Over the past two weeks, we’ve been flooded with clear hard plastic iPod cases — eight for the third-generation iPod nano alone. Highly similar from product to product, we’re covering all eight in comparative reviews today, pointing out their few differences as appropriate. In the order we’re covering them in, there’s DLO’s Shell ($20), Griffin’s iClear ($20), Tunewear’s Tuneshell ($20), DLO’s HybridShell and MetalShell ($20 each), Speck’s SeeThru ($25), Gecko Gear’s Ice Case ($25), and Contour Design’s iSee nano V3 ($25).
DLO’s Shell is this comparative review’s starting point because it is the most basic, and typical, of all of the designs here. It consists solely of two pieces of clear hard plastic—one for the third-generation nano’s face, and one for its sides and back. They snap together with four clips, two each on the left and right sides, and like all of the other cases here, the completed Shell covers all of the nano except for its Click Wheel and bottom, which provides full access to the nano’s Hold switch, Dock Connector, and headphone port. The case is fully compatible with Universal Dock-equipped iPod accessories, as well as oversized headphone plugs, but does not work with other Dock Connecting accessories that have larger plugs than Apple’s own USB cables.
Gecko Gear’s Ice Case sells for a $5 premium, but stands out because of two slight differences in its styling, and its more aggressive collection of pack-ins. Like SwitchEasy’s Biscuit cases, Ice Case has a sculpted Click Wheel cut-out with side dimples to allow for slightly smoother finger motions on the touch-sensitive surface. It uses four side pins—longer than DLO’s—to attach its front to its back, and like Tunewear’s Tuneshell has two holes on its lower rear shell for attachment of an included lanyard necklace, here made from white fabric. Gecko Gear includes a tape-like, two-piece Cick Wheel protector, which actually works and looks good, as well as a headphone port adapter, Universal Dock Adapter, cleaning cloth, and a film cover for the nano’s back. The headphone adapter is necessary to use oversized headphone plugs with the case, and the case’s bottom is not compatible with non-Universal Dock accessories larger than an Apple cable, but otherwise, this is a nicely appointed package.
Our overall feelings about this group of clear plastic iPod nano cases were generally positive—these are all good cases—but there were no superstars in the collection: small accessory compatibility issues took away from what were otherwise the two best offerings in the group, Gecko’s Ice Case and Contour’s iSee nano V3, while the other cases looked good and worked well, but didn’t provide as much protection. Griffin’s iClear and Tunewear’s Tuneshell provide the most accessory compatibility of the group, but iClear isn’t as rough around the edges, while iSee nano V3 does the best on protection, and Ice Case the best on pack-ins; the one you’ll prefer will depend more on the features and pricing you prefer than their looks. DLO’s offerings vary the most in aesthetics for the same price, but none is a major standout from other shell-like cases we’ve been testing.
Company and Price
Company: Gecko Gear
Model: Gecko Ice Case
Compatible: iPod nano (video)