Company: Speck Products
Price: $30 (3-pack)
Compatible: iPod 5G (with video)
Speck Products SkinTight for iPod 5G
Pros: A set of three different-colored rubber cases with matching screen protectors, each using a novel bottom flap that protects the iPod yet offers part-time access to its frequently useful Dock Connector port.
Cons: Hold switch and Click Wheel are unprotected; set color three-packs don’t offer the per-unit price or color choice advantages of some competing case options.
The SkinTight series is Speck’s “classic” rubberized iPod case, most notably incorporating a special bottom flap that opens and closes as needed to expose or protect the iPod’s Dock Connector port. This feature has made SkinTight cases ideal for use with dock accessories, and continues to work well in the newest version. SkinTights now come exclusively in packs of three, one frosted clear, one ever so slightly translucent black, and one opaque blue. Each includes a matching screen protector, and uses a pattern of cool elevated rear and side bumps to provide anti-slip grips.
Now that Speck has switched to case designs custom-fit to either 30GB or 60GB iPods, we’re thrilled with the way these cases precisely match the holes of their respective iPods. They remain cleanly executed on finish, and essentially impervious to typical damage. The screen protectors are very difficult to break, but they can show small surface scratches after some use. Our ten rating here recognizes the fact that you get two backup parts for the only slightly tarnishable component in the package, and probably won’t need to use them. It’s also worth noting that Speck’s rubber-like soft plastic also feels better in this model than past SkinTights.
As with most of Speck’s other cases, SkinTight provides full access to the iPod’s ports and controls, resulting in our top ease of use rating. The headphone port initially looks a little tight, but turns out to be compatible with even oversized headphones thanks to slight pliability, which is great.
Like Speck’s See-Thru cases, Skin-Tight isn’t a case with many frills - there’s no belt clip or other pack-in to be found here, save for the included screen protectors. But it earns points for including three different color options in one package, and a bonus for its bottom flap, which we continue to think is one of the smartest ways we’ve seen to provide part-time access to the iPod’s Dock Connector port. We also liked the new grip dots on each case’s sides and back.
Though it fares pretty well here, we really wish SkinTight was more protective. The Hold switch and Click Wheel are conspicuously exposed at all times, and the case also tends to expose a thin strip of the iPod’s rear and side metal at the seam next to its bottom flap. Those issues aside, it’s one of the better cases we’ve seen.
Though Speck’s $30 asking price isn’t cheap - most comparably designed 5G silicone cases sell individually for $25 or less - you get three in the package, along with better screen protectors and body design than all of the generic options we’ve tested. That said, we’d imagine that some people would prefer a wider variety of color options, or the ability to buy individual cases instead. We also tend to prefer one nearly perfect case to three pretty good ones, but there’s no doubt that this is a compelling package for fifth-generation iPod owners.
Overall, the latest iteration of SkinTight is a strong, highly recommendable package that stacks up well against the majority of fifth-generation iPod cases we’ve tested. It evolves the company’s classic Kraton plastic SkinTight designs on texture, looks and screen protection, and stays a couple of steps ahead of the commodity cases we’ve seen at similarly low per-case prices. We continue to think its bottom docking flap is one of its strongest features. Additional protection and color options are pretty much all we could ask for.
A Note From the Editors of iLounge: Though all products and services reviewed by iLounge are "final," many companies now make changes to their offerings after publication of our reviews, which may or may not be reflected above. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.