I’ve long been a fan of Slappa’s CD and DVD cases, which offer stylish designs and great protection for your discs. Slappa has recently entered the iPod accessory market with a case for the iPod mini, called the ShockShell HardCase, that similarly protective — whether or not you’ll find one of the many models to be stylish is a bit more subjective.
The ShockShell Hardcase is one of the few cases for the iPod mini that provides near crush-proof protection while still providing access to the mini’s screen and controls. The majority of the case — a solid piece that starts at one edge of the screen, wraps around the back and sides, and then ends at the other edge of the screen — is comprised of two inner layers: a soft EVA interior and a rigid layer of anodized aluminum. A third layer, made of rubberized PVC, provides the grippy exterior of the case and wraps all the way around (so it also protects the front of the iPod). A similar three-layer piece covers the bottom of the iPod, with a slot to accommodate Apple’s dock connector cable. The result is one of the most crush- and bump-protective cases on the market for the iPod — Slappa touts the ShockShell as being “drop tested from 3 feet.” The only odd thing about the ShockShell HardCase is that despite its excellent impact protection, it offers no protection for the mini’s screen and Click Wheel. (The top of the iPod is also exposed, but I don’t find that to be as much of a concern.)
The ShockShell also provides a removable plastic beltclip; Slappa has wisely chosen to make the belt clip “nub” removable so there’s no protruding post when you’re not using the clip.
The ShockShell HardCase is available in six different designs — Tribal, Gridz, Mod, Little Wing, Flutter, and Eden — each of which can be purchased in one of several different colors or color combinations. The unit I reviewed — a “bubblegum” version of the Flutter pattern — didn’t tickle my fancy, but that’s not to say it won’t be perfect for you. The variety of designs and colors offered by Slappa makes it likely that if you’re interested in the ShockShell, you’ll find one of the models appealing.–Dan Frakes