Company: Speck Products
Models: See-Thru for iPod nano
Compatible: iPod nano
Speck Products See-Thru Sexy Hard Case 3-Pack for iPod nano
Pros: Two sets of three different-colored hard cases for the iPod nano, each protecting the majority of nano’s body, with two colors and one clear case in each set. Easy to attach and remove, use with third-party accessories.
Cons: Cases are low on protection by comparison with best hard case options we’ve seen, exposing nano’s Click Wheel, entire bottom, and Hold switch. No belt or wrist strap included. While low on a per-case basis, total purchase price is higher than that of any other hard case option we’ve seen.
It’s hard to imagine what Speck Products was thinking when it dubbed its new See-Thru plastic shells ($30/3-pack) “Sexy Hard Cases,” but perhaps the company’s recent popularity in Japan, a country filled with funny English slogans, could explain it. Sold in packages of clear, blue and pink or clear, black, and red - the latter set clearly the sexier of the packages - the See-Thru cases provide a thin layer of hard plastic protection for most of your iPod nano.
As with most of the hard cases we’ve tested, you put your nano into the back half of the shell, which includes side and top protection, then pop on the top half of the shell, which overlaps the sides and top. Once locked in, the nano’s Hold switch is exposed at the top, the Click Wheel is open on the front, and the ports are entirely open at the bottom, an average approach to protection. Nothing but the shells is included in the package, either: Power Support’s Crystal Jacket supplements this sort of design with a Click Wheel cover and belt clip; Contour’s iSee-nano only a belt clip, and XtremeMac’s IceFrame with an entirely closed top; See-Thru’s design is comparatively plain. Unlike Contour’s and XtremeMac’s cases, we had no problem using any accessories with See-Thru: the case’s bottom is flush with the nano’s, so anything attaches without an issue.
The biggest difference here is Speck’s array of colors, which may be an attractive option for some people based on its obvious benefit and despite an obvious consequence. On a positive note, you can re-color any nano - particularly a white one - in one of the three colors offered by Speck, or go with a clear or black version for a “standard” look. But the nano’s screen is unfortunately re-colored by any See-Thru save the clear one, which is less than ideal unless you really don’t care what the color screen looks like, or want to see it color-shifted. If you’ve ever wanted to view your nano through rose-colored glasses, the red or pink shells might be to your liking; the blue shell is a rich shade that darkens the screen, and we suspect that the black version is the same - we didn’t receive it for testing.
There’s also the issue of pricing. Though you get three cases in a package, Speck’s $30 price tag is higher than any of the aforementioned competitors, and it’s the only case design of the bunch that doesn’t include a wrist strap or belt clip for carrying outside of your pocket or bag. The lack of a strap or clip isn’t a big deal to us, nor is the fact that this is one of the thinnest hard cases we’ve seen for the nano - arguably an asset for the thin nano - but other people may have different opinions. Since other cases are at least as protective, less expensive, and more versatile in all ways except color, we’d recommend See-Thru only to a limited audience - people who really want the color options, don’t mind paying a bit more to get them, and also don’t mind the screen tinting caused by this design.