SwitchEasy’s new Capsule — officially called the Capsule Accessory System for iPod nano — is an attractive, hard plastic case that at first glance is very tempting. Made of two pieces of Lexan plastic, each Capsule provides a durable and attractive enclosure for your iPod nano. The back and sides of your nano are protected by a solid-color case body, with the front guarded by a complementary translucent cover. (Capsules are available in 5 body/cover combinations: Black Amber [black with black cover], Shaved Ice [white with clear cover], Red Mama [red with red cover], Tangy Orange [orange with orange cover], and Citrus Apple [green with yellow cover].) The cover leaves your nano’s Click Wheel exposed, but an included “Stickie” — a thin cover that attaches to the Click Wheel using static cling — protects it from scratches. An opening at the bottom of the case lets you plug in your headphones and two sets of holes, one on the bottom center and one on the bottom left, let you attach the included lanyard for carrying your en-Capsule-lated nano around your neck.
(If you’re wondering why SwitchEasy calls the Capsule an “Accessory System,” it’s because the company plans to release a number of compatible accessories such as color lenses that will let you customize the look of your Capsule.)
Each capsule is quite attractive and offers a good amount of protection for your nano. Unfortunately, SwitchEasy missed the mark with a number of the case’s details. For example, you can’t access the nano’s hold button or — even more inconvenient — dock connector port without completely removing your iPod from the case (not a difficult procedure, but not as easy as removing it from most non-hardshell cases). For another, the Capsule’s headphone jack appears to have been designed specifically for Apple’s stock earbuds — many third-party headphone plugs won’t fit. The translucent case fronts also affect your ability to read the nano’s screen in bright light; this is especially an issue with the black model. Finally, the Stickies Click Wheel protectors are made of a material that significantly reduces the tactile feel of the Click Wheel; it can be a challenge to figure out if you’ve pressed the middle (Select) button.
Given its style and protection, I wanted to like the Capsule, but the above flaws made the case inconvenient to use. Here’s hoping that version 2 tweaks the design a bit; with some of these issues addressed, I’d be happy to recommend it.–Dan Frakes