Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPod 4G, mini
Speck Products GripSkins for iPod 4G and iPod mini
Pros: Good-looking and nice feeling iPod 4G and mini cases with “grip” sides, hard screen protectors, detachable belt clips, and nicely protective bodies. One of Speck’s best designs on feel.
Cons: 4G iPod version uses unimpressive belt clip nub system that will require a heavy tool to change; neither case includes Click Wheel protection.
We’re catching up today on a number of case accessories for discontinued iPods, and for that reason presenting shorter than normal reviews. This review covers Speck Products’ GripSkins for 4G iPods and minis($19.95).
On a major roll in iPod case design as of late, Speck Products released GripSkins, matte black soft plastic cases distinguished from competitors by “grippy” sides that actually feel fun to hold in your hand. The grips are tens of horizontal rubber ribs, stacked on top of each other in soft curving patterns that from the front resemble the shape of cellos. It’s an attractive and superior alternative visually to the commodity black rubber cases we’ve seen for iPods in increased quantities over the past two years.
Each GripSkin also does something we really appreciated in Speck’s later cases - it covers all but the necessarily exposed headphone port and Hold switch on each iPod’s top, and leaves an appropriately-sized hole at bottom for the iPod’s Dock Connector. Contrast this with the totally open tops and bottoms of Speck’s recent iPod nano cases and you’ll understand why we liked this older design better.
You also get a hard clear plastic screen protector that integrates properly with each case, plus a detachable belt nub and clear clip. On the full-sized iPod version of the case, which uses a hard plastic spacer to accommodate varying thicknesses of iPods, the nub is held in place so tightly that you’ll need a wrench to loosen and tighten it - we’ve been waiting a while for Speck to fix this, and weren’t satisfied by its performance here - but on the mini, the nub is super easy to attach and detach.
The only issues with these cases are simple. First, they show a lot of dust - a common problem with black cases - and second, they have no Click Wheel protection, which is a shame. They’re otherwise really cool cases, and ones we’ve enjoyed using for the past few weeks both on full-sized and mini iPods. The mini version rates a bit better because of its easier belt clip system, but at $19.95, it’s hard to go wrong with either one.