachable neck strap and full clear protection for your iPod’s face, including a two-piece Click Wheel protector. When inside the case, the only exposed parts of your iPod are its top Hold switch - barely - and its bottom ports.
What’s unique about Diablo is the theme: Boomwave starts by molding each case into the shape of a “little devil,” adding rubber horns to its top sides and a pointy tail to its back. None of these parts is likely to come off of the case unless you intentionally tug them off; even then, only the tail is likely to give up after a good fight. Plain pure red (“Legion”) or black (“The Abyss”) versions are available, but the fun begins with one of the company’s three inked faces: a Punisher-style brick face design called Dark Lord (black) or Crimson Avenger (red), a more feminine face called either Blackout or Red Rumble, and a vaguely bloody version called Vigilante (red on black case) or Bloodbath (white on red case). Of the cases, the feminine face design is the most elaborate, with two-color printing, but the brick faced ones are a better pick for guys.
Each of the red Diablos comes with a red neck strap, while the black ones include a black strap. Both look nice, with a top piece that attaches to a rubber loop on the top of the case, and separates from the main neck strap with a simple screwing mechanism. While we would have preferred rolled cords rathan the flat ones used here, they’re fine.
In an amusing touch, Boomwave includes one “Podstar ID” with each case, a combination of stamped numbered dog tag and a professionally printed collector’s card, bound together by a ball bearing-style keychain. The cards provide funny biographical details on each Diablo’s personality, including the revelation that the Bloodbath case likes “brunettes, redheads, ninja movies,” and “smooth R&B and Nu-Soul ie. D’angelo [and] Maxwell.” We’re not going to suggest that there is yet any inherent value in these cards for iPod owners, but having seen the array of numbered authenticity certificates developed by smaller case companies to make their offerings stand out, these are unquestionably the best.
Other than the slight top and open button exposure, our only gripe is with the clear protectors, which had the potential to be great, but miss by a little. Though the face protector works well to shield the nano’s screen, the Click Wheel guard is oversized in a way that makes air bubbles impossible to eliminate around its edges. It’s entirely protective, but the visual presentation is just a little off.
After Speck’s iGuy, Podstar Diablo strikes us as an equally smart and better-priced evolution of the same general concept, rendered more useful by a thinner case-like profile and superior protection. True, you can get an equally protective rubber iPod case for less, but there’s value in fun design, and this one earns its premium. Whether the devilish themes work for you is a matter of personal taste, but as iPod dress-up cases go, this is one of the best.