Company: Portable Device Outfitters (PDO)
Models: Aluminum V2
Compatible: iPod classic
PDO Aluminum V2 for iPod classic
Aluminum iPod cases turned a corner a couple of years ago, becoming so similar from brand to brand that users could hardly tell the difference, other than pricing. So it's no surprise that the metal cases we review today from PDair and PDO are as much alike as their vendors' names: PDair's Aluminum Metal Case for iPod classic ($28) and PDO's new Aluminum V2 for iPod classic ($30) are virtually the same product, except for a few small differences.
The premise of both designs is the same: cover as much of the iPod as possible in highly resilient, hard aluminum, and either leave the rest exposed, or use some type of plastic as a play-through shield. As a customer, you have several choices: do you want a silver or black case? Go to either company. A case that’s specifically tailored to fit either the 80GB or 160GB iPod? A detachable plastic belt clip and lanyard necklace? Again, go to either company. Do you want a colored Click Wheel cover? Go to PDO. A clear Click Wheel cover? Go to PDair.
Since both cases cover the entire body of the iPod classic except for its Hold switch, headphone port, and Dock Connector port, as well as two tiny lanyard-ready holes in their rear, the Click Wheel cover is nearly the only distinguishing factor between these largely metal shells. PDO’s colored covers are made from rubber, while PDair’s are made from a thin but resilient layer of plastic. The rubber cover is actually a little more responsive than the plastic one, a difference that matters only if you haven’t updated your iPod classic to software 1.0.3, which increased the Wheel’s sensitivity; otherwise, the PDair clear cover makes your finger motions stutter a little.
The only other difference between the cases is their belt clip nubs. Both screw in, but PDO’s is made from metal, and PDair’s plastic. Otherwise, the cases could otherwise hardly be more similar: they flip open to let your iPod classic in, use neoprene to protect it against scratches, and provide screen access through a clear hard plastic protector that’s integrated into the shell. Dock Connector and headphone port access are identical: Universal Docks and non-cable bottom accessories generally won’t work, but Apple cables and any type of headphone plug will.
We wouldn’t declare a winner between these two options. PDair’s Aluminum Metal Case for iPod classic sells for a little less and would generally be our pick because we prefer the clear Click Wheel cover to the rubber choices offered by PDO, but the slight added sensitivity of the PDO cover and the nicer metal belt clip nub are factors in Aluminum V2’s favor, the latter possibly justifying the slight price difference. Your personal winner will come down to cosmetic preference; in either case, you’ll get a considerable amount and quality of iPod classic protection for a reasonable price. Both cases are highly recommended.