Two ways to keep the iPod mini safe and fashionable. (May 19th, 2005)
Product Manufacturer: OtterBox and Matias Corp.
Price: oPod = $49.95 USD iPod Armor = $34.95 USD
- OtterBox oPod Mini
superb protection in rugged conditions; sturdy; waterproof seal; membrane access to click wheel
Matias iPod Armor great protection from day-to-day nicks, scratches; easy insertion/removal of Mini; clear plastic front allows Miniís color to show through; small form factor conforms with Mini look/feel
- OtterBox oPod Mini
large size may turn off people who buy Mini for form factor; industrial look/feel defeats ďcoolĒ feeling of Mini; tinted plastic hides Miniís colorful front
Matias iPod Armor Front panel must be opened every time you want to start/stop music; belt clip is optional
Pink. Just remember pink, and itíll explain everything.
At least when it comes to my teenage daughter and iPod enclosures.
Style is her ultimate decider; itís why she bought an pink iPod Mini rather than a 3G iPod. Never mind that the iPodís capacity was significantly greater than the Mini for only a few dollars more. She thought the Mini looked cooler.
How to protect an iPodAnd so it doesÖand that translates into the issue of how to best protect it from scratching, breaking and the like. The folks at OtterBox and Matias Corporation sent along their iPod Mini cases for review. Both do an excellent job of protecting the Mini, albeit at different levels. The level youíre comfortable with will depend on what how you intend to use your iPod, and under what conditions.
Like a Knight in Shining Armor, From a Long Time Ago -- Peter CeteraThe iPod Armor is designed for style, and a moderate range of protection. Its clear acrylic cover opens easily, and allows you to slip the Mini inside, where itís cushioned and held in place. Itís a solid fit, and the Armor will protect your Mini from the full range of daily scratches and mini-bumps and bruises that leave unprotected iPods looking like refugees from the music wars. One note: itís not totally user-friendly, in that to start, stop, or advance the music, you must open the acrylic front. But the click wheel is solidly and clearly protected; thereís your trade-off. And you canít clip it on your belt, unless you buy the optional Armor Clip.
This is the one that my daughter was using on a day-to-day basis; its clear front and white plastic back let the Miniís style come through clearly.
Beauty is Skin Deep, but Protective is Straight to the BoneBy contrast, the OtterBox oPod may never win a beauty contest, but it sure will keep the Mini inside safe from surf and sand at the beach this summer. The oPod comes in a brownish smoke-gray tinted plastic. You slide the Mini in after opening a clip at the bottom, then reseal the unit, which makes it waterproof. Unlike the Armor, the oPod has a membrane-like covering over the click wheel that lets you start and stop the music to your heartís content. It also comes with a built-in clip. But the things that make it oh-so-suitable for protecting your Mini on the raft trip down the Colorado, like its added size and heft (larger than a regular size iPod), make it oh-so-unsuitable for your teenager who bought her Mini to make a fashion statement as much as listen to her favorite music (insert your own Britney Spears line here).
Right Product, Right TimeSo hereís the deal: sheíll use the iPod Armor while sheís going to school, and use the oPod on our beach vacation later this summer. Style is important, mind you, but practicality wins out at the waterline.
Victor Marks, Reviews Editor, who appreciates all things that protect gadget investment, contributed to this evaluation.