Company: Portable Device Outfitters (PDO)
Compatible: iPod classic
PDO TopSkin for iPod classic
From version to version, what PDO has accomplished with its TopSkin silicone rubber iPod cases is more than fairly impressive: regardless of the iPod model, the company aggressively prices cases that offer superb protection and decent frills. The new TopSkin for iPod classic ($20) is no different: while it's not beautiful, it provides better-than-commodity-case looks and literally complete protection for the hard disk-based 80GB and 160GB iPod models.
There’s not a lot to say about TopSkin’s body, which comes in clear white or largely opaque black, blue, and pink versions, each with a detachable rear belt clip and a wrist strap. Like the other TopSkins, there aren’t a lot of design flourishes here to make you love how the case looks, but microdots on the sides provide grips, and all of the classic’s ports and controls are covered in rubber; PDO has ensured that the rubber is of the correct thickness to actually work with each part, such that the Click Wheel is still fully functional, and you can still change the Hold switch’s position without tearing through the case.
One change in this version of TopSkin is the screen protector, which is made from hard plastic rather than film. It slides into grooves cut into the case’s screen hole, and actually holds properly in place when in typical use. Some users might prefer to use their own film covers instead, though they’ll be recessed a couple of millimeters down because of the case’s thickness.
There are only two semi-drawbacks to the TopSkin design. First, though the covered headphone port works even with oversized headphones, bottom mounting accessories larger than cables can be a problem to connect because of the thickness of the rubber, and Universal Dock connectivity is unsteady at best.
Second, this isn’t a sexy case—it’s a functional one, and highly protective, but not as flashy as many of the cases that other companies are now selling. PDO’s pack-ins are still OEM generic in looks, and a designer could easily help to make the next generation of TopSkins more interesting. But for the price, we consider this version of TopSkin to be a superb buy, and limited only in practicality by its aggressively protective bottom. iPod pocketers and baggers will want to consider this in their top several choices.