As smothered with leather case options as we’ve been over the past few months, the best new iPod cases we’ve seen tend to be ones made from plastics — either hard plastic or rubber. Today, we’re looking at a variety of new rubber designs from DLO, PDO, Power Support, and SwitchEasy, ranging in price from $10 to $30, and varying widely in pack-ins. This review covers two new iPod nano cases, DLO’s Jam Jacket with Earbud Management for iPod nano ($20), and Jam Jacket with Earbud Management for iPod classic ($20), which have a lot in common with one another.
All of the iPod nano case designs have three things in common. First, they cover all of the nano’s body, except for its screen and bottom, which are left open. Second, they all come in a black version, as well as at least one other color option. And third, each has at least one distinctive frill that may clinch its appeal to you, even if it doesn’t appeal as much to someone else.
Like the first versions of the Jam Jacket for the iPhone and iPod touch, DLO’s Jam Jackets for iPod nano and classic have one feature that sets them apart from most competitors: rear molded earbud and cord managers. The nano version doubles the case’s thickness, and the classic version also adds a nano-thickness block to its rear, both capable of holding the earbuds and the plug end of their cable. DLO also uses sculpted corners and other small design touches, such as tiny side grip dots, to set its design apart from the others; the opaque black main version alternates with a frosted clear case.
Most conspicuously missing from the Jam Jackets are screen protectors, which when combined with the less problematic open bottoms make the cases a little less protective than the best rubber options we’ve seen. Their built-in rubber Click Wheel guards do well for protection, though, and their open bottoms permit full accessory compatibility, even with Universal Docks and oversized headphone plugs.
Given their $20 prices, which is higher than two of the cases in this roundup, but lower than Power Support’s pricing, the Jam Jackets are also someplace in the middle in appeal. All the extra rubber they have on the back will diminish some users’ interest in these designs, but they’re still good cases, and pretty smart choices for those who want earphone management rather than belt clips or other frills. Those who like the style but not the earbud manager may prefer to wait for a standard Jam Jacket to appear, instead.
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Model: Jam Jacket
Compatible: iPod classic, iPod nano (video)