Pros: A well-built, two-piece hard plastic and metal case that offers easy access to the iPod nano’s controls and ports. Available in two options: white plastic and brushed metal, or black plastic and mirror-finished metal.
Cons: No screen or Click Wheel protection is included; the cases’ metal surfaces smudge and scratch easily; headphone port is incompatible with larger headphone plugs; and the case is slightly more expensive than its better-featured predecessor.
Hong Kong-based Capdase has long impressed iLounge with its well made, well thought out designs, which are generally available at low-to-reasonable prices. We were especially impressed with their hybrid silicone and metal “Metal Case” for the iPod mini (iLounge rating: A-), but this model’s cousin for the iPod nano has us considerably less excited: the originality is diminished now that its predecessor’s inner rubber case is gone, the belt clip and screen protectors are gone, and the total price – including shipping from its only US distributor – has gone up.
The Luxury Metal Case’s two halves slide together along tiny tracks in the plastic. With the iPod nano inside, the halves fit together securely, creating little fear that they’ll come apart during normal use. Additionally, the access areas for the Click Wheel and screen line up accurately.
The case is available in two models: one with white plastic trim and a brushed metal finish, and one with black plastic trim and a polished metal finish. The polished version is unsurprisingly rather susceptible to fingerprints and scratches, and the brushed version isn’t immune, either.
For this deficiency in cosmetic resilience, we deduct a point.
The Luxury Metal Case allows full-time access to each of the iPod nano’s five key access areas: screen, Dock Connector, Hold switch, headphone port, and Click Wheel. However, because the case’s headphone port opening is just barely too small to properly fit several of our third-party headphone jacks, we deduct one of the two points designated for headphone port access.
Each Luxury Metal Case includes two minor accessories. The first is a woven leather-like lanyard of the same color as the case’s plastic trim, and the second is a tiny piece of plastic intended to be used as a cable shortener. To use it while the headphones are in use, clip one end of the shortener to the earphone cable, wrap some slack around its center, and attach the remainder of the cable to the other end of the shortener. It works acceptably well for Apple’s earphones, but it doesn’t strike us as any sort of monumentally enticing pack-in; most users will likely lose it or throw it away.
Capdase made a rather shocking design omission for its iPod nano metal case relative to its iPod mini version – screen protection. Considering the nano’s infamous scratchability, this is a major disappointment, costing the case two points.
Furthermore, the nano Luxury Metal Case retains its predecessor’s lack of Click Wheel protection. These are both especially troubling given the case’s lack of a belt clip, essentially relegating it to being carried in pockets and bags. Potential buyers should be prepared to carry this case in empty pockets only.
Additionally, but of less profound significance, the Hold switch and Dock Connector are both left exposed full-time, though are recessed beneath a couple millimeters of plastic trim.
As with virtually all Capdase products we’ve ever reviewed, we were initially impressed with the low retail price of the Luxury Metal Case – $18 – but this advantage is then diluted almost entirely with large international shipping costs from Capdase’s only online U.S. distributor. Considering the total cost of the acquiring the case, it’s a fairly standard value, at our baseline 5 points out of 10. Our editors had split opinions on whether to add or subtract tilt points for this case, primarily due to its scratchability and lack of screen protection – one didn’t like it and wanted to revoke a point, another did like it and wanted to add a point or keep it neutral.