We’ve reviewed a number of “skin” covers for the iPod shuffle, all of which provide good scratch protection with decent shock protection using variations on a similar design. But when it comes to iPod skin cases, we’ve come to expect Power Support to better the competition in subtle but meaningful ways, and the Silicone Jacket is no exception.
Like other skin cases for the shuffle, the Jacket provides an all-over glove of silicone that protects your shuffle from sratches, minor bumps, and surface moisture (read: sweat). Like Pacific Rim Technologies’ Gel Shield, the Jacket provides tactile markings over the iPod shuffle’s controls to make it easier to locate them by feel. However, unlike most of the other iPod shuffle skins we’ve reviewed, which use a thinner layer of silicone over the shuffle’s Off/Play/Shuffle switch to allow you to move that switch without having to take the case off, Power Support has used a thicker, ribbed, silicone button. The button itself grips the shuffle’s switch, while the ribbing allows the button to move enough to allow you to change the switch’s setting. This design seems sturdier to me, as it doesn’t rely on a large, thin patch of silicone that may be more likely to rip over the long term.
The Silicone Jacket also uses significantly thicker silicone around the corners of the shuffle than other such cases, which allows it to provide better impact protection if you accidentally drop your shuffle. In fact, the silicone is thick enough that you can thread a wrist strap or non-Apple lanyard through a small hole in the corner of the Jacket. Yet despite the added thickness, you can still use most third-party headphones with the Jacket — Power Support made the silicone immediately surrounding the headphone jack thinner so it will stretch to accommodate most 1/8″ miniplugs.
Two other nice touches: First, the Silicone Jacket includes covers for both the shuffle’s USB cap and the lanyard attachment — most skin cases don’t include the latter. Second, you also get a white plastic belt clip that fits over the Jacket, making the Silicone Jacket one of the few skin cases that can be used with a belt clip. The clip itself isn’t as sturdy as some of the standalone clips we’ve reviewed, but if you only need to use it occasionally, it’s sufficient and a welcome addition.
At $23, the Silicone Jacket is more expensive than other skin cases for the shuffle; however, in this case, you really do get what you pay for — a better design, better silicone, and a belt clip. Highly recommended. –Dan Frakes