Review: HandStands iSnug Video Set
We’ve reviewed a couple of iterations of HandStands’ iSnug (formerly iPak) travel cases before, and the latest version - dubbed iSnug for the Video iPod or the iSnug Video Set ($40) - should be highly familiar if you’ve read the iPod nano review (iLounge rating: B). As before, the company combines a zip-closed semi-hard, padded outer carrier (the “travel case”) with a soft leather and stretchable fabric 30/60GB iPod sleeve (the “leather glove”) and a separate iPod clear plastic face protector (the “Bullet-Proof/Duravú Shield”). You put the Shield on your iPod to protect its screen and Wheel, then the glove, and finally the travel case if desired. When you don’t need comprehensive protection, just unzip and remove the travel case. A 32” black fabric lanyard, microfiber cleaning cloth, and two Velcro loops are also included in the package; as with other iSnugs, a mesh interior pocket lets you store cables or a power supply when you’re on the go.
There’s a lot to like about the iSnug Video concept - in one package, you get an almost 100% protective case for travel, and a non-travel case that becomes 70% protective when used with the included film. Better yet, unlike the nano iSnug case we tested, the leather glove here fits full-sized iPods properly, and the added bulk of the foam padding here isn’t quite as surprising given the larger full-sized iPod bodies. Plus, while you’re on the road, the mesh pocket does a good job of holding headphones and/or an additional charging cable, without risk to your iPod - assuming that you’ve installed the Duravú film. To say it plainly, this case rates as highly as it does not because of aesthetics, but because it provides the user with protective alternatives that are entirely reasonable for traveling.
However, the iSnugs still suffer a little bit by comparison with STM’s Cocoon series of travel cases, which not only pioneered the “case in case” concept, but tend to look and feel a little nicer in the particulars, and sell for around $10 less. Viewed side by side, each of HandStands’ items seems cheaper: both of the iSnug cases use pass-through belt loops rather than clips, the included lanyard is soft, but as simple as can be and not super well-suited to a full-sized iPod, and the Velcro cord managing loops seem like an odd afterthought rather than a real pack-in. Similarly, while acceptable as an occasionally exposed component of the travel case, the iSnug leather glove isn’t protective enough of the iPod’s sides to serve as our full-time iPod holder at other times.
Despite those few small shortcomings, which we think HandStands could easily address in future iSnug products, we liked iSnug Video quite a bit: it is a good and entirely recommendable travel case for owners of fifth-generation iPods, and a fair value for the dollar. If you need a travel case for your iPod, it should certainly be at or near the top of your list.