Model: Luxury Metal Case
Price: $16.99 (+ shipping), Available at shop.vinko.com
Compatible: iPod shuffle
Capdase Luxury Metal Case for iPod shuffle
Pros: A nice-looking combination of metal and plastic hard protection for the iPod shuffle, complete with a matching USB cap and lanyard cable.
Cons: Lanyard is hard to repeatedly attach/detach; protectiveness of shuffle’s front and back is a compromise, headphone port incompatible with larger (non-Apple) headphone plugs.
When Capdase created the Metal Case for iPod mini (iLounge rating: A-) - a combination of rubber case and metal shell - we knew it had a smart concept on its hands. Now the same general idea has been applied to the Luxury Metal Case for iPod shuffle (approx. $16.99), a hybrid plastic and metal design that classes up your iPod shuffle without risking internal scratch damage. From the outside, you see plastic around your shuffle’s controls and on its sides, but the majority of the front and back display a thin layer of decorative metal plating.
The concept is fairly simple: two plastic half-shells slide lock together to cover the shuffle’s body, while a matching, rounded-bottom USB cap can be used with or without an included metallic lanyard. Capdase’s front shell exposes the iPod shuffle’s Control Pad and status lights, while the rear exposes the power switch and battery light indicator. A headphone port at the top is big enough for Apple’s headphones and similarly small ones, but not for the larger plugs used by more expensive headphones - an omission we tend not to mind as much in cases for the cheap shuffle.
Capdase offers two versions of the Luxury case. One is called Satin White, featuring brushed metal and white plastic, while the Mirror Black version uses a glossy, polished silver metal outside with a black plastic interior. Of the two, the white version works better visually, matching the shuffle’s existing color scheme and not as conspicuously displaying the fingerprints as the black glossy case. But the Mirror Black vesion more aggressively transforms the look of the shuffe, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Protectiveness aside, our biggest issue with the Luxury case design is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but still seriously annoying. The lanyard included by Capdase is a really nice clear plastic cord with a silver metal core, and attaches to the single included USB cap through a tiny hole in the cap’s bottom. Presumably Capdase designed the cap with the small hole so as to avoid making it look like it was missing something if the lanyard wasn’t attached, but the hole is not properly designed to allow easy lanyard attachment and detachment - we tried fingers, twist ties, and ultimately a tiny pin before we could find a way to thread the lanyard through. Once attached, it looked great, but you clearly don’t have an easy way to change the case from lanyard to non-lanyard at will.
As far as protectiveness is concerned, the Luxury case is fine - exposed controls on both sides are a millimeter or two deep because of the casing, so all you really risk is scratches, nothing more. It’s not quite the brick-like, all-metal equivalent of Griffin’s iVault (iLounge rating: B+), but given that its level of shuffle exposure is similar other than the USB port, and that it has other design advantages (particularly USB protection and convenience), we think it’s highly comparable. There are more protective iPod shuffle cases, but none that look quite like these.