Review: Griffin TuneCaps for iPod shuffle
Pros: Two replacement USB caps for your shuffle - one to attach your shuffle to a pocket, the other to wear it on your wrist or attach it to keys.
Cons: Both types of caps have been done better by competitors, which while potentially more expensive merit the difference in price, especially for use with keys.
Once in a while, Griffin Technology releases a “why bother?” product, and TuneCaps ($14.99) fit that bill. Marketed as a “Pocket Clip, Keyring Cap and Wrist Lanyard” package for the iPod shuffle, the TuneCaps are not quite the peers of other iPod shuffle replacement USB caps we’ve reviewed in the past.
Each package contains three pieces: a gray plastic “not quite a belt clip” cap that’s about right for a shirt pocket, a matching gray plastic keyring cap with a small metal keyring, and a darker gray fabric and plastic wrist strap. The plastic is in-between the shades of the Control Pad ring and icons on the iPod shuffle’s face, and looks fine - not special - up close or from a distance.
You can attach the wrist strap to the keyring cap to dangle your shuffle from your wrist, which a few other companies have accomplished by adding optional hand straps to their iPod shuffle cases. We’re neutral on the value of the strap here, but if you like it, it’s fine. Griffin’s cap locks on the iPod’s button with a ball-bearing design similar to Apple’s, so the cap’s unlikely to accidentally detach.
The suggested alternative is to keep the cap and strap separate and - well - attach keys to your shuffle. In addition to the fact that the keyring isn’t large or heavy duty like the typical car key ring, this would require you to have a very high tolerance for scratches, assuming your shuffle’s not covered in something. Frankly, Marware warned people away from attaching keys to its modestly more protective Sport Grip (iLounge rating: B), which used a similar ring without full protection, so it’s hard to see that as a benefit of this design. Speck’s Connect & Protect (iLounge rating: B+) coupled a beefy keyring with a good case, which we think was a wiser and more useful choice - even if it costs more. Some things are worth doing right at a higher price.
The shirt clip cap predictably holds your iPod shuffle upside down from a shirt pocket. a common enough design choice, but contrasts with DLO’s Flip Clip (iLounge rating: B+), which mounts the shuffle rightside up. Also unlike the Flip Clip, Griffin’s is a one-piece plastic design not intended for high-stress bending; the Flip Clip uses a spring-loaded clip that grips surfaces a bit better and could be used with pants pockets and large belts, as well. Griffin’s package shows the pocket TuneCap worn on a pair of jeans - standing up - but we’re not fond of how it flexes on the shuffle’s USB plug when sitting down.
iPod shuffle clips have never been one of our favorite types of accessories, but we’ve endeavored to separate the better and more useful designs from the so-so ones. TuneCaps strike us as so-so ones. Because they’re neither too expensive nor poorly made, we wouldn’t recommend against them if you really like the way they look, but we also wouldn’t recommend them as superior options to any of the above alternatives.