Review: Core Cases/InnoPocket Magnum Case
Pros: Highly attractive plastic and magnesium iPod case available in your choice of two colors and iPod-specific sizes; stylish and resilient rear component includes detachable metal belt clip nub and clip.
Cons:No top protection or protective lip for the iPod, and exposed spot at bottom rear of case for iPod removal. Click Wheel is also exposed, so you’ll need to buy your own protector or risk scratch damage.
Months ago, we reviewed and liked a hard case from InnoPocket called Magnesium Case for Apple iPod mini (iLounge rating: B); now InnoPocket is launching a new iPod and portable entertainment division called Core Cases, and has an almost identical version of the mini case for full-sized iPods. It’s called the Magnum Case ($34.90), and while a teaser page is already up on InnoPocket’s site, it should be available within the next month from CoreCases.com.
Each Magnum Case is made from two key pieces: a clear plastic front and a magnesium metal back plate. Unlike the iPod mini version, which was offered in five colors, the back of the full-sized iPod version appears to come only in two: “black” and “white,” though the white case is actually a bright metallic silver. Both cases use attractive extrusions to spice up their fronts and backs; the front has a slightly elevated panel to cover the iPod’s screen, while the back features a cool decorative pattern.
As with the iPod mini versions, each case’s rear includes a small hole at the top to permit a lanyard (not included) necklace or wrist strap to be attached if you desire. A small color-matched screw underneath the lanyard hole serves as a detachable belt clip mount; InnoPocket makes the screw easy to remove, and equally easy to attach the included black belt clip, which is entirely adequate.
Unlike the iPod mini case, Magnum is available in different sizes to accommodate various thicknesses of full-sized iPods. The silver and black ones we tested were appropriate for 40GB black-and-white iPods and 40/60GB color iPods, respectively, and each uses nicely tailored black interior padding strips to protect the iPod from making contact with its magnesium rear.
Only three parts of the iPod aren’t covered by the Magnum Case: its top, its Click Wheel controller, and a portion of its bottom around the Dock Connector hole. There’s no getting around the fact that the top hole is large, and exposes more of the iPod than some competing hard cases, but InnoPocket’s done a good job with the Click Wheel and Dock Connector holes. The Click Wheel hole is sized just right, and unlike the iPod mini version of this case, there’s enough extra room around the Dock Connector hole to connect common third-party accessories. Moreover, a fingertip-sized hole at the case’s bottom rear (for iPod removal) works properly in this design, though as with the top, it exposes more of the iPod’s back than some other hard cases.
There’s a way around the Click Wheel issue: use a separate protector like Power Support’s 3D Wheel Film (iLounge rating: A-), which we continue to like and strongly recommend. That would leave only the top and rear exposed. Some people will be quite willing to deal with their exposure given the attractiveness of this case design, and some may even prefer the top be open for their constant use of Griffin’s iTrip or similar devices. However, we really prefer to have a bit of a lip at the top of the case to protect against the consequences of drop damage, at the very least. In the Magnum Case, the iPod’s top is only a hair away from the front and back surfaces, so don’t expect your iPod to emerge unscathed if it falls on its head while inside.
As with its predecessor, the Magnum Case is a visually attractive and largely protective iPod protector - one of the best we’ve seen in the former, but not the best we’ve seen in the latter. InnoPocket has addressed one of the major issues we pointed out in the prior case design, namely a too-small Dock Connector port hole, but hasn’t changed much, rendering the Magnum a little better than the iPod mini version overall. We recommend it most strongly to those who will actually use top-mounting accessories, but other people needn’t pass it up unless they’re concerned about or prone to dropping their iPods.