Review: Secure-It The PodSafe iPod Security Cases (4G/5G/nano) | iLounge

Review

Review: Secure-It The PodSafe iPod Security Cases (4G/5G/nano)

B+
Recommended


Company: Secure-It

Website: www.ThePodSafe.com

Model: PodSafe 4G/5G, nano

Price: $40

Compatible: iPod 4G/5G, nano

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Jeremy Horwitz

Pros: A reinforced plastic security system for either 4G and 5G iPods or iPod nanos, combining a comparatively secure four-digit combination lock with a strong steel cable and a full iPod case. Provides complete access to iPod’s screen and controls while in use, available in white and black versions.

Cons: No screen or Click Wheel protection, limited top protection. Holes on both versions of the case look a bit unusual on their respective iPods; nano version in particular has a bit of wiggle room unless you supply your own protective film.

Over the last several weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to test three new iPod security systems, each based on the same general concept: if you want to hang your iPod on your bag but are afraid that someone might snatch it while you’re walking, you buy one of these and enhance your security. Below is our review of Secure-It’s The PodSafe ($40); reviews of i2 Electronics’ iLOCKr neo and Targus’ Mobile Security Lock are posted separately.

Most of iLOCKr neo’s flaws have been remedied in Secure-It’s The PodSafe, which is identically priced at $40, but takes a different approach to iPod security and protection. Secure-It has developed a two-piece solution that covers any 4G or 5G iPod in a case made from Polycarbon-strengthened plastic, using a back hatch to let you insert the iPod and small, iPod thickness-specific foam spacers to keep each iPod in place inside. An iPod nano version is also available, lacking the hatch and spacers - the nanos all fit inside. Once closed, the case has three holes: one for the iPod’s screen, one for its controls, and one for its headphone port - the nano version also exposes the Dock Connector port, while the 4G/5G case exposes the iPod’s Hold switch.

Each case is then secured with the second piece: a matching 4-digit combination lock and steel security cable, which connects to the case’s bottom, not the iPod’s. When the lock has been inserted, the case cannot be opened until a spring-loaded button is pressed on one side of the lock; similarly, the steel security loop opens only when the lock has been removed, and an eject button has been pressed. You can physically reset the lock’s code whenever it’s opened and you have the need to do so.

In virtually all regards, The PodSafe looks and feels like a better total solution than the iLOCKr neo - the case-style design offers substantial anti-drop and anti-scratch protection for every bit of the iPod save the aforementioned holes, and gives you the choice of black or white colors to match your iPod. And it affords superior “abandoned iPod” security thanks to its 4-digit combination lock, which as pointed out in our iLOCKr neo review would require almost 3 hours for someone to crack at random. Best of all, it accomplishes this without any risk of Dock Connector damage: a failed attempt at theft might leave scratches on your iPod, but no electrical damage.

The only issues we had with The PodSafe were small ones. Secure-It’s 4G/5G compatible design uses screen and Click Wheel holes that are designed to be “one size fits all” rather than model specific, and though both iPod styles can be fully viewed and controlled from the cases, the holes look a little awkward. A fourth-generation iPod has a large frame around its screen and a bit of space under its Click Wheel; a 5G iPod has a large frame around its Click Wheel and a little space under its screen. The iPod nano version’s holes aren’t quite perfect, either: the case is a little loose, letting the nano jiggle inside and showing off a bit of extra space above both the Click Wheel and screen.

Though it would fit in each case, Secure-It provides no protective film for the iPods’ fronts - each case’s only major protectiveness omission. To the extent that there are holes in each case for the headphones, exposing other portions of the iPod in the process, the cases recess each iPod significantly enough that anything other than direct scratch damage is unlikely. We were surprised that oversized headphones worked just fine in even the smaller iPod nano enclosure; they fit without any issue in the 4G/5G version as well.

Overall, though they’re not without their issues, The PodSafes are the best iPod security devices we’ve seen to date, combining deterrent appeal with three forms of actual physical security - a solid case, a sturdy length of cable, and a four-digit combination lock. As between the options we’ve tested, these are the only cases we’d consider leaving unattended in a public place with our iPods inside, though they’re equally good for carrying around wherever you go. We do think that further tweaks - front protective film, less screen/control opening space, and less wiggle room - could make these designs better, and are the only reasons the case fell short of our high recommendation level. But for a first-generation effort at iPod security, Secure-It has done an impressive job on both design and engineering.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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