Vakaadoo iVak Soft Feel and Domino Cases for iPod Video (30GB/60GB)
Pros: Two-piece colored hard shell protection for your 5G iPod, available in two sizes for different iPod thicknesses, and multiple colors and textures depending on your preferences. Covers the vast majority of the iPod, looks good doing so.
Cons: No Click Wheel protection; headphone and Dock Connector ports are on the too-small side for oversized accessories, no pack-ins such as belt clips. Price is high by comparison with other hard plastic cases.
Hard plastic iPod shells have become fairly predictable; most of them use frosted or glossy plastic to protect most of your iPod against damage. New accessory maker Vakaadoo has taken a novel route, unveiling a new series of iVak plastic cases for the fifth-generation iPod ($30, inc. shipping) which break from tradition in color and texture. Brightly colored ones are called “soft feel cases” and possess a soft, “scratch free liquid rubber finish,” while “domino cases” come in glossy white and matte black. Each of the shells uses two pieces of hard plastic to protect the majority of the iPod’s body, save for Click Wheel, top, and bottom holes; a clear screen protector is integrated. An included iVak key is used to separate the case into two halves when your iPod’s inside. Sold in separate 30GB and 60GB versions, iVak will also be available in regular and special edition packages, the latter with an included VakWrap rubber cord manager.
Generally, the iVak cases are very good in build quality - they score our top points in both fit and finish, as described in the pulldown above, and lose only one point on resilience: like most hard cases we’ve tested, this one isn’t scratch-proof, and the screeen protector will show small marks after some use. For now, that’s normal, and better than having your iPod take the damage.
On a positive note, iVak permits full-time access to all five of the iPod’s key areas - screen, Click Wheel, Dock Connector port, headphone port and Hold switch. All of its holes, however, are on the very small side, which is fine for the Click Wheel and Hold switch, but limits what you can connect to the Dock Connector port and headphone port hole, for a two-point deduction. Oversized plugs will not fit, but Apple’s (and similarly small ones) will.
Though Vakaadoo’s pack-ins here aren’t anything amazing - you need to pay extra to get the pictured cord manager, for instance - we award two points for innovation in hard shell color and texture. The soft touch cases feel silky in a nice way, and the domino cases are nice as well - we especially liked the glossy white version. Given their coloration, these cases are also unique in that they don’t require separate screen protectors, and do a good job of locking together to protect your iPod with minimal added thickness. The included plastic opening card is also a good idea, and better than using a thicker hinge. Some people would obviously prefer to see additional items included here, though - belt clips, lanyards and the like are nowhere to be found, and can’t be attached.
iVak cases rate pretty well on protectiveness - though they do expose a bit more of the iPod’s top and bottom than is strictly necessary - the open Dock Connector and Hold switch, specifically - they cover everything else save the Click Wheel about as much as could be covered, for better or worse. We would have preferred to see a detachable Click Wheel protector of some sort in the package. That aside, they score extra points because their hard plastic shells are strong by iPod case standards.
Though there was some confusion over the pricing of iVak cases for the U.S. market, all has turned out for the best: they’re being sold by the company for a reasonable price of $30. Though we think the iVak cases are novel enough to merit somewhat of a premium, we’re not sure that we’d pay that much for any semi-protective hard case, given the standards of the best such cases we’ve seen.
Vakaadoo’s too-small headphone and Dock Connector ports are the major reason these cases rate a B rather than a B+ in our judgment; these are good cases, with small limitations that may make them less than thrilling for some users. If you are willing to pay the price for the unique colors or textures here, you will be impressed and satisfied by iVaks; otherwise, there are other options offering similar protection at more aggressive prices.
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.