At some point — typically, say, summer of a given year — there’s such a significant risk of an iPod’s imminent replacement that companies all but stop releasing new cases and accessories. Holdovers from earlier in the year continue to appear, however, and since there’s the possibility that prior iPod owners will still want new cases — or, that Apple won’t replace the iPod — we continue to review important or interesting new releases, anyway. Several recent cases for aging iPods, including Skymate International’s Designer Series Cases for iPod 5G ($20) and nano ($16), were worthy of additional coverage, so we’ve put them together in this review.
Skymate’s design approach for the Designer Series Cases is easy to sum up. The company offers fabric wraps for iPods and nanos, unique only in texture and color, with nearly device-agnostic approaches to protection and control interactivity. Like many other small case designers, Skymate’s view of iPod case development is simple, with less apparent interest in precision molding than in finding something that generally and loosely holds your iPod inside.
Thus, it’s no surprise that the Designer Series Cases are basically wallets with two pockets—one with a clear soft plastic window for your iPod or iPod nano, and the other smaller and designed to hold your earhones. The wallet folds in half, holding both sides together with Velcro, and exposes parts of the iPod’s top and/or bottom surfaces. A light metal carabiner hook dangles loosely from the case’s upper corner, with a similarly light key ring attaching the hook to an eyelet on the case’s body.
It suffices to say that these cases do little to consider the iPod’s precise alignment or need for full protection; rather, they let your iPod sit passively in the plastic window, which clearly shows you where the screen and Click Wheel are, and provides decent access to both. Just a little pressure on the Click Wheel is enough to render it useful, and though the plastic creates slight prismatic distortion on the nano’s screen, it’s not enough to really matter for that model; it may bother you a little in the video version. In each case, the headphone port is completely accessible, though it varies from there; in the nano case, Hold switch access is not available, and the Dock Connector is covered at all times, while in the 5G case, you have Hold switch and Dock Connector access.
As with many other simple cases we’ve seen from Asia, the Designer Series Cases trade more on their low prices and materials than anything else. Our samples hinted at the numerous colors that are available for each of several patterns, including florals, flat colors, and plasticy retro dots. None will blow you away, but they’re interesting enough to be worthy of more than just a quick first look.
Company and Price
Company: Skymate International
Model: Designer Cases
Compatible: iPod 5G, iPod nano