Review: SwitchEasy Capsule for iPod nano G2
Pros: A durable case with a nicely designed Click Wheel protector. Available in two colors, each with a matching lanyard and headphone port extender. Reasonably priced.
Cons: Capsule is a tight fit with the nano and proves somewhat difficult to remove; lanyard is also hard to attach and detach.
The updated version of SwitchEasy’s Capsule ($20) case for the second-generation iPod nano has arrived. Now available in two colors, Crystal and Black Amber, the new Capsule is a major improvement over the previous generation Capsule case (iLounge rating: B-), offering better design, features, and protection.
Easy on the eyes, the Capsule’s design is a simple, two-part contoured shell that snaps onto to the body of the nano. Although the nano does fit tightly inside, this is intentional, to ensure that the nano stays firmly in place and that all the holes on the case line up properly. Built from an “extra strong” GE Lexan plastic, we found the shell to be especially durable during our testing, resisting our attempts at making scratches and indentations. It’s one of the best cases we’ve seen in this regard.
The scope of its protection is also impressive. Capsule completely covers the back, sides and face of the nano. Full screen protection is integrated into the shell, and a novel integrated Click Wheel cover with iPod iconography is printed on its face—an improvement over the prior Capsule’s sticker-styled protector. The Dock Connector, headphone port and hold switch are left exposed, which contributes to a lower Protectiveness score, but overall, we were impressed with how and what Capsule covers.
We also liked SwitchEasy’s color choices. The Black Amber case transforms any nano into a black nano, only modestly dimming its screen in the process, while the Crystal Case lets the nano’s color shine through. Cosmetically, the clear case has its flaws: SwitchEasy elected to put directional icons, namely this side up and branding labels, on the interior back shells of the both cases, but it’s only visible through the back of the clear case, creating a visually noisy nano backside. This is especially true when used with the (Product) RED nano, since Apple’s and SwitchEasy’s icons partially overlap each other. Directions and product information on the case should have been eliminated all together, as it is both visually distracting and overstated.
Functionally, SwitchEasy definitely put some thought into the design and execution of the new Capsule. One complaint in our prior review was our inability to use larger headphone plugs. To remedy this, the Capsule now includes a color-matched headphone port extender, so you can use oversized headphones without difficulty. Additionally, matching white or black lanyard necklaces are also included in Capsule packages. Unfortunately, the lanyard remains a challenge to attach—you’ll need a pin or toothpick to insert it—and removal isn’t necessarily easy, either.
We did have other small issues with specific aspects of this case’s design. First, although the Hold switch is accessible, it is almost impossible to toggle unless you have tiny fingers or long fingernails. Second, we had some trouble getting the nano both in and out of the shell; it may take a few tries with your fingernail to “pry” open the case, something users will have to take into account. Third, the Dock Connector port is completely unaccessible to everything except for cables made as thin as Apple’s, and otherwise requires the user to entirely remove the nano from the Capsule case. If these issues were resolved, the Capsule would have been one of the top two or three hard plastic cases on the market.
Despite those criticisms, we were very pleased with the improvements that SwitchEasy made to the latest Capsule case: this is a great, slimline hard plastic case with generally nice looks and the right price. At $20, you don’t have to think twice about your investment, assuming the minor issues noted above aren’t objectionable to you. For the dollar, Capsule is a great value, and a case we highly recommend to our readers.