Mobile Mac

Your iPod deserves some respect, doesn't it? Of course, you'll also want to protect it from drops, scratches, and other commuters. We searched out the coolest cases for the iPod mini (this page) and the full-size, original iPod (following pages). There's an iPod case out there for everyone -- executives, joggers, and hip kids -- in every color of the rainbow.

Where the Wild Things Are

Mini SportSuit Safari ($20)

Contact: Marware, 954/927-6031, www.marware.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: With a fuzzy plush exterior and animal prints, the Mini SportSuit Safari is nearly as cute as your favorite childhood stuffed animal. It has a built-in belt loop, a neoprene lining, and a removable, adjustable quick-release lanyard so you can wear it around your neck. This may be the case you'd most like to have on your mini should you drop it. But the fact that you can't access anything except the hold button and the headphone jack without taking your iPod out might aggravate you.
Colors: black, giraffe, leopard, pink, white, zebra

Keeps It Covered

DLO Action Jacket mini ($30)

Contact: sold through Netalog, 866/800-4763, www.everythingipod.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: With a reinforced black neoprene cover, built-in belt loops, an armband, a clear plastic screen protector, and a removable swiveling belt clip, the Action Jacket mini offers protection for your iPod mini. It helps the mini resist scratches and can act as a shock absorber -- on the back and sides, at least -- in case of more-serious bumps. A bottom opening gives you easy access to the dock connector. But the Velcro tab that secures your mini covers the hold button, which you likely access often to lock the player's controls. And the cutout that leaves the scroll wheel helpfully exposed doesn't fit perfectly over the wheel and tends to gape unattractively.
Color: black

Silicone Enhanced

iSkin Mini ($25)

Contact: iSkin, 416/924-9607, www.iskin.com
Why We Like It: If you wonder why you'd buy a fashionable iPod mini in your choice of color only to cover it in a brightly colored case, we have six words for you: this case glows in the dark. More practically, the iSkin Mini is a molded silicone case that comes with a hard plastic screen protector -- just slip the mini in place, and four soft mounts keep it elevated. The iSkin Mini also has a removable rotating belt clip. It leaves the scroll wheel, hold button, and headphone jack exposed, and gives you access to the dock connector via a bottom flap.
Colors: glowing colors: light green, orange, purple, white; other colors: black, blue, gray, pink, white

Protective Skin

SkinTight Mini Skin ($20)

Contact: Speck Products, 650/463-8914, www.speckproducts.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: The Mini Skin is a shock-absorbing rubber case that comes in five playful translucent colors. To further show off your iPod mini, it also offers a removable quick-release lanyard so you can wear it around your neck. The case leaves the screen and scroll wheel exposed, but it protects the mini's corners while giving you access to the dock connector, the hold button, and the headphone jack.
Colors: blue, clear, gold, lime, pink

Tightly Wrapped

RadTech miniSleevz ($18)

Contact: RadTech, 314/972-7623, www.radtech.us
Why We Like It: The miniSleevz is a slim, formfitting sleeve case for the iPod mini. A clear screen protector covers the mini's display, and while the miniSleevz also covers the scroll wheel, all the controls still work through the suedelike fabric. By itself, the miniSleevz probably won't be much help if you drop your mini (it leaves the top and bottom surfaces exposed), but the surprisingly strong material should offer plenty of protection against scratches.
Colors: black, indigo, light purple, purple, red, titanium

One of a Kind

Sheldon ($25)

Contact: Case Closed Bags, 866/366-0913, www.caseclosedbags.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: The Sheldon is made for iPod users who want to stand out from the crowd. You won't find these patterns on any other case -- whether it's the watery hues of miami geo, the skater chic of checkerboard, or the metallic iPod mini–like sheen of pink polish. This basic, protective case includes a belt clip.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: checkerboard, metallic blue, miami geo, pink polish, silver bullet

Details, Details

i-Volution ($50) and Classic ($55)

Contact: Vaja, info@vajacases.com, www.vajacases.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: Vaja's full-grain leather cases are handcrafted and custom-made, and the attention to detail is impressive. The rigid, semipadded i-Volution, with its clear, protective face and 70-plus color combinations, and the executive-appropriate Classic, with its flip cover and pocket, are stylish cases that look, feel, and work great.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: the Classic comes in 7 color combinations; the i-Volution comes in 73 color combinations

Crumple Free

iPod Armor ($50)

Contact: Matias, 888/663-4263, http://halfkeyboard.com/ipodarmor/
Why We Like It: If you're looking for the ultimate in crushproof protection, look no more. The iPod Armor is a molded aluminum shell that encloses the iPod, and you can attach an optional Armor Clip belt clip. Inside, a layer of dense foam keeps the shell from scratching your iPod.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod, iPod mini
Color: aluminum

Functional Flip Cover

WaterField iPod Case ($40)

Contact: WaterField Designs, 877/546-1040, www.sfbags.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: Like most WaterField products, the company's iPod Case adds a bit of flair -- with a splash of unique, patterned fabric -- without being obnoxious. Its flip cover protects your iPod's face and controls but allows easy access to the buttons. It also doubles as a pocket for storing earbuds, a driver's license, or some cash. Unlike many cases, the iPod Case lets you use your iPod's dock base while it's in the case. The WaterField case also comes with a belt clip.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: blue, lead, red, white

Simple Elegance

Covertec iPod Case ($40)

Contact: Covertec, sales.us@covertec.com, www.covertec.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: Covertec's iPod Case is a leather flip case in the same class as the Vaja Classic. The soft leather comes in several colors, and elastic sides provide a perfect fit.
When we showed the case to friends, their first comment was, "It looks expensive!" Like the Showcase, the Covertec iPod Case has a removable belt clip that doesn't leave a protruding knob when the clip is detached.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: black, orange and black, red, tan

On Display

Showcase ($40)

Contact: Contour Design, 800/462-6678, www.contourshowcase.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: The Showcase frames your iPod with rubber edges to give you a solid grip and protect your iPod from impact. Its clear front and back panels let you show off your iPod's shiny surfaces and use all the buttons and ports. But we also like the Showcase's more practical features: you can get your iPod in and out of the case quickly, and the detachable belt clip doesn't leave an annoying protruding knob behind. Our only complaint is that the rubber case picks up dirt easily.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: black, blue, green, light blue, pink, red, white, yellow

The Amphibian

LiliPod ($40)

Contact: Eroch Studios, info@lilipods.com, www.lilipods.com
Why We Like It: If you spend a lot of time in or around water or snow, you've probably been afraid to take your iPod along for fear of getting it wet. Worry no more. The LiliPod is a waterproof case that seals your iPod safely (and snugly, thanks to foam lining) inside. Wear it on your belt or around your neck -- only the extended headphone jack reveals its precious contents.
You can't control your iPod when it's inside the LiliPod, but what do you expect from a waterproof case?
iPod That Fits: iPod with dock connector
Color: white

Your Bag's Best Friend

Timbuk2 iPod Case ($20)

Contact: Timbuk2, customerservice@timbuk2.com, www.timbuk2.com
Why We Like It: For people who always carry a bag or backpack (especially one from Timbuk2), this iPod case is the one to get. Its padded, plushly lined pouch fits your iPod like a glove. You can securely attach it to the strap of your bag or your belt; a small pocket holds your earbuds. You can't access the iPod's buttons, but that's not necessarily a bad thing if you're trying to protect your iPod from the elements. (Bonus: thanks to elastic sides that stretch to fit, the Timbuk2 iPod Case is also a perfect match for many small digital cameras.)
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod
Colors: black, burgundy, green, light blue, light green, navy blue, orange, pink, purple, red, silver, yellow

iPod Activewear

SportSuit Convertible ($40)

Contact: Marware, 954/927-6031, www.marware.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: Perfect for active types who need a certain degree of flexibility, the SportSuit Convertible offers varying levels of protection and several carrying options.
In its most basic state, it's a neoprene case with rigid walls, rubber grips, and a flexible, protective front. Add the removable lid, and you get a hard shell that can store your earbuds and remote while letting you use the iPod's buttons. It comes with a belt clip and an armband; optional accessories include a car mount, a bike mount, a lanyard, and a sport belt.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod, iPod mini
iPod mini colors: black, blue, gold, green, pink, silver; iPod colors: black, blue, graphite, navy, red, yellow

Pod on the Run

Incase Belt for iPod ($25)

Contact: Incase, 626/338-6400, www.goincase.com (Available at Apple Store locations and www.apple.com; other cases available.)
Why We Like It: The Incase Belt is a running pouch done right. Although it's svelte and light, it protects your iPod in a padded neoprene compartment that includes a hidden pocket for cards and cash.
A small hole in the belt lets your headphone/remote cable out (so you don't have to dangle it out the case opening), and a separate, zippered compartment with a clip holds your keys and coins. Finally, a mesh backing keeps the pouch from adding to your already-high sweat level.
iPods That Fit: iPod with dock connector, original iPod, iPod mini
Color: black

Ultimate Adaptability

Xtremity ($30)

Contact: XtremeMac, 866/392-9800, www.xtrememac.com (Other cases available.)
Why We Like It: The Xtremity can be used as either a slip-in holster or a fully enclosed case. It's designed to be the center of an iPod accessory system: the back of the Xtremity has a slot for attaching a number of custom add-ons, including a belt clip, a car or wall mount, and a wireless audio transmitter (not yet available).
iPod That Fits: iPod with dock connector
Color: white and gray

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