Staggering is the only word we’d use to describe the number of hard plastic iPod and iPhone cases we’re reviewing today — over 20 different models that we’ve been comparing to one another, as well as past cases, over the last few weeks. To help you sort through all the options, we’ve assembled a few statistics that are worth knowing up front. All of the iPod nano cases in this roundup run from $20 to $30, with most at $25 or less, while the two iPod classic cases sell for $25 to $30, iPod touch cases range from $20 to $30, and iPhone 3G cases go for $20 to $35. Virtually every case offers at least partial back and side protection, but they vary widely in front, top, and bottom coverage. Though all use plastic as their base material, they differ considerably in color options and secondary materials. This review covers Belkin’s Remix Metal cases for the fourth-generation nano ($25) and 120GB iPod classic ($30).
Based on earlier Remix Metal cases released for the third-generation iPod nano and original iPod classic, Belkin’s new versions continue the past trend: the back and sides of each case are a formed piece of completely clear hard plastic, while the front shell features interesting metal front colors and designs, fused onto an otherwise clear plastic faceplate. Multiple colors are available for each model.
The good news about both of these cases is that—unlike most of the cases we review today—they actually include integrated Click Wheel covers in addition to their hard plastic screen protectors. We had no issues seeing the iPods’ screens or using their controls while inside. Belkin includes holes for the headphone and Dock Connector ports, both compatible with oversized headphone plugs—the classic one just barely OK for the biggest ones—and Universal Docks. We really, truly love the way these cases look; Belkin’s choice of metals and integration of clear plastics on the front is a dynamite combination. The company has also removed the ink dots that were previously on the Click Wheel of last year’s classic version, which we think is an improvement.
Here’s the bad news. While the iPod classic version is every bit as good as last year’s, and still comes with shells for both thinner 80/120GB iPod classics and now-discontinued 160GB models, the iPod nano version we received had serious fit problems. It didn’t seem sturdy at all, and repeatedly came apart at the side seams, an issue that previously affected one of the company’s clear plastic iPhone cases, but in our experience not to the extent of this one.
Though we’d rely upon the iPod classic one in a heartbeat, and continue to feel that it’s worthy of our high recommendation, the iPod nano 4G version we tested was a dud, and definitely needs to be redesigned for greater stability. Our expectation is that Belkin will do this soon, if it hasn’t already started the process.
For iPod classic
For iPod nano 4G
Company and Price
Model: Remix Metal
Compatible: iPod nano (4G), iPod classic (120GB)