We previously reviewed OtterBox’s cases for full-size iPods and iPod minis, awarding them our rare 5-Play rating. The company has recently released an iPod shuffle version of their waterproof cases that’s just as impressive as its bigger siblings, even though it feels bulkier in comparison to the iPod inside.
Like the other iPod OtterBoxes, you insert your iPod shuffle into the case by opening the lid and sliding the iPod in until its headphone jack connects firmly to the 1/8″, stationary headphone plug inside. (An external pass-through headphone jack lets you plug in your headphones.) As you squeeze the case together and snap the latch closed, you can feel the resistance of the rubber gasket that forms a seal around the case. Once closed, this seal provides protection from water, sand, dirt, dust — nearly everything. (The company claims the shuffle OtterBox is waterproof to 1 meter.) Rubber “bumpers” inside the case provide very good shock protection in case you drop or bump your shuffle.
(If you’re interested in submersible/waterproof headphones, OtterBox recommends those from SwimMan, available at http://swimman.net/pages/859130/index.htm.)
The OtterBox case is nearly crushproof, yet it doesn’t prevent you from controlling your iPod when inside. A thick silicone membrane over your your shuffle’s control pad gives you full access to the buttons, and another membrane on the back provides access to the shuffle’s battery-check button. (You can’t access the off/play/shuffle switch while your shuffle is in the case.)
As is the case with the larger OtterBox iPod cases, all this protection comes at a price in size: At 5″ x 1.6″ x .75″, the case adds a significant amount of bulk and weight to your shuffle. It’s less than the girth added to standard iPods by the full-size OtterBox model, but because the iPod shuffle is so small and light, it seems like more. My only other complaint is that the shuffle version doesn’t include a belt clip or any carrying solution other than a thin lanyard. OtterBox offers a $15 armband that works well, but that’s an additional expense — a belt clip seems like an obvious option.
Even so, this is the most protective iPod shuffle case we’ve seen, and it’s the one we use when venturing into unforgiving (to electronics) environments.–Dan Frakes