Review: Power Support Silicone Jacket (3G)
Pros: More than adequately protects the 3G iPod’s screen, Scroll Wheel and body for a reasonably competitive price.
Cons: Top of iPod is partially exposed, as are all five iPod buttons, only one color of this case is available, and design is very similar to more versatile existing options.
Power Support’s Silicone Jacket Set for third-generation iPods consists of three parts: a rubber Silicone Jacket case sized for either the 10/15/20GB iPods (IJ-51 version) or the 30/40GB iPods (IJ-61 version), plus a clear plastic screen protector called Crystal Film, and a white sticker Scroll Wheel protector called Wheel Film. (Reviews of the two types of film are available from this link.)
Of all the Power Support products we have tested, the company’s Silicone Jacket case is the least radical departure from competing offerings, and in fact would be easy to confuse with Lajo’s original eXo case - if he made a flat back version. The Silicone Jacket adds a couple of millimeters of rubber to all sides of a third-generation iPod, save for eight total holes: the screen and Scroll Wheel are left exposed, as are the four buttons, the Dock Connector port, and an interesting slit at the top of the iPod.
This top slit enables an iPod to conveniently (but not dangerously) slip in and out of the case, plus provides full access to the headphone port and Hold switch. And because it’s a slit rather than a completely open top surface, you can pull it back to attach top-mounting iPod accessories, or leave it as closed as possible, revealing only a small part of the iPod’s top. We think that further development of this feature (to include even more top coverage when closed) would work even better in a 4G iPod case design.
The Dock Connector hole is on the verge of too small. Save for Apple and Belkin cables, third-party Dock Connecting accessories are hard to connect when the iPod’s inside the Silicone Jacket, because like many other companies’ rubber cases, Power Support’s hole for Dock Connection fits Apple’s cables, and just fits Belkin’s Auto Kit cable, but not much else. If you don’t use this hole, or have a car charger with a very small Dock Connector plug, this won’t bother you, but it’s another small issue we’d hope Power Support addresses in the inevitable 4G version of this case.
Some users may be put off by the case’s lack of a belt clip or ventilating holes on its back side, but as we’ve mentioned in other reviews, we’re neither belt clip users nor especially concerned about ventilation under normal circumstances. Needless to say, people who clip their iPods or frequently use the iPod’s hard drive might find other cases more to their liking.
On the bright side, Power Support made a wise choice to include one Crystal Film and one Wheel Film protector in each Silicone Jacket box. As described in our separate review, they provide more protection for the screen and Scroll Wheel than is the case with many (but not all) competing products, and make the Silicone Jacket’s higher price a little easier to swallow.
Value and Conclusions
Overall, the Silicone Jacket Set offers enough protection for most of the iPod’s surfaces to qualify as an above-average case offering - screen, Wheel and iPod body protection are all included for the $28.00 asking price, which is a bit high by Lajo’s a la carte standards, but not iSkin’s package deal prices. We suspect that those seeking 3G iPod cases may be swayed by the greater variety of colors and add-on components offered by those companies, but if we had to pick a single color and set of pack ins, the “natural” translucent white color Power Support chose is what we’d want, and the lack of belt clip and other mounting accessories didn’t bother us.
Therefore, while the Silicone Jacket is not our favorite 3G rubber case offering, it’s one of the better overall packages we’ve seen, and will be particularly useful for those who want to use top-mounting iPod accessories but don’t want to belt clip their iPods. It fits well as a pack-in with larger Power Support accessories such as the Mobile Stand, and when packaged that way makes for a very nice integrated iPod in-car and carry-around solution. That said, we still think the 3G rubber case offerings from iSkin and Lajo will remain at the top of this particular product category for most users. Power Support could easily change all that with a larger version of its Square Type case for iPod minis, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for such a future announcement.
Jeremy Horwitz is Senior Editor of iLounge. A consumer electronics fanatic who practices intellectual property law in his spare time, Jeremy’s recent book, Law School Insider, has been called the “best book about law school -ever,” and he continues to contribute to Ziff-Davis electronic entertainment magazines.