Company: Pods Plus/Portable Device Outfitters
Model: Aluminum N2 for iPod nano
Compatible: iPod nano (Aluminum)
PDO/Pods Plus Aluminum N2 for 2nd Generation iPod nano
Based on the company's earlier Aluminum V2 for fifth-generation iPods (iLounge rating: A-), Aluminum N2 for second-generation iPod nanos ($30) by Portable Device Outfitters/Pods Plus fuses a black- or silver-bodied aluminum case with a silicone rubber Click Wheel guard in one of several colors, and also integrates a clear hard plastic screen protector. A detachable lanyard is also included for neck carrying.
When we looked last year at the prior version of this case - Pods Plus’ Aluminum Case for iPod nano (iLounge rating: B-) - we noted that the company had made a number of small but annoyingly bad decisions relative to other, less expensive offerings. The new case is just like its predecessor, only sized for the 2G iPod, and with one new feature: the integrated rubber Click Wheel protector, in blue, pink, black, green, or red, each save black in a shade slightly off Apple’s corresponding iPod nano 2G color. All five colored protectors are available on the black-bodied case, while only the black cover is available for the silver case; we wish the colors were a bit more lively, and that they were incorporated into the cases, like other aluminum case designs we’ve seen.
Other details haven’t changed much. Though it works fine with even large headphone plugs, the new case is only partially compatible with Dock Connector-based accessories, as its metal bottom prevents connectors larger than Apple’s from making a proper physical connection with the nano. The nano’s entire bottom and top Hold switch remain exposed at all times, while the case protects the rest of its body save for a thumb-sized half-circle at its bottom. Its screen protector does show small scratches after a short period of use, but not enough to prevent you from using the nano’s interface, and only a hint of added pressure is needed to fully use the Click Wheel.
While we welcome N2’s added protection, which improves this case’s rating over its predecessor, we’re still not thrilled with its $30 sticker, which is identical to the larger video version’s asking price, and therefore on the high side for an iPod nano case without a belt clip or other frills. While this is a good, solid metal design with one novel feature, and worthy of our general recommendation, it’s not worth a big premium - consider it a worthwhile purchase relative to A-rated cases if you can find it on sale.