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 Sumajin’s Loop Cases for iPod nano and iPod touch ($18 each).
Screen Protection. Both of the Loop cases come with a rectangular piece of screen-covering film. While we’re not huge fans of rectangular film for the iPod touch—full glass-face covers are easier to deal with and have less of a risk of peeling off in our experience—these protectors offer adequate coverage for both device’s displays. The iPod nano version is cut within the lines of the screen, but still has a tendency to pick up air bubbles on the screen’s curved sides.
Click Wheel and Button Protection. Loop for iPod nano features a rubber Click Wheel cover that modestly impedes sensitivity when used with a software-updated 1.0.2 (or newer) iPod nano, and more significantly with a 1.0 nano, which had a slightly less sensitive Click Wheel setting. We like and prefer the convenience of the integrated cover; just be sure your nano is updated so that using it isn’t a problem.
Top Protection. The iPod nano Loop has a Hold switch hole that makes use of the switch easy, but exposes that portion of the nano. Loop for iPod touch covers the Sleep/Wake button with an easy-to-use elevated cover, but oddly leaves the rear antenna completely exposed with a cut out. It also has a hole for the device’s brightness sensor, and since the screen cover doesn’t extend that far up on the device, the glass is uncovered at this one point. Both cases are less than optimal, though the iPod nano version is typical of all other rubber case designs we have seen to date.
Bottom Protection. Both versions of Loop have a partially open bottom with a flip-open Dock Connector port cover; docking and otherwise accessorizing both cases is very easy thanks to the design, and all accessories work just fine. They leave small portions of each device’s bottom exposed, but less so than 80% of the cases we’ve seen to date.
Style, Colors, and Bulk. Ten colors are available for each device, including slightly off-tone versions of the nano’s nine colors. Both of the cases have plain horizontal ribbing on the back, with only small hints of style on the front, and miniature side holes for attachment of wrist straps that aren’t included. Both cases also feel more rubbery than others we’ve tested, but they’re not bad on thickness. Overall, we’d rate the cases as generic “C’s” on style.
Other Pack-Ins. Loop for iPod nano 4G also includes foam earbud covers and a cable manager in the same color as the case. The iPod touch version doesn’t include anything.
Pricing and Conclusions. Sumajin’s $18 prices for each of the cases put the nano case in the middle of the pricing scale and the touch one at the lower end, with the nano case’s pricing offset somewhat by its extra pack-ins. Though these feel and look a bit generic, the prices are reasonable and the protection is pretty good. We’d rate both cases flat B’s overall, mostly on value for the dollar.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G