Review: OtterBox for iPod

Best protection for your iPod (September 8th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Otter Products, LLC

Price: $19.95 to $49.95 US

The Good

  • Robust case. Easy to use. Durable. Full iPod protection. Outstanding quality.

The Bad

  • A bit heavy to carry.

When airline security changed once again to disallow hand-carried beverages in flight, only one Mac accessory company sent out a press release about their products. While a number of companies make see-through iPod cases, only Otter recognized that their products might make negotiating airline security a bit easier and they let us know. They also make secure boxes that are useful for transporting all those sticky liquids we now have to pack away in our suitcases. If you don't think that's a problem, talk to my sister, who had airline security go through her luggage, open all her gels and perfume, then neglect to put the caps back on anything. Luckily, her belongings were not ruined, but just think about the mess she might have faced. You might not be so lucky.

Not only for swimmers

Otter is best known for its waterproof casings for a variety of products, such as those for keys, batteries, PDAs, iPods, cigars, and now computers. I had never paid them much attention because I never use my iPod near water. Upon closer investigation, I discovered that its iPod cases are probably the most robust of the clear plastic cases available. As my recent plans included a four-day wedding extravaganza, I decided that the iPod OtterBox was the best protective choice for my iPod photo. I had loaded a number of photo slide shows spanning fifty years of family history to pass around at the wedding celebrations. Protection against slippery hands, accidents, and the potential of being banged around was a concern. As it turned out the OtterBox was the perfect choice.

Best Protection Available

The polycarbonate case completely seals in the iPod, yet the screen was perfectly visible. The controls are accessible through a durable membrane. The case doesn't open completely, so a curious relative can't accidentally drop it out of the case. It is designed that way so that you install it correctly, because a built-in jack slips into your earphone port. The thick rubber clip takes a bit of pressure to open too, so no worries about accidental openings if the OtterBox is dropped. The case includes a rubber liner made to absorb shock.

While the case isn't light, you feel secure that your iPod is well protected. The removable clip fits nicely over the seat pocket on a plane or where ever else you choose to clip it. The clip is angled so that you can store your headphones wrapped around it too. Any headphone with a standard jack fits through the case. I don't recommend using the case while running because it is fairly heavy, as cases go, but if you are plagued by clumsiness, than bear the weight.

Almost All iPods supported

Every model of iPod from the third generation and later has an OtterBox model. This is one company that hasn't abandoned the large number of iPod mini owners. The only slight drawback is that the case must be removed to dock the iPod, but that's a minor inconvenience. The OtterBox for the iPod shuffle and nano include removable neck lanyards also. Prices range from $19.95 for an iPod shuffle to $49.95 for an iPod video case. For the protection offered, these are excellent prices. The picture on the right shows an iPod photo and an iPod video case.

Best of Breed

I've used a number of different iPod cases and the OttherBox ranks as one of the best. Some of the other protective cases have scratched the back and front of my iPod when talking it on or off, while others quickly lose the screen clarity from their protective covering. We both survived the wedding and hundreds of people with nary a scratch, which is more than I can say for my new shoes. I think I'll invest in one of their boxes for a portable hard drive and my digital camera for Macworld San Francisco, so that I don't have to tote that weight in my backpack anymore.

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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