It’s a tradition: every new iPod quickly winds up with a large assortment of new silicone rubber cases, and the fourth-generation iPod nano is no exception. Today, we’re reviewing nine new rubber nano cases from seven different companies — as well as a few related second-generation iPod touch cases from the same companies — picking the great, good, and OK options from the collection. As all of the cases cover the nano’s sides and back, we’re going to focus largely on key differentiators in other aspects of their protection, style, and pricing. This review covers Speck’s new PixelSkin cases for the iPod nano 4G ($20) and iPod touch 2G ($25).
Screen Protection. Neither version of PixelSkin includes screen protection of any sort. The iPod touch case exposes both the screen and the black bezel portion above it, while mostly covering the bottom and side bezels.
Click Wheel and Button Protection. The iPod nano version of PixelSkin does not include any coverage for the Click Wheel; the iPod touch version does cover all of the device’s buttons with fully play-through rubber.
Top Protection. The iPod nano version, like all of its competitors reviewed today, has a hole for the Hold switch. Using the switch is easy, though it’s a little deeper down due to the case’s thickness. PixelSkin for iPod touch is fully protective of the touch’s top surface.
Bottom Protection. The iPod nano PixelSkin is fully open on the bottom but has a lip of rubber that extends downwards, making Universal Dock connections unreliable. Cabled and headphone accessories work without an issue. iPod touch has the same issues, and though largely open does not properly dock with Universal Docks.
Style, Colors, and Bulk. Both PixelSKins have a distinctive wraparound blocky rubber texture, which runs around the sides and top but stops at the face. Nine different colors are available for the nano, and seven for the iPod touch. We really like the way these cases look, but miss Speck’s previously excellent clear versions, and note that they add more bulk than any of the other cases here—this extra thickness does provide some anti-drop protection, and added grip, making the nano version less like holding a dull knife.
Other Pack-Ins. Neither case includes any pack-ins.
Pricing and Conclusions. At $20 and $25, respectively, the iPod nano and iPod touch versions of PixelSkin are on the high ends of their price ranges for cases that force you to buy your own screen protectors, and strike us as less than great values for the dollar. What saves them from our limited recommendation level is their wide variety of color options and distinctive grid design, which we really do like. Added protection for the price would have moved these into a higher rating category.
Company and Price
Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPod nano 4G, touch 2G