We’ve reviewed a few iPod shuffle cases here on Playlist, and we’ve reviewed a few belt clips. Marware’s SportGrip is sort of a hybrid. It’s not quite a full-blown case — it provides a protective rubber “bumper” only around the edges of the shuffle while leaving the front and back faces exposed. And it’s not quite a “belt clip” — instead it provides a small keyring for attaching the SportGrip to a lanyard or the included carabiner; that carabiner can be used to attach the whole shebang to a belt loop or bag. So perhaps a better way to describe the SportGrip is as a “clip” accessory much like DVForge’s Clips.
Although the SportGrip doesn’t offer complete protection — Marware’s website specifically states you shouldn’t use a SportGrip-encased shuffle on a keyring (presumably because your keys would damage the exposed faces of the shuffle — the rubber edges do provide some degree of shock protection if you drop your shuffle. And one advantage of such a design is that it’s easy to take your shuffle out of the SportGrip for syncing and charging — you simply stretch the case a bit to pull the shuffle out (leaving the shuffle’s USB cap in the SportGrip, if you like). We were concerned that the rubber surrounding the headphone jack would prevent headphones with larger plugs from connecting properly, but we didn’t have problems with any of the headphones we tested.
Thanks to the included carabiner, the SportGrip is a handy way to carry your iPod shuffle around; with ten available colors, you can even add a bit of personal style. And perhaps most importantly, when you consider that the SportGrip is only $9, it’s also among the least expensive iPod shuffle add-ons we’ve seen. It’s a fun accessory that we suspect will do well; we’ve already ordered a few to give to friends and family.