Clear plastic iPod cases are almost a dime a dozen these days, and though two new cases from Pacific Rim Technologies aren’t exactly breakthrough designs, they’re each interesting enough for a brief review. The second-generation iPod nano gets Quartz Shield ($20), and the fifth-generation iPod has the 5G Quartz Case ($35). In keeping with Pacific Rim’s “look at the deal you’re getting” pricing conventions, both cases carry those MSRPs, but are actually available at variably lower prices from the company’s web store.
Both of the designs are two-piece plastic shells with colored opaque plastic side stripes. The nano version comes with five total sets of colored side inserts—two pieces each of blue, green, pink, black, and gray—which slide into the two clear halves of the case to hold them together. By comparison, the 5G version must be purchased in your choice of either white or black stripes, and the size that fits your iPod (30GB or 60/80GB). The stripes stay permanently attached to the front half of the shell, sliding down to lock the shell together. If both sides aren’t locked, the case isn’t secure.
The cases are a bit better than average in protection. Though they expose each iPod’s Click Wheel, Dock Connector, headphone port, and Hold switch, they cover pretty much everything else. Only the nano version is fully open on the top and bottom, recessing the top a little beneath a plastic lip, while the bottom is flush and therefore easy to scratch, or dock in Universal Dock-equipped iPod accessories. The 5G version’s headphone port hole is a little on the small side for oversized plugs, but the nano’s is fine.
By comparison, the 5G version has an ever-so-slightly loose rear stand that pops out in the back to let you watch videos on the 2.5” display. It doesn’t look or feel awesome when it’s being popped out, but the angle it rests on is just right, and it snaps into the back of the case without adding much thickness when not in use. There’s also a lanyard hole in the back of each case, not that we’d use it with the 5G, and no lanyard was included in either package.
With so many options out there right now, what will make these Quartz options stand out most from the pack is their largely scratchproof surfaces, the small twists they offer in either color customization or video stand functionality, and their variably discounted pricing. Find them on sale and you’ll be satisfied with their looks and quality, even if they’re not as protective as some of our top-rated alternative options.
Company and Price
Company: Pacific Rim Technologies
Model: Quartz Shield
Compatible: iPod nano (aluminum)