Forgettable cases. After a period of somewhat impressive innovation, Capdase has returned with a series of bland but substantially protective silicone rubber iPod holders, called Hip-Hop Style Soft Jackets for iPod nano ($10). What makes them Hip-Hop Style? Beats us, but each of the new second-generation iPod nano cases is pretty much like the first-generation versions that came before.
Capdase’s packages each include a case in one of six colors – clear frosted pink, blue, green, white, and black, plus opaque black – as well as a universal white rubber edged hard plastic screen protector, the edges of which are the only major difference from the first-gen nano version of this case. In addition to a detachable metal clip, which is on the small side, there’s also a braided necklace lanyard that varies in color based on the case: the frosted white Soft Jacket comes with a white lanyard, while both black versions come with black lanyards, and the other colors come with silver lanyards. (For reference, the first-generation nano white version shown in the last two pictures here included a silver lanyard, instead.)
The Soft Jackets score quite well on both ease of use and protectiveness – they cover literally the entire nano save the headphone port, and have a flap at the bottom for easy access to the Dock Connector, plus integrated Click Wheel protection, which we found unintrusive when navigating the nano’s menus. But Capdase lost major points on build quality here because of its belt clip design. In an attempt to let you position the clip upwards, downwards, or on either side, Soft Jacket includes barely visible, covered slits on the case’s back – a good idea – but then uses a clip that’s capable of cutting the plastic when moved.
On our very first attempt to remove the clip, one of our cases’ back rubber noticeably tore, a rarity in cases we’ve seen in recent years. It wasn’t enough to make the case unusable, but the tear wasn’t small, either; thankfully, it didn’t happen when we were intentionally very gentle in testing the clip’s removal from another case. As the Soft Jackets use thick enough rubber to resist pull-related tearing, we’d blame this almost entirely on slicing action from the thin metal edges of the clip. If you’re considering a purchase and don’t want to use the belt clip, or hope to reposition it for use on its side, be especially careful when removing it.
Ultimately, the major reason Soft Jacket merits our general recommendation after that is its low price. While $10 isn’t a shocking price given the simplicity of rubber cases in general or the belt clip-related durability of this one in specific, it’s fair in combination with the high ease of use and protectiveness here. The Hip-Hop Style Soft Jacket won’t be at the top of any of our iPod nano case lists, but it’s not a terrible entry, either, so long as you’re careful with the clip.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod nano