The word “sidewinder” brings to mind a variety of images: venomous snakes, missiles, game controllers, and even a now-defunct band from the 90’s. Another variant is Marware’s Sidewinder Spectra ($25), a second-generation nano case that’s just joined the company’s earlier, innovative Sidewinder case family for 5G iPods and original nanos. Spectra is named for the new nano colors it adds to the prior Sidewinder designs.
Each Spectra is made with thick hard plastic, unifying a clear plastic face with a colored backside that’s designed to compliment the second-generation nano. Unlike some of the pre-scuffed and -scratched clear cases we’ve tested, our sample Sidewinder Spectra cases arrived in excellent condition, strongly resembling Marware’s official photos of pristine, glossy cases. A small bottom opening allows the nano to conveniently slide both in and out of the Sidewinder Spectra; a small plastic bottom insert pops in to lock the nano inside. Additionally, the case comes with a detachable, nice Multidapt belt clip and adhesive nub; the fact that you can choose not to stick it on is in our view an improvement over the prior case’s non-detachable nub.
Some other significant changes have been made since Marware first introduced the Sidewinder case family: the small clear screen window has been transformed into a fully clear plastic front surface for improved nano face color visibility, and dull black and white color choices have been replaced with vibrant colors of green, pink, blue, silver and black, roughly matching those of the new second-generation nanos. One thing that Marware fortunately did not change was the unique slide-out cord manager for on-the-go earphone storage, a feature that’s perfect for your gym bag, suitcase or purse. You can choose to use the color-matched cord manager, or tuck it away when not in use, yet the case isn’t significantly bigger than a standard hard plastic nano case. That’s a big improvement over the bulkier original Sidewinder.
Though the iPod’s screen and Click Wheel are entirely accessible at all times, the case does impair some of the nano’s other key features. First, not all accessories work with the Sidewinder Spectra’s small headphone and Dock Connector port openings. Even though Apple’s earphones are compatible, larger headphone plugs are not supported by the Sidewinder’s small openings – and by larger we mean “more than slightly larger.” Additionally, we found during our testing that the bottom insert must be in place at all times to prevent the nano from slipping out of the case, making the nano’s Dock Connector virtually impossible to use while inside the Sidewinder.
Marware has had a long history with iPod cases, and overall, we feel that they make great products. Sidewinder Spectra is a well-made case that looks better than its first-generation nano predecessor thanks to better curves and colors, while preserving almost all of its protectiveness, convenience, durability, and reasonable pricing – the reasons for our high recommendation. A hinged, more accessory-compatible bottom like the last version, and a more universal headphone port opening would only have sharpened its bite.
Company and Price
Model: Sidewinder Spectra
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)