Pros: An attractive, durable clear hard plastic case that is easy to use, and priced very aggressively given the extent and quality of its protectiveness.
Cons: Bottom ports are recessed beneath narrow lip of hard plastic, making larger accessories and headphone plugs impossible to connect. No other color choices as of press time.
Rather than merely re-releasing its past iSee for iPod nano, Contour Design has redesigned its clear hard plastic iSee case for the second generation nano. The result is the iSee nano V2 ($20): a sleeker, stylized case that’s highly protective, easy to use, and aggressively priced – the sort of design we’re happy to highly recommend.
As with its predecessor, the iSee nano V2 shell consists of two interlocking pieces of durable, hard plastic that resist scratches and scuffs, and this year’s edition does a better job of preserving its looks than most of the clear cases we’ve seen. We were equally impressed with the precision molding, which allowed for perfect alignment of its holes for the Hold switch and Click Wheel. Two included rubber inserts – one each for the Click Wheel and bottom ports – fit well, and stay securely in place.
The iSee scored pretty well in the Ease of Use category – despite the case’s substantial protection, we found our nano to be very easy to use and navigate while inside.
Contour’s smart design starts with a plastic shell that offers easy Click Wheel access and full screen visibility. Additionally, the Dock and headphone ports are optionally covered by an included, fully removable silicone flap, which you can open on one side and leave on the Dock Connector while still using the headphone port, or remove altogether – a feature that we really liked. On the flip side, the openings for the headphone port and Dock Connector are on the narrow side, and though small- and medium-sized headphone plugs work, we had some trouble plugging in larger test headphones and cableless or thick Dock Connector plugged accessories. Apple’s attachments work without an issue.
As impressed we were with the design of the iSee, we were equally impressed with the detachable, four-position metal and plastic belt clip that easily rotates and locks into one of four cardinal directions on the case’s back. Thanks to this clip, you can wear the nano with its headphone port and screen up, down, or on either side, a great feature.
We also awarded a couple of points for the innovation and versatility of its enclosure design: clear plastic cases aren’t new, but the shape, look, and feel of this one are all solid, and the rubber parts work very well. If anything, we wish iSee nano V2 were available in more colors, like some of the other clear plastic cases out there.
iSee nano V2 scores high on Protectiveness: with the exception of the nano’s Hold switch, literally everything can be fully covered and protected, thanks to the detachable Dock Connector/headphone port cover and Click Wheel protectors. Some users will appreciate the fact that either or both can easily be added or removed, but we like to keep as much of the nano safe from potential damage as possible. It’s also worth noting that the thicker plastic used in this case provides a level of added protection for the iPod’s sides; some of the clear cases we’ve seen are substantially thinner and flimsier.
As with prior versions of the iSee, iSee nano V2 offers iPod owners reasonably priced clear protection, but the look, feel, protectiveness and versatility of this latest version is especially impressive. For the $20 asking price, it’s hard to find a hard nano case that’s designed as well overall.