Price: $23, $25
Compatible: iPod touch 5G
XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play + Tatu for iPod touch 5G
Amazingly, XtremeMac was able to unleash a handful of fifth-generation iPod touch cases (and shells) days before the device was even publicly available, so now that the device is out, we can properly evaluate Tuffwrap Play ($23) and Tuffwrap Tatu ($25). These are both protective rubber skins with coverage for the iPod's back, top, bottom, and sides.
As it has for the past few generations of iPod touches, Apple is heavily positioning the latest model as a gaming device, supposedly “engineered for maximum funness.” It makes sense then that a company would offer a case such as Tuffwrap Play, directly aimed at gamers. Similar in concept to cases from Incipio and others, Play is a flexible plastic shell with raised grips on the back, designed to serve double-duty as handles and a stand. Although they don’t significantly affect gaming performance, the hard grips are comfortable to hold and may make marathon gaming sessions more bearable.
This case includes holes for the rear camera features, speaker, Lightning port, headphone port, as well as the loop button. We were curious to see how case companies might handle this new feature and now it’s clear: with a simple hole. The button is still fully accessible but we found that it’s easier to attach the loop before the case is on and then string it through the opening than to try and connect it while the case is on. There’s also button coverage along the top and sides, plus a protective lip to keep the display safe.
Tatu is a much slimmer option, and our preferred offering of the two. The soft silicone case is pretty simple but it’s been executed well. It easily wraps around the body of the iPod touch, protecting not only the back and sides but also the display with a lip. The edges don’t pull away as readily as we’ve seen with cheaper silicone cases, although you can see them press inwards slightly when the covered volume or Sleep/Wake buttons are used. XtremeMac used the same openings on this one as Tuffwrap Play; this case’s name is derived from the varied textured and decorative patterns found on Tatu’s back.
Both of XtremeMac’s iPod touch cases are good, although neither will wow anyone—they’re iterative and competent. Tuffwrap Tatu earns our strong general recommendation because it’s protective, slim, and attractive; there’s sure to be some subsequent innovation in iPod touch cases, but for now, this case gets the job done and looks nice. We offer a general recommendation for Tuffwrap Play, but with a little less enthusiasm: the special features of the case are somewhat niche, but for gamers, it might be an attractive option. Thankfully XtremeMac didn’t give anything up to add the extras, save for thickness, and that’s to be expected any time gamer-friendly grips are added to a thin Apple device.