OtterBox for iPod Nano

by PocketGoddess on March 30, 2006

OtterBox for iPod NanoOtterBox cases aren’t designed with style and fashion in mind–the main idea here is ultimate protection, and the OtterBox for iPod Nano definitely does that in a very cool way. While the Nano itself measures 3.5 inches long and just a hair over 1.5 inches wide, the OtterBox is 5 1/8 inches long, 2 1/4 inches wide, and 3/4 inches thick. You may be wondering why it is so much bigger than the music player, and that question is partially answered by the extra clearance needed for a waterproof seal along the outer edge of the case. Most of the extra length is due to the integrated stereo headphone jack located inside the case. This very clever design feature allows you to use absolutely any pair of headphones, or even a Bluetooth wireless headphone adapter, by plugging them into the special port on the bottom of the case. This addresses a design flaw in some of OtterBox’s earlier cases for the iPod, in which the orientation of the headphone jack only allowed you to use headphones similar to those supplied with the iPod, which have a straight end.
To accommodate this new design, the method of inserting the Nano into the case is slightly different. There is a gray plastic “rocker” latch at the top of the case; put your finger on the back and pull it upwards to open the case. The Nano nestles into a perfectly sized opening, but in order to put it into the case you must push it onto the headphone plug inside the case, seating it firmly to get a good connection, and then lay it down flat inside the case. There is rubber all around the edge of the Nano which of course helps with the waterproofing but also provides a cushioned spot for the Nano to prevent cosmetic damage. Then squeeze the case together, re-close the latch, and you’ll find that your Nano is now very well protected indeed.
This case is tough, inside and out. While I didn’t do anything crazy in my testing, like run it over with a car, I did abuse it much more than I typically do when evaluating a product. I took it with me on a recent business trip and was glad not to have to worry about my very delicate Nano being crushed in my overstuffed suitcase, or spare it a single thought when I emptied my pockets at airport security and tossed it in one of those plastic bins for small items. I got caught in a torrential downpour when I was out for a walk a couple of weeks ago and while I can’t say that the rain did anything at all for my hair, I didn’t have to worry about the Nano either. In other words, this case might not win any fashion awards, but it definitely gets the job done.
Of course that doesn’t mean anything if it is a pain to use, or if it’s impossible to change songs or playlists while I’m on the go. While the OtterBox does completely encase the Nano, a flexible plastic membrane over the click wheel access allows me to control my music quickly and easily. I really like the slight extra thickness over previous OtterBox iPod cases, and also the improved tactile feel. It isn’t slippery or “mushy” anymore, but is slightly textured in such a way that my thumb has complete control and precision when manipulating the click wheel. And the extra thickness is just that much more protection, though the way the case is designed you’d pretty much have to try to cut the membrane by actually aiming for it; I don’t think that an accidental collision with a sharp object would do any damage at all.
The case ships with an integrated gray plastic clip that perfectly fits the design and function of the case. It’s big, with the actual clip measuring just over an inch wide and 2 1/4 inches long, so you can attach it just as easily to a bag as to your belt. You can also completely remove it if you don’t want it by just pulling up slightly on the special release latch and pulling off the clip. Since you pull instead of push, it is very unlikely that the clip will come off of the case unless you purposely detach it. The small curved portion on the bottom of the clip allows it to reach behind whatever strap or waistband you attach the case to, for a bit of extra security. And the special design with “wings” on each side provide a handy way for you to manage that extra-long headphone cable, since you can wrap the extra length around the clip. You’ll also get a black lanyard/neck strap with an ingenious design that makes it very easy to attach and remove, but also provides complete security when you’re wearing the case–the lanyard is NOT going to come off accidentally. An optional armband is available as well, so that you can jog or run with the case attached to your upper arm instead of sticking it in a pocket or attaching it to your belt.
The OtterBox for iPod Nano isn’t likely to win any awards for style, but it more than makes up for that with smart design, streamlined protection, and the ability to handle just about anything you throw at it, including water, sand, accidental drops, and the regular abuse of an active lifestyle. It fits 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB Apple iPod Nanos and is available now for $39.95, and you can add that optional armband for another $14.95. You won’t find another case anywhere that offers ultimate protection and ease of use all in the same package, and you can get one for yourself at the OtterBox web site.
5 out of 5

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