Rubber case makers have tried all sorts of tricks to distinguish their designs from the plain jane generics that started flooding the market a few years ago, and though the ideas don’t always work so well, they’re at least interesting. Today, we’re briefly looking at a handful of these cases: two are from Boomwave, four are from ifrogz, and one is from CoverCase. As is generally the case, our reviews evaluate each of these options only modestly on appearance, and instead mostly on the merits of their protection, value, features, and usability; you can decide for yourself whether their looks are a turn-on or a turn-off.
Boomwave’s Diablo and Bearaphim Cases for iPod nano 3G ($16 each) are based on its earlier, same-named silicone rubber cases for second-generation iPod nanos. Once again, Diablo’s devil-like, with rubber horns and a tail, and Bearaphim’s angelic, with bear-like ears and puffy rear wings, each part solidly molded to avoid coming off of the case without intentional pressure. But they’ve been stripped down from prior versions: rather than the wide variety of versions for the past cases, each comes in only three total colors, which overlap in black or pink, with Bearaphim also coming in angelic white and Diablo in devilish red.
At one point, Boomwave used to sell its cases with inked front graphics, differently-colored Click Wheel protectors, biographical faux trading cards, and metal dog tags. Now they’re just sold with detachable lanyards and film screen protectors, leaving the Click Wheel exposed, as well as the entire bottom nano surface; otherwise, they’re fully protective. That said, most iPod nano cases we see nowadays offer equal or greater protection to Diablo and Bearaphim; if anything, you’re buying these cases for their rubber ears and backs. And they command a price of $16—a little higher than the prior, more protective 2G version of Bearaphim, lower than the earlier, more protective, and more frilly version of Diablo.
Our feeling about these cases is relatively simple: with each iteration, they tend to become simpler to manufacture, and in the process lose a little bit more of what made their predecessors unique. Diablo and Bearaphim still stand out from the pack on looks, but less so than before, and less still on features. Consider them if you’re looking for a reasonably priced way to add a little cuteness to the serious new video-ready nanos.
Company and Price
Models: Diablo, Bearaphim
Compatible: iPod nano (video)