After releasing the original, excellent iSkin Duo for the first-generation iPod nano (iLounge rating: A), iSkin had a tough act to follow, and it seemed to know as much. So it worked on two cases for the second-generation iPod nano, the recently-released second-generation Duo (iLounge rating: A), and this, the confusingly-named iSkin for iPod nano ($30). iSkin for iPod nano is essentially the same case as the new Duo – both cases are half rubber, half-plastic designs – but unlike Duo, the standard iSkin includes three rubber skins: a “Cruise” pack includes pink, red and clear rubber skins, while a “Chill” pack includes purple, blue and clear skins, and a “Groove” pack includes white, black and clear skins. Duo includes only one skin for the same price, but has two other benefits.
As you can see from the photos, iSkin uses a two-part design. There’s an inner layer made of a soft, flexible silicone rubber, which protects most of the nano’s front, back, sides, and part of its top. Then there’s a clear outer plastic shell, called a Visor, with an integrated screen cover, which attaches to the entire face of the nano, leaving the Click Wheel open except for the inner layer’s rubber. Unlike Duo, the standard iSkin compromises on protectiveness – the Dock Connector and headphone port are always left exposed here, though they’re covered in Duo – resulting in a lower protectiveness score of seven.
Also, as compared to Duo, which has a clear frosted silicone case and colored plastic visor, the iSkin has an inverted design, with a clear plastic visor and a colored silicone case. The colors are easily interchangeable, but unless you pick a skin that’s colored differently from your nano’s color, you’re stuck with a single overall color to walk around with. While you do get three skins for the price, you’re not really getting three full cases here – the Visor always stays the same. iSkin also comes with a Universal Dock Adapter that lets you dock the nano in any Universal Dock-equipped accessory while still inside the case, as well as a removable RevoClip2 rotary belt clip, which can adjust and lock to virtually any position. Fans of pack-ins should note that only Duo comes with a detachable lanyard, a feature not included with the standard iSkin.
As with the Duo, add-on accessories work very well with iSkin; users will find that the case has no problem whatsoever with larger accessories such as headphone jacks and thick or oddly-shaped Dock Connectors, which we really liked. Though the Universal Dock Adapter works well to let iSkin fit into any now standard Dock-equipped speaker system, it’s worth noting that smaller, non-Universal Dock-equipped systems such as Logitech’s popular mm50 speakers might require you to remove the belt clip prior to insertion.
Essentially, iSkin is the same case as the Duo, but with those few previously-noted exceptions: more color choices for the same price, but otherwise compromised features and protectiveness. Though neither strikes us as being as amazing as the original iSkin Duo for the first-generation iPod nano, they’re both excellent designs, and virtually on par with one another.
Company and Price
Company: iSkin, Inc.
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)