Review: Vakaadoo iVak N-type 2 Case for iPod nano (Second-Generation)
Pros: An easy to use case, priced reasonably, with a variety of color options. Comes with lots of extras, including a lanyard necklace, a keychain clip and a cord manager. Soft texture is unique to the iVak series.
Cons: Lower level of protectiveness than previous generations. Company’s web site remains problematic many months after initial user complaints. Not an aggressive deal relative to top competitors.
U.K.-based case developer Vakaadoo has been known for two things: their relatively inexpensive but practical cases, and their messy web site. Debuted last December but still not shown on Vakaadoo.com, the iVak N-type 2 Case for the second generation iPod nano ($25) has been sitting in our review queue awaiting general availability to the public. Though it’s not easy to find, we decided to cover it anyway in case some of our readers were interested in the somewhat unique design. This version of iVak N-type is available in seven colors: blue, red, green, pink, silver, black and white.
Like its predecessor, which was called iVak N-type, the iVak N-type 2 case consists of a hard plastic interlocking shell with a soft rubber textured surface, which is unique to Vakaadoo’s line-up, and called “soft feel;” it does actually feel nice to the touch while largely approximating a nano’s original metal color. And positively, the iVak N-type 2 does offer full screen, side, back and face protection with this plastic shell, which is pretty good but not great by nano case standards. Regrettably, Vakaadoo decided to remove the top and bottom body parts of the prior iVak N-type, leaving the Hold switch, Dock Connector and headphone port exposed, and as we frequently note, we prefer cases that offer superior overall protectiveness.
On the other hand, N-type 2 comes with a lot of extras. There’s a white, boomerang-shaped cord manager, a lanyard necklace, and a keychain clip, the latter two parts capable of being used together or separately. Additionally, Vakaadoo includes a protective sticker that covers the Click Wheel, and although some might prefer a more permanent form of Click Wheel protection, the sticker is easy to add and remove without leaving behind sticky residue.
For all practical purposes, we were impressed with the simplicity and convenience of the case in everyday situations, whether we were attaching to the case to a key ring or wearing the lanyard around our necks. Additionally, we were pleased to find during our testing that the iVak N-type 2 is compatible with basically all bottom-connecting iPod accessories, such as headphone plugs, Dock Connectors, and even Universal Docks, while the nano’s inside.
Other than the protectiveness, if there’s anything to be concerned about with this case design, it’s the pricing. Last time out, Vakaadoo sold two cases bundled together at a slight per-case discount relative to a single case purchase. Now, you can buy only one case and pay a bit more-$25. While that’s not awful for an iPod nano case, you can do better on hard plastic protectiveness for the price: Contour Design’s iSee nano V2 (iLounge rating: A) still rates the top of the pack for $5 less.
Generally speaking, Vakaadoo has created a smart, easy-to use-case for the second-generation nano in iVak N-type 2. We like the design, the variety of colors and available extras, and aren’t wholly put off by the pricing. In our view, the biggest deterrants from a purchase are Vakaadoo’s website and the product’s availability: the company really needs to get on the ball and create the type of international online shopping experience its customers would expect from an iPod case maker. In the meanwhile, find iVak N-type 2 elsewhere, if you’re pleased enough by its features and looks to need it at all.