capsule review

Agent 18 VideoShield Kit

At a Glance
  • Agent 18 VideoShield Kit

I'm a fan of Agent 18's cases: their clear, polycarbonate shields offer good protection without obscuring your iPods own appearance. The new VideoShield Kit is the company's best offering yet for full-size iPods. Like the company's excellent Click Shield for 4th-generation iPods, the VideoShield's main component is a two-piece, clear, polycarbonate case. The front and back pieces snap together securely and offer good all-over protection from scratches and minor bumps and drops. The only unprotected areas of your iPod are its Click Wheel and bottom edge -- the latter opening is actually a nice feature, as it lets you use most dock-connector accessories, such as FM transmitters and microphones. There's are also recessed openings on top of the case to access your iPod's hold switch and headphone jack; the headphone-jack opening is large enough to accommodate most third-party headphone plugs.

But the "Kit" in VideoShield Kit is what makes this case so versatile. Included are three useful accessories. The first is a stainless steel belt clip that clips onto the back of the case and provides a large, sturdy clip. The second is a well-designed stand that lets you watch videos on your 5G iPod, hands-free. Like the belt clip, this clear, polycarbonate stand clips onto the back of the case; when you want to watch video, a large, plastic stand flips down, and then a smaller plastic brace flips up and attaches securely to one of four slots in the back of the case, providing four different viewing angles. The stand is very sturdy and works well.

The third accessory solves the dilemma of many protective cases: How do you use your iPod with dock-cradle accessories. Some cases, such as Contour's Showcase, make it very easy to remove your iPod from the case. Agent 18 has taken a unique approach: They've designed the bottom of the case itself to fit into Apple's Universal Dock system, and included the necessary dock adapter to do so. So instead of using the dock adapter included with your 5G iPod, you use the one included with the VideoShield Kit. Why hasn't anyone else thought of this yet?

You can use only one of these accessories -- belt clip, stand, dock adapter -- at a time, and the belt clip and stand add a good amount of bulk to your iPod, but this is an well-designed and versatile case. Highly recommended.

(The VideoShield Cover -- the actual case -- is also available without the belt clip, stand, and dock adapter for $25. If you've already purchased the Cover, you can buy the Accessory Pack separately for $13.)--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Agent 18 VideoShield Kit

Related:
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon