Review: JAVOedge JavoSkin Cases for 2007 iPods & iPhone
It's hard to care about cases from a company that obviously doesn't care about its cases. How else to explain the continued mediocrity of JAVOedge's JavoSkins, a series of cases for the iPod nano ($15), iPod classic ($20), iPod touch ($20) and iPhone ($22) with poor manufacturing quality and very modest protection for their prices?
Actually, the explanation is simple. JAVOedge’s cases, like many others we test, are churned out by overseas factories that manufacture both generic, re-branded designs and ones that are specially made for customers that take the time to carefully design and then inspect the quality of their own cases. These are the generic ones, apparently not especially well inspected or quality assured, with small but obvious molding imperfections and tell-tale signs of crappiness.
As you can see in the photographs, the iPhone’s camera and headphone port holes look awful; the camera’s even obstructed in taking pictures. Other edges of the cases are rough and shabby-looking. Then you’ll see another version of the case with slightly different issues. None looks great; the best is merely passable. They’re each offered in four or so colors, all generic.
Unlike the best iPod and iPhone cases we’ve seen, which find crafty ways to provide iPod port and control access without just leaving these parts open to scratches, dust, and other types of damage at all times, the JavoSkins make little such effort. The iPod nano and iPod classic cases just leave everything open, while the iPhone and iPod touch cases surprisingly offer Sleep/Wake button and Home button coverage. On the flip side, the iPod touch case obscures the brightness sensor, while the iPhone leaves it open. Face-covering film is a common, positive protective alternative—could it help these cases?
Unfortunately, the simple pack-ins are forgettable: lanyards for the iPods, and a detachable belt clip for the iPhone. The iPod nano and classic come with screen protectors; the iPod touch and iPhone don’t; JAVOedge wants you to buy protectors as an option for an additional $6. None of the cases includes or optionally offers full control protection. We’ve seen these cases and that particular “buy this cheap case, add more protection to it at a higher price” pitch a hundred times before; these particular ones are nothing new or special.
The one positive distinguishing feature of these sets is muddied by poor execution. JAVOedge currently includes black neoprene sports armbands with the iPod versions of the JAVOskin case, which may be generic, but they’re also totally adequate for their intended purpose. Seventeen inches in length, they’re as likely to fit your arm as Apple’s own iPod nano armbands, and most of the others out there, doubling back upon themselves and clasping tight with Velcro. It seriously looks as if more time was spent designing and making one of these armbands than all of the rubber cases put together.
The only problem is that the company has huge slits in the back of each case to let you push the armbands through—a design we’ve noted before is sloppy, not protective enough of the iPod, and cheap. It enhances the possibility of sweat intrusion while you’re working out with the iPod, the likelihood of scratching its back with the inserted armband, and compromises the protectiveness when the armband’s not in place.
Every year, JAVOedge releases more of these cheaply made rubber cases, and every year, they remain a poorly designed embarrassment to the company’s name. While we don’t expect that our low rating will cause the company to reconsider its approach to case design—or, as the case may be, repackaging—we can always cross our fingers and hope for better next time. Until that happens, we would not recommend these cases to any of our readers: unless you really value the armband or belt clip pack-ins, you will do substantially better even with the lowest-priced Marware rubber cases than with these.