Substantially re-mastered from the company’s earlier first generation case for iPod nanos, Core Cases has introduced the new Aluminum Case for second-generation iPod nanos ($20), which strips off one of its predecessor’s key features, but otherwise improves the look and feel of an already good metal case design. Reasonable pricing and multiple colors make this one of the best metal cases out there.
Still priced at the same $20 as the first-generation Aluminum Case, the newer model disappoints in only one regard: it offers a bit less bang for your buck. Before, the Aluminum Case came complete with a great detachable belt clip and an integrated lanyard attachment. The new case is sold separately from an upcoming belt clip, forcing you to pay more if you want that functionality. We’ve not big belt clip users, so this didn’t bother us, but we really did like Core’s past clip a lot; the new one is very different, and bigger.
Thankfully, Core’s revised case design is excellent. Rather than using a hinge or thick materials, it’s made from two medium-thickness pieces of hard aluminum that slide together to form a shell, providing virtually complete, bulkless protection for the nano from the inside out. A full soft foam interior lining and integrated plastic screen cover provide anti-scratch protection for the nano’s key surfaces, and the case comes with removable plastic film inserts for added screen and Click Wheel protection, the former unnecessary, the latter welcome. For the first time, Core also includes a removable rubber cover for the Dock Connector that surprisingly stays firmly in place, protecting most but not all of the bottom left side of the nano.
Other accessories work very well, too. Users will find that the case is designed to accommodate larger accessories such as headphone jacks and dock connectors – which we really liked. And as usual, Core offers a collection of color choices – Electric Pink, Lava Red, Neon Green, Ocean Blue, Onyx Black and Sterling Silver – which are similar to Apple’s originals. Each case overlays every colored part of your nano save its Click Wheel button and a small area on the back around its Hold switch, allowing you to almost entirely change the color of a nano while preserving its original metallic looks. For protectiveness and color reasons, we wish that last little piece of nano metal was covered, but the design makes removal of your nano a little easier.
Although Core Cases’ decision to drop its belt clip was disappointing, and there are tiny gaps in Aluminum Case’s protectiveness, its other design choices were generally improvements upon the case that came before. For the price, it’s hard to find a metal case this protective, good-looking, or well-built, all reasons for our high recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Core Cases
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)