capsule review

iPod case roundup: Give your old iPod touch a new case

At a Glance
  • Core Cases iPod touch Aluminum Slider Case

    Macworld Rating
  • OtterBox for iPod touch Defender

    Macworld Rating
  • Speck Products TechStyle Classic for iPod touch

    Macworld Rating

Apple may have ushered in a new era for the iPod touch ( ) recently, but there are plenty of owners of the original iPod touch out there—plus, you can get a pretty good deal on a refurbished 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB original iPod touch at the Apple Store’s refurbished section online.

If you have an original iPod touch, you still want to protect your investment. This week, I take a look at three cases for the original iPod touch. These cases will not fit the new iPod touch, which has a different body shape and new volume buttons that won’t fit these cases.

Core Cases iPod touch Aluminum Slider Case

The iPod touch Aluminum Slider Case comes in two parts that slide together to protect the iPod touch. The case has an EVA lining so it doesn’t scratch the iPod touch. I didn’t experience any problems of the Slide Case slipping apart during the couple of weeks I used it.

Core Cases iPod touch Aluminum Slider Case

If you just chowed down at your favorite greasy spoon, be sure to wash your hands before you handle a black Slider Case, because the anodized brushed black aluminum will show your greasy fingerprints; it’s akin to the fingerprint problems of the black MacBook (which actually has a plastic case.) But if you do get fingerprints and smudges on the black Slider Case, all you have to do it wipe it off with a cloth. Preferably a clean one. (The Slider Case is also available in anodized brushed silver aluminum.)

The case has openings so you can access the iPod's buttons easily, and it also has an opening for the WiFi antenna. The edges of the case’s screen opening don’t get in the way of touching on-screen buttons along the sides. Speaking of the screen, Core Cases doesn’t include a clear screen protector, but you can use a third-party protector and still be able to fit the iPod touch in the Slider Case. The Slider Case provides a nice hard shell that doesn’t add a lot of bulk, ideal for everyday use.

OtterBox for iPod touch Defender

If you’re the type who puts your gadgets through a lot of abuse, the OtterBox for iPod touch Defender is the case for you. It offers two layers of protection, with a hard plastic shell covered by a silicone skin. With an iPod touch inside, the Defender is almost twice as thick as the iPod touch, but it’s very well protected.

OtterBox Defender

A semi-clear polycarbonate sheet provides protection for the iPod touch screen, but it hampers the light finger taps you would normally use on an uncovered iPod touch. Because the sheet isn’t completely flush with the screen, you have to apply a bit more pressure to your finger taps than usual. It doesn’t detract from the overall usability of the iPod touch interface, but the sheet does make the screen look a little hazy.

The case provides cover for the dock-connector port and headphone jack when they’re not in use. You can still easily press the Sleep/Wake button and Home button. The case comes up to the very edge of the iPod touch screen, making it difficult to press on-screen buttons along the edge of the screen (for example, the Q key on the on-screen keyboard).

The Defender is a good case for when you want to use your iPod touch during a rigorous activity, and you don’t plan on using the interface much—you simply want to have some tunes on while you’re, say, scaling a rock. It’s not waterproof or water resistant so don’t use it in the pool. But it will take a beating.

Speck TechStyle Classic for iPod touch

The TechStyle Classic for iPod touch uses soft black leather with white stitching. The leather feels nice and of quality, not cheap. The stitching is strong and holds up under everyday use, but to me, the stitching gives the case an unappealing Frankenstein, patched-together look.

Speck TechStyle Classic

You just slip your iPod touch inside and snap the case closed. There are openings for easy access to the dock-connector port, headphone jack, and Sleep/Wake button. The edges of the screen opening don’t get in the way of your fingers, but Speck doesn’t include a clear screen protector. You can go with a third-party screen protector and still be able to fit the iPod touch in the case.

The TechStyle Classic has a removable belt clip that securely holds on to whatever it’s clipped. The clip is positioned only in the vertical position; you can’t pivot it for horizontal use. And unlike some other cases with clips, the clip on the TechStyle Classic does not do double duty as a stand.

In all, the TechStyle Classic is a basic leather case at an attractive price.

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At a Glance
  • Core Cases iPod touch Aluminum Slider Case

    Macworld Rating
  • OtterBox for iPod touch Defender

    Macworld Rating
  • Speck Products TechStyle Classic for iPod touch

    Macworld Rating
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