Review: ToughSkin iPod Case

Strong, flexible, and tough protection for your iPod (September 29th, 2005)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Speck Products

Price: MSRP $34.95 US

The Good

  • Good rubber and plastic protection for your iPod. Hard plastic screen cover prevents scratching, yet doesn\'t obscure view.

The Bad

  • Click Wheel cover sometimes opens too easily. Swivel Clip is not very firm.

If you are an active person who can't live without your iPod, protection of your valuable device is a concern. Although expensive and stylish designer cases are available, many of them don't protect the iPod if it takes a fall. Speck Products offers protection with its line of Tough Skin iPod cases that put function and protection above beauty.

A Close Look

The cases come in 5 different colors; Blue, Red, White, Black, and Orange. The White somewhat matches the iPod, but the other colors are kind of drab and ugly. Of course I received the least appealing of the lot, Orange. After opening the blister pack and feeling the sturdy rubberized construction of the case, I began to see that this case is built to protect. Clear ABS plastic covers protect the screen and the scroll wheel (it flips down for access), so very few parts of the iPod are exposed to the elements. (Editor's note: I'm responsible for Art receiving the orange ToughSkin, and I happen to like the bright color and don't find any of them drab. The rubber, according to Speck, is Dynaflex, a Kraton polymer. The indentations in the case, which they call ruggedized bumpers, fit small fingers, perfectly, so it's easy to hold for size 7 and under hands.)

Secure Fit

As I removed the paper and foam block insert, I wondered how is the iPod going to fit into the case. The rubber does stretch and gives enough so the iPod can be squeezed through the screen opening. It also comes with a hard plastic insert to accommodate the current line of 4th generation iPods, with their various thicknesses. Detailed instructions on the inset placement are included. Fitting the iPod in was a tight squeeze but it does seem more safe and secure in this case. After attaching the included belt clip, you will be ready for an afternoon of hiking or bike riding without the worry of nature affecting your iPod.

After using the case for a while, the Orange doesn't look that bad, but a few things did concern me. The Belt Clip swivels too easily for my taste and the flip down click wheel protector comes loose more easily than it should. Also, the thickness of the protective rubber makes the iPod dock unusable, but the charging cable fits just fine. It also is too bulky to fit comfortably in a pocket. A search for this case in the Apple support boards revealed a few users whose iPods had survived a drop while protected with the ToughSkin.

A similar case is also available for the iPod Mini in a variety of pastel colors and a Nano ToughSkin is due out in October. Overall, if you are an active person that plays hard with your iPod, this is the case for you.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Art Payne


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