Review: iPodstreet iPod Video 30GB/60GB iTube Silicone Case
Pros: A generic silicone rubber case design for the fifth-generation iPod, with substantial body protection save for the iPod’s screen and ports. Includes belt clip and nub, wrist strap and neck lanyard.
Cons: Despite equally plain design, asking price is $10 higher than virtually identical (but more protective) competing generic case; no screen protector included. Exposes 5G’s Hold switch, top and bottom ports, protective solutions for which have been developed many moons ago by other companies. Neck lanyard is not especially useful.
With the release of iPod nano, Apple solidified the distinction between commodity silicone rubber iPod cases and their competitors by doing the unthinkable: bundling five different-colored cases in a single package and selling them as iPod nano Tubes for $29. In so doing, the company relegated all comparably simplistic case designs to the bargain bin, making $20 per case seem outrageously high for an equally simple design. Now many leading third-party companies have stood up to the challenge with more distinctive and interesting rubber cases, while Asia’s commodity case factories have been left to fight for relevance.
Up until now, we’ve held off on reviewing iPodstreet’s new iPod Video iTubes ($25) in hopes that something less impressive might come along and set a lower “average” floor for 5G iPod silicone cases, but nothing else has. Each iTube - available in 30GB and 60GB sizes, plus five colors (transparent, black, blue, green and pink) - uses the same plain jane design: a thin layer of rubber that adequately coats the body of a 5G iPod, even including its Click Wheel, while leaving its screen, Hold switch, headphone port, and Dock Connector ports entirely exposed. This design has been familiar since the late third-generation and early fourth-generation iPod days, and subsequently surpassed in both protectiveness and style by many companies.
The case does not come with a screen protector, but does include other attachments. A metal screw hole on the case’s back is there if you want to use a clear plastic belt clip nub and matching frosted clear plastic belt clip, which is spring-loaded and adequate. Two holes on the top right side of each case let you attach an fabric wrist strap or lanyard necklace, the latter of which is not especially worthwhile for an iPod with the 30GB or 60GB’s weight. It seems that these two fabric pieces are now being tossed into all iPod case packages by certain companies as a matter of course, without really considering how useful they are from iPod model to iPod model.
Other than its lack of screen protection, which is included with virtually any $20 and higher iPod case we see these days, there’s nothing affirmatively wrong with the iTube design: it’s just plain, and nearly indistinguishable from the myriad other generic silicone cases that are now flooding the iPod market. Some people will be content with this - hence our “okay” rating rather than a “bad” one - but the $25 asking price here strikes us as ridiculous. In fact, iTube arrived on the same day as Pods Plus’s $15 Silicone Skin cases (iLounge rating: B-), and the differences between them were minute - for $10 less than iPodstreet’s asking price, Pods Plus even includes a hard screen protector in the package. Neither one of the cases is great, but we know which one we’d pick if we had to make a choice. There’s no reason to pay $10 more for this version, and truthfully, we’d hold off on both for something better.