It’s safe to assume at this point that we’ll be seeing the 4G iPod nano at the September Apple event next week. And, with new iPods comes the inevitable flood of new iPod cases, leaving owners of the previous model behind. 3G iPod nano owners need not despair, however, as there’ll certainly be no shortage of cases available to them for quite some time.
Here, we’ll take a look at two armband-style nano cases: Gadget Wrap’s nano Case Value Pack and the iSkin DuoBand.
For $30, the unfortunately named nano Case Value Pack ($29.99) from Gadget Wrap gets you nearly everything you’d want out of an iPod case: an armband for exercise, a belt clip and lanyard for general use, earcaps for your Apple earbuds, and complete protection from a silicone case and adhesive screen protector. Let’s quickly break it all down.
You start by applying the screen protector to the nano’s screen. This is the standard screen protector that comes with many iPod/iPhone cases these days; it goes on easily, allows from some repositioning, and doesn’t leave behind any residue when removed (I should note that a cleaning cloth is also included for fingerprints and such). You then insert the iPod through the screen opening and position accordingly. I found that the case didn’t fit the iPod as snugly as I’d like, but everything still functioned well. A thin membrane covers the click wheel, but doesn’t hamper its use. All bottom controls/ports are left open and exposed.
From here, you attach the iPod nano to the versatile belt clip, which provides connectivity to everything else. You can clip it right to your belt, obviously, but also to the included armband or lanyard. The nano is held onto the belt clip only by two arms that reach around the sides, but the fit was tight enough so no slipping occurred. The armband wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve used, but it did the job.
Visually, the nano Case Value is kind of pedestrian, coming only in white, pink, blue, black, and black and white models. Design certainly gave way to functionality here, but that’s as it should be. Said functionality carries all they way to the earcaps, which seem superfluous, but I’ll tell you what; if, like me, you have trouble with the Apple earbuds staying in your ears, these earcaps will solve that problem. The silicone provides better friction, which therefore helps to keep them in place. Their design also helps to focus the sound into your ear, so you won’t have to turn the iPod up as high in order to hear it.
All things considered, the nano Case Value Pack is easily one of the best iPod nano 3G case values available.
The DuoBand ($39.99) from iSkin isn’t quite as functional as the nano Case Value Pack, but it is decidedly better looking. The two color plastic face looks quite striking, although only two designs are available: Amp (metallic on red) and Maxum (onyx on black). The plastic face, complete with attached screen protector, snaps onto a silicone shell, making for a fairly complete iPod nano case on its own. There’s no click wheel protection, but rubber flaps on the bottom cover the dock connector port and the headphone port.
You can then slide the iPod nano into the included armband, which is extremely comfortable and flexible. The porous band keeps your skin aerated, and moves quite easily with you.
Unfortunately, the functionality ends there. There’s no belt clip or lanyard, so when you remove the armband, you’re left with no method of keeping your iPod nano about your person. Another drawback is that the plastic face rises up too high from the nano, hampering access to the click wheel. You can still get to it, of course, but if you’ve got your nano on your arm during a workout, you shouldn’t have to focus on hitting the click wheel from the appropriate angle. Also, seeing that you have to remove the face from the case before you can get access to your iPod, getting the iPod in and out is a bit more of a hassle than it should be.
Both of these cases are high quality and do their job well. The DuoBand is the more attractive of the two and provides a better fit, but the nano Case Value Pack is the better value because of its versatility/functionality and the fact that it’s $10 less expensive than the DuoBand. Pick one up today, and guarantee yourself a few more years of use with your soon-to-be antiquated iPod nano 3G.
They grow so quickly, don’t they?
Buy Gadget Wrap nano Case Value Pack
Appletell Rating: DuoBand
Buy iSkin DuoBand