Review: Innopocket Metal Deluxe Cases for iPod nano and 5G
In November of 2005 and February of 2006, we looked at some attractive new anodized aluminum iPod nano and iPod 5G cases from Core Cases (iLounge rating: B+), and came away impressed by their pricing and assortment of colors. Now Innopocket - parent of Core Cases - and Pacific Rim Technologies have released similar Metal Deluxe Cases ($25-30) that are only different in a few small regards: hinges, colors, and pricing.
The Metal Deluxe Cases are made from anodized aluminum, here available in silver or matte black colors, and sizes specific to the iPod nano ($25), iPod 5G 30GB ($30), and iPod 5G 60GB ($30). Each one flips open to lock the iPod inside, and provides full-time screen and Click Wheel access; a hard clear screen protector is permanently integrated into each case. A thin layer of neoprene lines much of the case’s inside, protecting your iPod from internal scratch damage. Detachable belt clips and lanyards are included with the cases; the nano’s belt clip is a custom-made thin metal clip, while the 5G version is a standard black plastic spring-loaded attachment. Innopocket’s only customization of its own case is a web site URL in small letters on the case’s back; Pacific Rim’s version lacks this marking and adds none of its own.
The Core Cases aluminum cases use two-piece slide-open designs that are a bit simpler than these; Metal Deluxe’s old-fashioned hinge design requires a flip-open hinge on the nano case’s top, and one on each of the 5G cases’ bottoms, the latter adding an awkward ridge that Innopocket partially compensates for with two detachable frosted clear rubber feet. These feet have the advantage of letting each case stand up straight, but they come off of the case easily, and will fall off during normal use unless you remove them. We also noticed that the hinge pin on our 60GB case was starting to slide out after only a little use, though it was easy to slide back in.
Of the Metal Deluxe versions, we slightly preferred the nano case, which lacked the detachable feet, and also properly aligned and beveled its Click Wheel hole - the 5G version isn’t beveled, and on the 60GB case is a hint off perfect alignment. The 5G case is also a bit less protective of the iPod inside than both the nano case and the Core metal case: Metal Deluxe almost entirely exposes the 5G’s top surface, while Core’s does not, though there’s a little more room on the sides of Core’s Dock Connector hole than Metal Deluxe’s, and more exposed iPod back on Metal Deluxe’s case than Core’s. The nano case is modestly different: thanks to a smaller Hold switch hole, Innopocket’s nano design is a little more protective than the Core nano case, but that’s pretty much it.
In our view, there’s not much of a reason to prefer either of the two Metal Deluxe colors or designs to those of the Core Aluminum Case - Core came pretty close to getting everything right the first time, and though these newer cases are nice in their own right, we’d lean towards the earlier, hinge-less designs and greater variety of colors any day. Because of its so-so rubber feet and the loose pin in our 60GB case, we think the 5G cases are a step (B-) under the nano design (B), which also benefits from a cooler belt clip design and slightly sleeker feel.