Staggering is the only word we’d use to describe the number of hard plastic iPod and iPhone cases we’re reviewing today — over 20 different models that we’ve been comparing to one another, as well as past cases, over the last few weeks. To help you sort through all the options, we’ve assembled a few statistics that are worth knowing up front. All of the iPod nano cases in this roundup run from $20 to $30, with most at $25 or less, while the two iPod classic cases sell for $25 to $30, iPod touch cases range from $20 to $30, and iPhone 3G cases go for $20 to $35. Virtually every case offers at least partial back and side protection, but they vary widely in front, top, and bottom coverage. Though all use plastic as their base material, they differ considerably in color options and secondary materials. This review covers Incase’s Slider Case for iPod touch 2G ($35).
Incase debuted the first Slider Case for the original iPhone many months ago, introducing a new concept in hard plastic shells: unlike earlier cases, which couldn’t fit into Apple’s packed-in iPhone Dock, Incase’s design featured a slide-off bottom panel that revealed only the iPhone’s antenna housing and Dock Connector, enabling it to fit the Dock without having to remove the rest of the case. The feature was novel and nice, but as we noted in that review—then subsequent ones—the case was really expensive relative to cases that offered more protection, a problem compounded in recent days by superior competition.
Slider Case for iPod touch 2G is a retread of the same idea at the same $35 price at a time when many competitors are offering better, more protective iPod touch cases for $10 less. We needn’t reiterate all the points made in our late June review of the version for first-generation iPod touches, or our earlier October review of the iPhone 3G version, beyond to note that the execution has barely changed here.
Of course, Slider Case now fits the iPod touch 2G, complete with holes for the side volume buttons and top Sleep/Wake switch, as well as the bottom headphone and Dock Connector ports; it has a curved back and completely covers the device’s front chrome bezel. Additionally left open is the full iPod touch screen area, complete with its black framing and Home button. Other companies cover the screen, controls, and ports with film, rubber, or soft plastic, but as is frequently the case, Incase doesn’t—a major detractor given the price.
Incase offers Slider Case in black, white, and gunmetal gray versions, featuring either soft touch rubber-coated or glossy plastic shells. The design is pleasantly conservative, and generally accessory-friendly, offering full use of the headphone port by oversized plugs, and access to the Dock Connector port for Universal Docks and similar accessories. That said, the Slider concept now appears to be more of a novelty than a feature; as there’s no iPod touch-specific dock with narrow dimensions, the only reason to slide the bottom piece off would be to connect the rare unusually huge accessory, or remove touch from the case altogether. A hole in the bottom makes attachment of most Dock Connecting cables a snap even if the bottom piece is kept on.
Our feelings about Slider Case remain very straightforward. Preserving the same look, only with greater protection and/or lower prices, we’d consider this to be a fine if slightly plain case for iPod touch users. However, the sheer number of good to great competitors that offer more iPod touch coverage and frills for lower prices places this one firmly in our “okay” rating category; we’ll continue to hope that the next generation of Slider will do more than just adjust its tailoring to different iPod or iPhone dimensions.
Company and Price
Model: Slider Case
Compatible: iPod touch