InnoPocket’s new Magnum cases for the iPod mini are the first real competition to Matias’ iPod armor mini we’ve found. Like the iPod armor mini, the Magnum provides a metal back and clear plastic front; however, the Magnum’s front plastic is slightly thicker and — in a first for an iPod case that we’re aware of — the back is made of magnesium alloy, which is stronger than the aluminum used in other iPod hard cases. (The magnesium back plate also features an embossed design instead of a boring flat surface.)
The Magnum provides thicker plastic over the screen area for added protection; however, the Click Wheel and top edge of the iPod remain exposed — a tradeoff between easy access and complete hardshell protection. (If you need such protection, the iPod armor mini is your best bet.) Because the case leaves the top edge exposed, you can still use top-mounting accessories such as Griffin’s iTalk and iTrip and MacAlly’s PodWave.
Another nice touch that we always appreciate: The belt clip post can be easily removed, leaving the back of the case free of protrusions. And a slot at the top of the case can accomodate a wrist strap or lanyard.
We have only two complaints about the Magnum cases for the iPod mini. First, although they’re offered in the standard iPod mini colors — blue, green, gold, silver, and pink — the green sample we reviewed didn’t quite match the green of the iPod mini. (The silver model is a bit duller than the silver iPod mini, but is still a good match; we haven’t seen the blue, gold, or pink.) The other is that the dock connector port on the bottom of the case is a bit too small — it’s a perfect fit for Apple’s dock cable, but it won’t accomodate a number of third-party product that use slightly larger dock connectors.
(Note that InnoPocket also offers Magnum cases in sizes for 4G iPods and the iPod photo.)