In the early days of iPod cases, hard plastic was far from the most common available material: developers found it hard to precisely match Apple’s curves, and used softer fabric and rubber designs instead. Today, thanks to sophisticated 3-D modeling and molding techniques, iPods and iPhones alike are routinely encased in shells made mostly from hard plastics. We’re briefly reviewing seven very different options today for the iPod nano, classic, touch, and iPhone 3G, and if you read all of their reviews, you’ll see that there are huge differences in their approaches to protection and value for the dollar. This review covers DLO’s VideoShell for iPod touch ($20), a transparent hard shell with a smart integrated video stand.
Our highest rating—the “flat A”—is reserved for those rare cases that deliver truly outstanding protection and design at reasonable prices. DLO’s original VideoShell for iPod touch received that mark, but its successor for the iPhone 3G fell a little short, due solely to diminished protection. The second-generation iPod touch version follows in the iPhone 3G case’s footsteps, maintaining most of its predecessor’s great features, but missing a little bit of button protection that we had admired in the original design.
All of these cases use the same general formula to protect Apple’s devices. You get a clear screen protector for the face, a clear hard plastic front bezel, and a matching clear plastic rear and side shell. The plastic parts snap together to largely cover the front, back, sides, top, and bottom of the second-gen touch, while the included film covers the balance of the front except for the Home button.
As with the iPhone 3G version of VideoShell, DLO doesn’t go quite as far as it could with the other button covers, either. iPod touch’s new volume buttons are left fully exposed, as is the top Sleep/Wake button, even though DLO previously came up with flexible plastic covers that worked to protect the first iPod touch’s buttons.
These omissions are unfortunate, as VideoShell is otherwise a fantastic little case. Thanks to the plastic and screen film, it covers so much of the iPod touch that you’ll only have tiny bits of chrome and buttons to worry about; similarly, the partially open bottom permits almost any accessory, including oversized headphone plugs and Universal Docks, to work without issues.
The best features of all are the $20 price tag and the rear video stand, which folds out to let you prop the touch up on a table. This stand remains unchanged from the prior versions of this case, offering a very clean solution for passive video viewing whenever you need it—one we continue to prefer to the competitive options we have previously looked at. While VideoShell is a nice-looking case on its own, the inclusion of the smart video stand at this price point is what pushes it into high recommendation territory. If you can live with its protectiveness compromises, it’s a very hard case to beat for the dollar, and one of our very favorites for the second-generation iPod touch.
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Compatible: iPod touch 2G