Pros: Relatively inexpensive neoprene protection which is adequate on most sides.
Cons: Not stylish, bulks up the sleek iPod mini without matching its look in any way.
Marware SportSuit Basic, Convertible, Runabout and Safari
Marware is now shipping the black-colored SportSuit Basic, a $24.95 case that is almost identical to the Action Jacket, save a few particulars, the more interesting $34.95 workout version called the SportSuit Convertible, a middle-of-road $29.95 wristband variant called the SportSuit Runabout, and an entirely different fur-covered $19.95 pouch design called the SportSuit Safari. Each case has advantages and disadvantages; only one scored an iLounge Excited rating.
The SportSuit Basic case coats an iPod mini in soft, scratch-resistant neoprene, using clear vinyl to cover the mini’s screen, but fully exposing its Click Wheel to the elements. At a suggested retail price of $24.95, Marware’s Basic case is cheaper than DLO’s comparable Action Jacket, and somewhat better looking in fit and finish.
By contrast with DLO’s case, the SportSuit Basic includes a flip-on/off hard rubber Dock Connector port protector, somewhat better-feeling rubber side grips, a smaller (and better looking) leather top latch instead of DLO’s neoprene latch, and a standard detachable Marware thin-profile belt clip instead of DLO’s bulkier nub and fat clip. The Basic version of the SportSuit lacks the armstrap attachability of the Action Jacket mini – this feature is reserved for the SportSuit Convertible.
In truth, the changes don’t improve Marware’s Basic case much, save for making the hold switch permanently accessible and somewhat better protecting the Dock Connector port. As a result, the iPod mini’s top is less protected in Marware’s case, but its bottom is more protected, a practical distinction that will only matter in the rain, and then most likely in DLO’s favor. Additionally, the hole for the Dock Connector is a bit harder to keep centered than we would have liked, though it’s not difficult to re-align.
Overall, just like the Action Jacket, the SportSuit Basic didn’t do it for us. Bulky black neoprene remains a bit of a tough sell on the multi-colored iPod mini, and the belt-clip ready design just isn’t one we’d pick over most rubber cases. Cheaper than the Action Jacket but also less useful, we think the Basic’s only an okay case for most purposes.
Company and Price
Price: $24.95, $34.95, $29.95, $19.95, respectively
Compatible: iPod mini