At some point, the desire of a competent designer to do something different almost inevitably results in the production of something that’s not quite right. Such is the case with Capdase’s latest series of iPod nano, iPod classic, and iPhone cases, which vary somewhat in features but all tend to look and feel funky rather than fresh. The family begins with the silicone rubber Soft Jacket cases, continues to the hard plastic Crystal Cases, and finishes with the Alumor Metal Cases, which add a thin layer of metal onto either the Soft Jacket or the Crystal Case designs.
The core of each Soft Jacket is a silicone rubber case augmented with translucent hard plastic parts: the iPod nano ($9) and classic ($11) versions have visually odd white-edged plastic screen protectors and pop-out video stands, while the iPhone version ($15) actually has a full hard plastic face plate with a spring-open hard screen protector and a pop-off rear video stand. Both the classic and iPhone versions also include a separate belt clip, while the iPod nano Soft Jacket instead comes with a neoprene belt-mountable carrying case.
In brute summary, the Soft Jacket cases all look and feel cheap and inconsistent from model to model. The nano case has an integrated Click Wheel protector, and the classic one has none. Then, instead of play-through access on the iPhone case, you need to flip a latch surrounding the Home button to gain touch-sensitive access to the iPhone’s screen. Capdase’s belt clips are big but lack for springs or ratcheting, and the neoprene nano belt pouch is geeky and almost thoughtlessly tossed in; similarly, while the nano and classic video stands work and look fine, the iPhone’s looks rushed, big, and trashy. It’s as if Capdase needed to get cases into the marketplace to meet certain criteria, and didn’t care much about whether they were met well or poorly.
The only positive thing we can say about Capdase’s rubber is that it’s not as thin as what we’ve seen in the worst of the other cases out there, though it varies from model to model. In the iPod nano case, it’s the thinnest overall, but still fine; the iPhone version uses variable thicknesses from the front to the sides and back, and feels a little wobbly only on the plastic-reinforced front. The iPod classic version is unusually thick and firm, holding its shape even when no iPod’s inside. All three are scratch-resistant, though the thinnest portions of the nano and iPhone cases could be punctured by intentional force.
Technically, the cases are all fine in protection and functionality, and their typically low straight-from-China pricing makes them somewhat appealing—the only reason for that + in our rating—but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about cases that make the iPod look and feel tacky. We’d pass on all three, but you may feel differently.
Company and Price
Model: Soft Jacket
Compatible: iPod nano, iPod classic, iPhone