For some time, we’ve known JAVOedge as a value-priced marketer of colorful imported cases, occasionally offering savings by offering relatively simple designs in bulk packs. The second-generation iPod shuffle’s benefitted a lot from this strategy, as we’ve already reviewed the JAVOShield Stainless Steel Case (iLounge rating: B) and the JAVOClearCase (iLounge rating: B+), sold in inexpensive sets of 3, 5, or 7 shuffle-covering shells. Last in the company’s shuffle series is the JAVOSkin Case for the second-generation shuffle, sold in three-packs for $9 and five-packs for $11.
As the pictures indicate, JAVOSkin is a soft silicone rubber case made to easily slide over the shuffle, adding frosted clear or light coloration to the existing metal body. The three-packs include frosted white, blue and black Skins, or frosted white, pink and green skins, while the five-pack has all of the colors together. With a silver-colored shuffle, any of the one-piece designs allows for easy color-swapping options, while the frosted white allows any of the colored shuffles’ hues to shine partially through the translucent skin of the case. Apple’s strong colors are somewhat muted, but still visible inside; the green, blue, and pink skins can help to bring a bit more color back to their respectively colored shuffles.
Many second-generation shuffle cases we’ve seen offer even more vibrant colors, but lack for real protection. We were glad that JAVOSkin case is better than most – not all – of its competitors. While inside the JAVOSkin, the top, bottom and face of the shuffle are covered, including the Control Pad, leaving only the back clip exposed – a pretty good level of shuffle case protection, off only a little from the mark set by Hori’s Japanese-only Silicone Cover for iPod shuffle (iLounge rating: B-). Hori’s case is thinner and feels cheaper, but has a little more interior protection underneath the shuffle’s clip. As shuffle cases become more popular, we would like to see manufacturers move towards improving their protection: in thickness, JAVOSkin has taken a step in the right direction, but as Power Support has demonstrated, better case coverage is still possible.
Ease of Use was pretty good but not perfect in JAVOSkin. We were pleased to find that even larger headphone plugs, such as the ones in our high-end Ultimate Ears, fit easily into the shuffle port. On the other hand, full Apple Dock access is not available for the shuffle while inside the case, a common problem with shuffle designs, so you’ll need to consider a third-party cable or USB key if you want to keep JAVOSkin on at all times.
The single biggest selling point of the JAVOSkin cases is their price: at $9 for 3, they’re the least-expensive silicone cases we’ve seen for the iPod shuffle, and even less expensive per unit when purchased in five-packs for $11. Though these aren’t extraordinary cases, particularly on protectiveness, we were pleased with JAVO’s assortment of colors and prices, and think that these are a better value overall than most of the silicone rubber options we’ve seen so far.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod shuffle (aluminum)