capsule review

Contour Design Showcase video

At a Glance
  • Contour Design Showcase video

Contour's Showcase iPod cases have long been among our favorites thanks to good shock and scratch protection in a design that -- as the case name implies -- still shows off your iPod's attractive surfaces. And in many ways, the new Showcase video for the iPod (with video), a.k.a., 5G iPod, is the best yet.

Like previous Showcase designs, the Showcase video features rubber edges with clear plastic front and rear surfaces; nearly the entire back of your iPod is visible yet protected, while all but the iPod's Click Wheel is protected in front. However, the Showcase video is significantly thinner and lighter than previous models; although this means you get a bit less protection, the slimmer profile makes for an acceptable tradeoff, in my opinion.

The Showcase video also includes, but improves upon, two legacy features that have made the Showcase line among our favorites. The first is that, like the older versions, the Showcase video's hinged design opens easily, making it a simple procedure to remove your iPod from the Showcase (for example, to place the player in one of the many dock-cradle accessories on the market). But instead of the bulky latch of its predecessors, the Showcase video uses two sliding latches embedded in the side of the case. The most obvious advantage of this approach is that there are no protruding parts, but the dual latches also provide better security -- since you have to slide them in opposite directions to unlock the case, it's nearly impossible to accidentally open the case and expose your iPod to danger. The Showcase video also uses an improved version of Contour's handy belt clip, which attaches securely to the case, but detaches easily without leaving any protruding knobs or clips behind.

The Showcase video leaves your iPod's hold switch, headphone jack, and dock connector port accessible via openings in the case. Although these openings are quite a bit larger than the ones we see on most iPod cases, which means that more of your iPod is exposed to possible damage, I was more than willing to accept the slight additional risk in return for a headphone opening that accommodates most third-party headphone plugs; a hold switch opening large enough to actually let me move the hold switch; and a dock connector port hole large enough to accommodate most third-party dock connector plugs.

Overall, the Showcase video is a nearly perfect iPod case. It provides good protection that's easy to put on and take off, while keeping your iPod looking like, well, an iPod.--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Contour Design Showcase video

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