Pros: Simple case with adequate protection, rugged construction, easy to clean, good fit, preserves the iPod’s unmistakably striking design.
Cons: Requires separate protection for the exposed iPod display, tough to slide in and out of pant pockets.
Despite the abundance of cases out there tailored for the iPod, the Groove Jacket (also known as the Silicone Jacket) is the only one that completely fulfilled my needs. And it’s exactly that: a case. Not a purse, pouch, or geeky PDA-like bag that covers the iPod’s beauty, but rather a jacket that protects its delicate surface while preserving its elegant design and stylish looks.
The Groove Jacket is made completely of injection molded, silicone rubber. The material is soft and flexible, but it won’t scratch or scuff the iPod’s acrylic front or metal back. The case provides good protection if it were to be dropped, though there are only a few millimeters of supple silicone. Especially since the silicone is spongy and can absorb an impact. The front of the case has “bump” guards around the display window and scroll wheel buttons, which further protects it from a drop, or in general if the iPod is placed face down or if something is placed on top of it. The silicone also makes the case impervious to scratches and stains, which is always good. Although the case is open and exposed on the top, there is still some protection since the case extends a bit higher than the top of the iPod.
The only downside to silicone is that it can get dirty easily. Dust, dirt, and lint stick to the outside case relatively easily, more so than leather or neoprene. The surface of the case isn’t smooth like glass, but rather it feels textured like paper, making it a bit difficult to slide in and out of pant pockets. But it does prevent it from sliding across or off a smooth surface such as a table.
Cleaning the case is incredibly simple. A moist napkin or towel will do, but usually a sweaty hand is more convenient. If the case is really dirty or needs to be washed, soap and warm water clean it up well (of course not with the iPod in it). There may be some worries about contaminants getting inside the case and scratching up the iPod, but I’ve never experienced this.
Lacking Where It Matters
The only real concern with this case is that the screen area of the iPod is exposed. This is easily fixed by placing a piece of vinyl or PDA screen protector over the iPod’s display, and then sliding the iPod into the Groove Jacket. I actually like that the case has no built-in vinyl covering for the screen because applying a separate layer of protection over the LCD keeps the case looking good while protection for the screen is totally hidden.
The iPod Is Meant To Be Seen
A unique aspect of the Groove Jacket is the way it preserves the iPod’s good looks. The case is semi-transparent, such that the iPod is completely visible through the thick silicone. Just to give you an idea about how transparent it is, I can read the tiny print of the serial number on the back of the iPod perfectly, without any problems or squinting. Thus, nothing beats the Groove Jacket in terms of keeping it simple and visible.
The Fitting Room
The Groove Jacket goes on easy and the iPod slides in comfortably. Originally designed for previous, model iPods, the case also fits the new models.
The Groove Jacket fits all 5GB and 10GB iPod models comfortably, tight enough to hold it in, loose enough to easily slide out. The case may be slightly loose on the 10GB model, leaving more room for dirt and dust to slide between the area around the buttons and screen.
The case is definitely tight on the 20GB, and getting it in requires some effort. However, I actually like how it feels with the 20GB in it, especially considering that I never take the iPod out of the case. The silicone is stretched out and taught, but not even close to tearing it apart. The only minute deviation from perfection is that the two slivers of silicone on the bottom and top of the LCD display area bulge out a bit, but this is only experienced with the 20GB model.
I also like the tight fit of the 20GB model because it further prevents anything from squeezing between the case and the iPod, although as noted before, it’s never been a problem.
The Bottom Line
The Groove Jacket is the only case that protects the iPod and leaves it visible, the way it was meant to be. Since it’s a clean-cut, simple case, it preserves the iPod’s sleek shape and superior functionality.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod 1G, 2G