Review: Incase Protective Cover for iPod nano
Model: Protective Cover
Compatible: iPod nano (video)
Having previously looked at the first collection of cases for the third-generation iPod nano (with video), today we're covering 11 additional options with brief capsule reviews. Five new cases - four leather, one metal - are from a company called PDair, one is leather from Noreve, one is neoprene from Marware, and four alternate between leather, neoprene, and rubber from Incase. Not surprisingly, there are a number of similarities between certain groups of these cases, so we're bundlng the like cases together for comparison, and looking at the other ones individually.
There are two cases worth mentioning in a review of Incase’s Protective Cover for iPod nano ($25): Incase’s earlier Protective Cover for iPhone, and Marware’s SportGrip for iPod nano. All three of these cases are made from rubber, but whereas the $10 SportGrip aggressively protects the nano’s body, the $25 Protective Cover for iPod nano—like the earlier $30 iPhone version—is more than twice as expensive, and does far less.
Both the SportGrip and Protective Cover are available in multiple colors—SportGrip in five, Protective Cover in at least four. Incase’s colors approximate those of the new nanos; the red, blue, and green shades are a little lighter, and the black a little darker.
Incase’s philosophy with the Protective Covers is obvious: rather than using the softer silicone rubber preferred by most case makers, the company uses a harder but still flexible variant that permits etch-like molding—here, the company’s increasingly prevalent topographical map lines—on both the interior and exterior. Its Covers are designed to cover the backs and parts of the sides of Apple devices, but not most of their faces, a feature that instantly makes them less protective than virtually all of the cheaper rubber options out there. Marware not only covers all of the nano’s metal face parts, but also includes film protectors for its screen and Click Wheel; Incase doesn’t. Both companies leave almost all of the nano’s bottom open, save for their corners, which are covered.
Though it’s a little less expensive, the Protective Cover for iPod nano is also a step behind the less than impressive iPhone version in thoughtfulness: because of the iPhone’s all-glass screen, some people believe that there’s no need to cover it at all, and though we disagree—especially for a $30 rubber case—we understand where these people are coming from. By comparison, the iPod nano version of Protective Cover exposes not only the screen, but also metal and plastic parts of the device’s front surface. Since you can do better for $10, there’s no reason to pay $25 for such a simple design unless you really like the rear etching, and even then, we don’t feel that it’s worth a $15 premium.