Pros: A fully protective and fairly thin yet resilient set of two silicone rubber cases for the iPod shuffle, including matching USB cap covers.
Cons: No lanyard cap covers, fairly high price by comparison with similarly simple offerings, not as sophisticated in design as top-rated silicone shuffle skins.
Is a silicone rubber case by any other name still the same? That’s pretty much the situation with PodGear’s inventively named but largely familiar JumpSuit Shuffle (GBP 9.99), a me-too rubber iPod shuffle case that’s visually almost indistinguishable from the Capdase, Pacific Rim, and Pods Plus cases we’ve previously reviewed. In other words, you get a thin but comprehensively protective layer of silicone rubber that covers every inch of the shuffle’s body save for its headphone port, including an embossed cover for the shuffle’s rear switch and an extruded ring for its front Control Pad. Similarly extruded volume, track, and play/pause icons match the ones on the shuffle’s front. Use of the shuffle’s front and rear controls – especially the rear – isn’t as easy as in Power Support’s Silicone Jacket (iLounge rating: A-), but it’s fine.
The main differentiator between a JumpSuit and the Pacific Rim and Pods Plus cases is PodGear’s use of a higher quality of silicone rubber. We noted that the other cases were susceptible to ripping under atypical and typical conditions, respectively, and PodGear’s rubber isn’t. It’s silky to the touch and more safely stretchable, like the rubber found in Capdase’s Soft Jacket (iLounge rating: B+). Aside from Capdase’s lack of front icons, in fact, the bodies of these cases are so similar that they could easily be mistaken for one another; both require a little final tug to cover the last millimeter between their top and bottom casings, as well as a little adjusing to get their Control Pad rings properly aligned with the shuffle’s, but neither will rip in the process.
There are a couple of other differences, though. Price is one of them: the JumpSuits are more expensive, selling for more than twice the price (approx. US$18) of the $7 Soft Jackets before including international shipping. Both Capdase and PodGear offer their cases in two-packs – our samples were translucent blue and black, though PodGear notes a “range of exciting colours” – with matching covers for Apple’s standard USB cap. But unlike the Capdase designs, there’s no version of the JumpSuit with a lanyard cap or cover, a limitation of early, low-end cases but not recent and better ones such as Tunewear’s Icewear (iLounge rating: A) or Power Support’s Silicone Jacket. With a JumpSuit, you’ll either need to use your USB cap for full protectiveness, or just accept that your lanyard isn’t covered.
Given the similarity in price between the JumpSuit and options we prefer on looks and usability, we know which we’d choose with our own dollars. That said, PodGear’s offering is still a substantially protective and good case overall, and won’t let you down if you’re only using the shuffle’s USB cap. It’s recommendable particularly in regions where it may be available at a lower price.
Company and Price
Model: JumpSuit Shuffle
Price: G.B.P. 9.99, Approx. US$18.00
Compatible: iPod shuffle