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iPod Accessory Reviews: Cases

iSkin

Editor's rating (1-5):
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Reviewed Nov 18, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief

My iPod mini was living a lie. Though blue on the outside, it had always felt pink on the inside. Perhaps it needed to express itself. Or perhaps it was just tired of being scratched up in my pocket. Either way, I knew it was time to get a case for it.

Does this case make my sync port look big?
Having purchased (and liked) an iSkin case for my previous iPod, I decided that they would be the best choice for my mini as well. Although iSkins were once hard to find at my local electronics retailers, I was able to find and purchase a pink iSkin mini at a local store. After months of use, I am confident that I made the right choice.

iSkin in pink

In the box

The iSkin mini includes a plastic screen protector that stays in place firmly without causing damage itself. Like its big brothers for other iPod models, the iSkin mini includes a RevoClip belt clip, air vents on its back to prevent overheating, small bumps for better gripping, and access to the dock connector. The high-grade silicone is designed to be as protective as possible against damage and scratches. If your iPod mini is too shy to wear pink, it is available in eight other colors as well, with four of them capable of glowing in the dark. I have no idea why you would want your iPod to glow in the dark, but I have to admit, it sounds like a cool feature.

Inserting your iPod into the iSkin case is similar to other iSkin models: new users may initially wonder why there is nowhere to "open it up" or put the iPod in. Instead, you simply stretch the screen opening a bit wider and push the iPod into the case until you "squeeze" it into the correct position. This isn't exactly easy, but it provides a tight fit without risk of the iPod falling out, and iSkin insists that stretching the screen window does not cause damage to the case. Still, if you decide to remove or restore the belt clip, you will have to remove the iPod first and then repeat this procedure afterwards. The case features a movable flap for accessing the dock port, but in my experience, it just hangs near the port rather than snapping into place like the old Apple port covers used to do. It would be nice if iSkin could find a way to make them stay in place a little more firmly. The iSkin also prevents you from putting the mini in a Dock (unless you partially remove it from the case), but this wasn't an issue with me since the iPod mini itself only came with cables, not a Dock, and the cables work well with this case.

Trippin'

iSkin's cases for the 3G and 4G were compatible with the iTrip from Griffin Technology, which I reviewed here. The iSkin mini is also compatible with the iTrip - but not the iTrip mini. The mini model of the iTrip snaps even more tightly to the top of an iPod than the original does, and even the minimal thickness of the top of the iSkin mini prevents the iTrip mini from snapping on correctly. However, if you have the Apple wired remote, you can still use that while your iSkin is in the case.

iSkin with iTrip
iSkins in several colors

 

 

 

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Screen Scene

I had once believed that, since iPods don't have a touch-screen, a screen protector wasn't really necessary, but once my screen started to show slight signs of scratching, I quickly realized that this was not the case. The screen protector included with the iSkin mini is sturdy and works well, and you could theoretically use it forever, unlike other types of protectors that are supposed to be replaced monthly. I have not experienced any glare problems, although occasionally I see a very slight "rainbow" prism effect. The protector is an excellent solution, and you can add additional colors of screen protectors for an additional cost. I only wish that they had an equally good solution for the click-wheel, but the iSkin mini instead leaves the wheel completely unprotected. Still, some users may prefer this since it also provides the easiest access to the click-wheel.

Oh, Canada

Since iSkin offers many cases and colors, you may not be able to find the one you want at a local store, though online merchants offer a great selection of colors. Luckily, iSkin also sells their products directly through their web site, but one possible concern for US buyers is that cases purchased from www.iSkin.com are sent from Toronto, Canada, and will therefore be slower and more expensive to ship than American consumers may be accustomed to. (They do accept US Dollars, however.) Since we have readers all over the world, and I don't want to be "US-centric," I did not factor this into my review, but the many iPod owners in the US will probably want to be aware of this.

The 'Skinny

This holiday season, show some love for the one you love the most - your iPod, of course. Although it does have some room for improvement, the iSkin mini is still the best case I have found for an iPod mini. The most important duty of any case is to protect what it holds, and the iSkin lines continue to surpass all competition in this area. They also know how to make their cases stylish, with their continued dedication to making a perfect case for each model, in numerous colors no less, rather than producing a "universal" case that just "sort of" fits. I'm still hoping for improvements in the areas of click-wheel protection and dock port covers in future models, but I would not hesitate to recommend this product.

Pros
-Provides, in my opinion, the best protection available for the iPod mini without being obtrusive.
-In addition to protecting the iPod mini from damage, it is also resistant to damage itself.
-Carefully designed to fit perfectly.
-Includes screen protector.
-Includes removable belt clip.
-Available in nine colors.

Cons
-Not compatible with iTrip mini.
-Dock connector cover seems ineffective.
-No click-wheel protection.

Price: $24.99

Web Site: www.iskin.com

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