Nearly too many iPod cases to count come through the door at iLounge, but very few win iLounge’s Best of Show Award for overall design and quality. Meet Power Support’s Silicone Jacket for 2nd Generation iPod shuffle ($13), recently awarded best iPod shuffle (2G) case by iLounge’s editors. Having first launched in Japan, the Silicone Jacket has just become available on the company’s U.S. web site at a reasonable price.
Like other rubber shuffle cases we’ve seen, the Silicone Jacket is made of a single piece of clear-frosted silicone rubber, but this one’s different: the rubber is thick, durable, and surgical-grade in quality, and nearly all-encompassing in quantity.
When placed inside the case, the shuffle is not only well-protected, but covered in nicely contoured clear frosted lines that match the shuffle’s.
Silicone Jacket sets a new standard for shuffle protectivenesss. While inside the case, the top, bottom, back and face of the shuffle are covered, including the full Control Pad and even the back clip – the first time that we have seen this with a shuffle case – leaving only minimal exposure of its headphone port, and an opening that allows you to use its integrated clip. Power Support even covers the shuffle’s bottom switches with a thinner layer of rubber, offering protection while still allowing you to turn the shuffle on, off, and into shuffled playback mode. For these reasons, its protectiveness is up significantly from the marks set by JAVOedge’s JAVOSkin (iLounge rating: B) and Hori’s earlier Silicone Cover (iLounge rating: B-), which feel thinner and less resilient.
A common problem with all second-generation shuffle case designs we’ve seen is that Apple Dock access is not available for the shuffle while inside; the Silicone Jacket is no exception.
If you want to keep the Silicone Jacket on at all times, you’ll need to consider buying a third-party cable or USB key.
Though there are not a lot of special features available with the Silicone Jacket, there are a few things worth noting: first, a lanyard or wrist strap (neither included) can be easily attached to the Silicone Jacket through two holes located on the hinge side of the case – Power Support has designed this case as much for people who want to pocket or wrist-wear their shuffles as for those who want to clip it. Thanks to a smart, shuffle-holding design, the case firmly grips your shuffle inside when clipped or hand-held.
Also, larger headphone plugs, such as the ones in our high-end Ultimate Ears, fit easily into the shuffle port, which isn’t always the case with thicker or harder shuffle cases. Additionally, although the Splash is available in only one color in the United States – frosted clear – the translucent skin of the case looks fantastic when paired with any of Apple’s new colorful shuffle family. Power Support’s Japanese parent also sells a pink version that glows blue in the dark, but it’s unclear whether that version will be sold elsewhere, especially now that there are shuffles with pink and blue colors of their own.