We’ve recently reviewed several cases for the iPod mini that use an increasingly popular, two-piece design: a wraparound front piece that protects the top, bottom, front and sides of your mini (leaving the Click Wheel exposed and accessible), along with a second piece that covers the back of the iPod. These cases are also designed so that the back piece can be removed and replaced with your iPod mini’s belt clip without sacrificing much protection. Overall, we’ve liked this design and the cases that have used it — you get an attractive, svelte case that offers good protection against scratches and minor bumps.
However, Agent 18’s mini shock takes this design to the next level by adding significant shock protection. The plastic sides of the case feel a bit sturdier than those of the similar cases we’ve tested, and, more importantly, the top and bottom edges, along with four “bumpers” on the inside of the case, are made of shock-absorbing rubber. When in the case, your iPod isn’t actually touching the plastic sides of the main case section; it’s resting safely in between the rubber bumpers. Unless your iPod falls perfectly on the front or sides of the case, the rubber top and bottom edges will absorb a good amount of the blow; even if you do get a “direct hit,” the rubber bumpers inside will soften the fall significantly.
Although it isn’t made entirely of clear plastic like other similar cases, the mini shock is still quite attractive. The main body is iPod white, with a clear front face that manages to show off just enough of your iPod mini for the color to shine through. And we like the square opening in the back piece that’s just big enough to let your iPod’s branding (the Apple logo and “iPod” label) peek out.
In fact, the only drawback to the mini shock when compared to other similar cases is that because of the additional rubber around the top of the case, you can’t use top-mounted accessories — FM transmitters, voice recorders, remote controls — when your mini is in mini shock. (Contour’s iSee provides this capability.)
Overall, the mini shock doesn’t provide as much shock protection as Speck’s ToughSkin mini, but it still offers very good protection in a sleeker, more attractive design. We suspect that most users will find the mini shock’s protection to be more than enough — it provides a good compromise that has made the mini shock one of our favorite cases for the iPod mini.–Dan Frakes