Review: MCA Hautes Coutures Snow Case for iPod shuffle
Pros: Attractive leather neck holster for the iPod shuffle, with three different lanyards and a length-adjusting bulb.
Cons: Appropriate only for neck wear; not safe as a pocket/bag protector for the shuffle because of limited protection for shuffle’s body - no top coverage, limited front coverage, and no bottom side coverage.
Case design decisions that don’t work well for other iPods are sometimes more forgivable in the case of the iPod shuffle - a prime example is the necklace. iPod minis and full-sized iPods range from mildly uncomfortable to inappropriate as neckwear, and there’s no justifying an unprotective case design for such iPods on the grounds that it’ll only be on your neck. MCA’s Hautes Coutures Snow Case (24.90 Euros) for the iPod shuffle plays off of the smallest iPod’s lightweight body, employing soft white leather as a stylish sheathe, but little more.
Each Snow Case comes with three bright lanyards - white, orange, and green - as well as a single transparent bulb that is used to adjust the length of the lanyards for your neck. A lanyard is slipped through a loop at the top of the case, pulled to even lengths at both sides, and then attached to the bulb for proper fit. Because of the Snow Case’s loop design, the shuffle hangs flat around your neck without easily twisting.
Like most of the other MCA cases we’ve seen, the shuffle Snow Case is attractively designed. Its white leather feels and looks better in person than in photographs, and the embossed MCA logo on its front is an unoffensive touch. But it’s also disappointingly lacking in protection - here, on the front, top, and bottom corners. The shuffle’s entire top, from Control Pad to headphone port and top sides, is exposed to the elements, while both sides of the standard USB cap are similarly exposed.
As suggested at the beginning of the review, this particular case can justify its limited protection by virtue of its lanyard-centric design. Because of its prominent top loop, it’s clear that this case is only meant for use with a lanyard, and not for your pocket. We will, of course, leave it to you to decide whether that’s the sort of case best-suited for your needs. Our staff remains split internally as to whether wearing the shuffle on a lanyard is a good or bad thing, but if you think it’s a bad thing, this case will have no value to you.
But what if it’s a good thing? Even then, the case is a bit perplexing - you’re buying a white holster for your white iPod shuffle, and getting two benefits: a possible splash of color in the necklace, and the ability to wear your shuffle around your neck without having it hang upside down. Many people prefer the upside-down orientation because it’s easier to look down at the shuffle and see its controls facing correctly up at you, but some will like the way this design works, too.
We wrestled with the rating on this one for a little while, going back and forth between a B and B- because of the lack of protectiveness. Ultimately, we felt that it is a nice-looking case that won’t suit people who pocket their shuffles, but still will appeal to the good number of people who use lanyards, pushing us just over the edge to a recommended rating of B. Because of the holster-style design, your shuffle doesn’t have a risk of falling out when inside, and the multi-colored lanyards add a nice touch to the overall package. If you buy one recognizing its limitations up front, you’ll enjoy it.