For the past six months, DLO’s been on a serious design roll, releasing fabric, hard plastic, and rubber cases that are amongst the best in its six-year history. Today, we look at two $20 silicone rubber cases that interestingly break the company’s molds in both looks and features: the Jam Jacket Design for iPod nano, and Jam Jacket Multiclip for iPod touch. Of the two cases, Multiclip struck us as a substantially better offering, but Design also brings something new to the table.
For years, DLO’s rubber Jam Jacket cases have been boldly colored and aggressively molded, featuring distinctive front, back, and side ridges and curves, neon tones and interesting features. These new Jam Jackets are comparatively austere, at least from the front and sides: both have subtly elevated edges around the screen and controls, but not much else besides small DLO logos; they are also sold only in black.
Neither the coloration nor their shapes screams “look at me” or “grip me;” which depending on your personal taste and needs may be a good thing.
What’s new here is each case’s back. Design for iPod nano appears to have been made from frosted clear rubber coated in opaque black ink, which was either not applied or removed on parts of the case’s back, leaving a piece of art behind. Our review sample featured the image of an eagle with branches in its talons, resembling colonial era art used on currency.
While interesting in concept, the “etched” art isn’t equally clear at all points, and winds up looking a little blotchy and obscured in certain areas. It’s our impression that silkscreening or picking art with thicker lines might help future iterations of Jam Jacket Design to better achieve their intended results.
Both cases offer at least a good level of protection, but the iPod touch Jam Jacket does better, including a full screen protector while the nano version does not; thankfully, DLO integrated Click Wheel protection into its face. Both cases leave the bottoms of the iPods completely open for easy accessory connection, but otherwise cover all of the iPods’ scratchable backs and sides, plus most of their faces. The iPod touch version unnecessarily has a hole at the top for the Sleep/Wake button, and more usefully has one on front for the brightness sensor.
The only other gotcha in these cases is the extent to which their black rubber skins attract dust and hair.