In this week’s iPod case roundup, I look at four hard cases for the iPod touch that use clear plastic. These cases provide shell-like protection without getting in the way (too much) of the iPod touch’s looks.
Contour Design iSee touch
The $30 iSee touch covers almost the whole iPod touch, except the screen and the Home button. The front and back of the iSee touch snap together tightly, and Contour Designs includes two case backs, a plain back, and one with a belt clip. The belt clip can be positioned in four directions and is removable; a white plastic cap comes with the case to cover the holes to which the clip attaches. The clip is strong and firmly clamped on to my belt.
The plain back has four small silicone feet, one for each corner. The feet help stop the iPod touch from sliding on a table or dashboard. Unfortunately, the glue that holds the feet isn’t very strong; after just one day of use, I lost a foot. I was able to easily scrape the other three feet off with my fingernail.
The iPod touch’s Sleep/Wake button is covered by a silicone piece that did not hinder the button in any way. Another silicone piece is used to cover the dock and headphone jack. The silicone piece is connected to the case, and moves out of the way when you connect an iPod cable or headphones.
The only thing missing from the iSee touch is a clear plastic film for screen protection. The missing feet takes away from the aesthetics of this case, which is otherwise an excellent protector of your iPod touch.
Contour Design Showcase touch
OK, the $35 Showcase touch isn’t completely a clear plastic case. Still, I like the contrast between the slickness and sheen of the clear plastic used on the front and back and the matte black rubber used around the sides that give the case a bit of grip.
A latch on the right side slides up and down to lock and unlock the case, which opens like a book. The iPod touch feels secure in the case, and I was able to access all the on-screen buttons along the sides of the screen without the case getting in the way.
A rubber plug that’s hinged to the case provides protection for the dock and headphone jack; the headphone jack plug moves out of the way when you have headphones plugged into the iPod touch.
Contour Design doesn’t include a clear film screen protector, which would provide coverage for the only thing the Showcase touch doesn’t protect. But you can buy clear film screen protectors separately. In all, the Showcase touch is a great, all-around case for everyday use.
Artwizz SeeJacket Crystal
What’s most interesting about the $30 SeeJacket Crystal is that it has a thin piece of plastic that covers the whole iPod touch face. The plastic is black along the sides, top and bottom, and clear where the iPod touch screen is. For the most part, the plastic doesn’t interfere with the touchscreen; I was able to tap on-screen buttons and keyboard with the same amount of pressure and precision as I did on an uncovered iPod touch. And the clear plastic didn’t affect how images looked on screen.
The rest of the case is made of clear plastic that’s tough enough for everyday use. There’s an opening for the Sleep/Wake button, but because of the thickness of the surrounding plastic, you need to dig a little to press the button. The case has openings for the dock-connector port and headphone jack, and we had no problems connecting headphones and 30-pin iPod cable.
If you want complete iPod touch coverage, the SeeJacket Crystal is about as close as it gets. Artwizz is based in Germany, and the case is distributed in the U.S. by Harmonic Inversion Technology.
Power Support Crystal Jacket Set
The $30 Crystal Jacket Set is a straightforward clear-plastic iPod touch case. It’s called a Set because it comes with two case backs, one with a stand, and one without.
The stand rotates 360 degrees in 90-degree increments, and folds in when not in use. The stand doesn’t have any clamping action, so it can’t do double duty as a belt clip.
The case has an opening for the Sleep/Wake button, and I didn’t have to dig to push the button. The bottom opening lets you access the iPod’s dock-connector port and headphone jack. Power Support provides a separate rubber plug for the dock, but I misplaced it after a few days. Power Support also bundles a clear film to protect the screen.
Nothing special jumps out about the Crystal Jacket Set; it does the job. It’s a good choice if you want a case that doesn’t draw attention away from the iPod touch’s cosmetics.
[Roman Loyola is a Macworld senior editor.]