Review: Speck See-Thru Lucid Case for iPod nano 2G
Conventional? Speck? As hard as it is for us to believe, it's possible: the company's new See-Thru Lucid ($30) is very similar to clear hard plastic case designs we've already seen and liked from companies such as Contour Design, with only a few small changes. The Lucid name distinguishes this version of See-Thru from its first-generation iPod nano predecessor, which was cheaper on a per-case basis but offered less protection. [Updated February 22, 2007: Speck has released a second color of See-Thru Lucid - a smoke black-tinted version - that's otherwise identical to its fully clear predecessor. New photographs have been added below; the remainder of this review remains unchanged.]
Like its competitors and precursors, See-Thru Lucid surrounds your iPod nano with a layer of fully clear hard plastic, here rounded smoothly at the sides. Speck’s plastic is hard enough not to scratch when scraped by soft fingernails, but not strong enough to resist damage from keys. The first of its new additions is a thin rubber gasket in the center edges of the case, coupled with an unusually small, nicely curved hinge at the top, right behind the nano’s Hold switch. Lucid’s hinge adds only a hint of extra height to the nano, and prevents the case’s two halves from fully separating, but also makes use of the Hold switch a bit tricky. White in color, the rubber gasket helps the case’s two sides seal shut, and also provides just a little bottom interior edging to keep the nano inside from slipping out.
In truth, these changes to the prior See-Thru are nice, but they remedy few of its omissions. To that end, Speck now includes a Click Wheel protector made from rubber, as well as a slide-on rotating plastic belt clip, each clear frosted. The Click Wheel guard seals the front of the case against any potential damage - a major plus, in our book - while the new ratchet-enhanced belt clip provides users with the option to wear or pocket the nano as they prefer.
Given these sorts of improvements in design, what’s most regrettable about See-Thru Lucid are some of its little issues: its fully open bottom doesn’t offer the protection of the rubber-plugged Contour iSee nano V2, and Speck’s molded plastic lip isn’t compatible with oversized headphone or Dock Connector plugs. Additionally, its $30 asking price is considerably higher than iSee’s without offering any substantial advantage - a change from the prior See-Thru, which came in 3-packs for the same price. From where we stand, See-Thru Lucid is a nice update to its less impressive predecessor, and a recommendable case overall, but it’s a bit too expensive given what else is out there right now.