Silicone rubber cases were all but commoditized years ago, and it has become harder for new versions to stand out from the pack. Today, we’re reviewing nine different rubber cases for three different Apple devices: the fourth-generation iPod nano, second-generation iPod touch, and iPhone 3G. This review looks at DLO’s Jam Jacket Rugged ($20) for the new iPod nano and iPod touch, and Jam Jacket with MultiClip ($20) for the new iPod touch.
As with virtually all of the nano cases we’ve tested, the Jam Jacket Rugged case has a lot in common with its competitors. It covers the entire back and sides of the nano, with at least partial top and front coverage, and minimal bottom coverage; it also leaves the nano’s bottom almost entirely open for connection to accessories, and initially exposes the screen and Click Wheel. However, packed-in film covers the nano’s screen, which is a good thing, though it’s worth noting that by contrast with other nano cases we’re reviewing today, Jam Jacket is the most expensive with the least coverage. The iPod touch cases are a little different. They cover the touch’s sides, top, and back completely, with at least partial front coverage, and varying degrees of bottom coverage. They’re also sold solely in opaque black.
Jam Jacket Rugged for the iPod nano is distinct from most competitive cases for one major reason: it’s a grippy black rubber case with seven ribs on each of its sides, and depressions in its back, thickening the nano while removing its dull knife-like sides. It’s the thickest of the nano cases we review today, and arguably the easiest to hold. The iPod touch version possesses the same seven side ribs to make the case grippy, but they’ve been enlarged, and have wider depressions to match the larger iPod touch body.
By comparison, the MultiClip version has none of these grips, but features a prominent and unique rubber-coated rear clip that can serve as a stand, cord manager, or belt clip depending on how it’s flexed and rotated. It’s the sequel to an earlier, same-named product for the first iPod touch. Both cases come with clear film screen protectors; only the Rugged version leaves the touch’s Home button exposed.
They differ in bottom openings, with MultiClip offering an almost completely open, fully accessory-compatible bottom, and Rugged opting for a more protective approach that only barely exposes touch’s bottom holes. Those using oversized headphone or Dock Connector plugs will find Rugged’s bottom a little too hard to make connections with; this case is also, unlike MultiClip, impossible to use with Universal Docks.
In our reviews of the other silicone cases for the iPod nano, we noted that DLO’s Jam Jacket Rugged is the most expensive of the bunch, with the least surface coverage—neither a reason to prefer it over its competitors—but it has the thickest skin and most grip. While its bottom has a lip that may make the use of some oversized Dock Connector plugs a little difficult, it generally works with oversized headphones and Universal Docks, making it a pretty good option for accessory compatibility overall. We’d rate it a step or so below the others, but it’s still a good case.
For the iPod touch, our ratings differ a bit. DLO’s Jam Jacket with MultiClip offers comparatively solid protection and the most versatile clipping and stand functionality of the cases we test today, all at a reasonable price. By contrast, Jam Jacket Rugged is the weakest link of the iPod touch cases due to its bottom port hole design, but it’s still a good option.
Jam Jacket MultiClip for touch
Jam Jacket Rugged for nano/touch
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: Jam Jackets
Compatible: iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G