Company: iSkin, Inc.
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)
iSkin Duo for iPod nano (Aluminum)
iSkin's history of excellent iPod cases speaks for itself - as just one example, its original iSkin Duo for the first-generation iPod nano (iLounge rating: A) was one of the very best cases we've ever seen, and so it had a tough act to follow with the second-generation nano. After releasing a confusingly-named case called iSkin for iPod nano (iLounge rating: A-), iSkin followed up with this - the next-generation iSkin Duo for the second-generation iPod nano ($30). Though not quite as amazing as the original nano's Duo, the second-generation Duo is an extremely protective case that doesn’t compromise much on protection or style. It's available in five colors - Electra (blue), Crimson (red), Onyx (black), Envy (green), and Pearl (white) - with only Onyx fully matching the iPod's color; each of the others is a shade or more off the nano original, and Pearl is entirely different.
The Duo has a two-part design with an inner and outer layer. The inner layer is made of a soft, flexible silicone, protecting the nanos front, back and sides. A removable silicone cover also attaches to the bottom Dock Connector and headphone port for added protection. The outer plastic shell has an integrated screen cover, which attaches to the face of the nano. The two pieces easily snap together for overall protection. While not an issue for some users, but worth noting, the hold switch was left completely exposed while inside the Duo, for which we did deduct one point for overall protectiveness.
Duo’s good looks are created by using different colors and materials for the inner and outer layers of the case. The inner shell is made from rubber, while the outer shell - a Visor - is made from a thin layer of hard plastic coated in a metallic, powder-coated paint. Otherwise frosted clear from Duo to Duo, and just like the ones included with the standard iSkin for iPod nano, the inner silicone layer now includes a distinctive dot of color that coordinates with the metallic finish on the outer plastic shell. When the two pieces are combined, the result is a dramatic look that this reviewer preferred markedly to the original iSkin.
In addition to the five different color varieties, the Duo comes with three pack-ins: there’s a nice adjustable lanyard that connects to the nano’s Dock Connector port with plastic and fabric, plus a Universal Dock Adaptor that lets you dock the encased nano in any Universal iPod Dock-equipped accessory, and a removable RevoClip2 rotary belt clip. RevoClip2 can adjust and lock to virtually any position, and is a wonderful addition to the case for those who like to wear their nanos at belt level. A final addition to the Duo package is a new Dock Connector and headphone port protector made from rubber, which attaches to the bottom of the nano and comes off on either or both of the sides when not needed. This protector nicely augments Duo’s otherwise solid protection, which lacks only for Hold switch coverage and the solidity of a thick metal or all-plastic design.
As with the standard iSkin, add-on accessories work very well with the Duo. Users will have no problems with larger accessories such as headphone jacks and Dock Connectors of any size or type, but they may want to remove the rear belt clip for insertion into iPod docking accessories that don’t use the Universal Dock standard - the thickness may be just a little too much for a safe fit.
Overall, the iSkin Duo is a fantastic case at a fair price. Though you do better on color options for the dollar with the standard version of iSkin, you also have to give up a bit of protection and don’t wind up with one of iSkin’s really nice lanyards, both of which are included in the Duo package. Similarly, while we thought the first-generation version of Duo was especially groundbreaking, this is an impressive package on frills, looks, protection, and ease of use in its own right - the sort of case that we’re happy to highly recommend to our readers.