While its design may strike some as pedestrian, Incipio’s NGP Matte for the fourth-generation iPod touch ($25) is a highly competent case, and one of the best we’ve seen for Apple’s lowest-cost device with FaceTime. NGP stands for “Next Generation Polymer” — a semi-soft plastic that has enough give to be workable but yet maintains its shape and position. The case, which is available in opaque black and magenta options as well as translucent “mercury” and turquoise seems to be a very no-frills option, but succeeds in its simplicity.
The actual case is one piece of material: a semi-rigid shell that wraps around the body of the iPod touch, leaving the screen exposed. Unlike some other soft cases, NGP slides on quite easily but the frame does not pull away without intentional force, and the frame maintains its shape even after repeated removals. We also really liked the feel of the case; the matte finish is smooth rather than gummy or glossy, and feels sturdy in the hand, easily slipping in and out of a pocket. It’s also quite precisely molded, with an opening for the iPod touch 4G’s rear camera and microphone, plus a larger hole on the bottom to provide access to the speaker, Dock Connector, and headphone port.
While we generally prefer designs that feature at least optional protection for these parts of the touch’s bottom, the wider space does allow for full and relatively easy electronic connection with Universal Docks. Both the Sleep/Wake button and volume controls are covered by raised portions of the polymer, which leads to our biggest concern with NGP. While the Sleep/Wake button remains very easy to press, the volume buttons require noticeably more pressure. They are still fully usable, but the difference is evident. Also included with the case is what Incipio calls its “Vanity Kit:” one piece of screen protector film, an applicator card, microfiber cleaning cloth, and video stand. These additions are appreciated, adding to NGP Matte’s out-of-box protection and versatility, but they’re unremarkable.
Yes, NGP Matte is dead simple in execution, but we really liked it in almost every way. Incipio’s choice of polymer materials combined with the precision fit makes this a solid choice for iPod touch users looking to maintain the slim design of the device while keeping it protected from dings and scratches. If Incipio were to improve the tactility of the volume buttons and add some form of optional port protection, this would be an almost universally recommendable case—a huge step up from the rubber iPod cases of yesteryear. In the mean time, it is still a very good option.
Company and Price
Model: NGP Matte for iPod touch 4G
Compatible: iPod touch 4G