Like its smaller sibling for the iPod shuffle, Marware’s Sport Grip for iPod nano is a solid entry in the silicone iPod case market that, while not as fancy or full of features as some other entries, makes up for its austerity with a price that won’t break the bank. After you’ve shelled out a couple hundred for the iPod nano itself, an inexpensive, quality case is most assuredly a good thing.
The Sport Grip box contains the case itself along with a pair of small, clear plastic protectors: a round one for the Click Wheel and a rectangular one for the nano’s screen. The case has openings for the hold switch, dock protector, and headphone jack, all of which are easily accessible. Although it’s a straight-forward affair to apply the two adhesive protectors — the included instructions are succinct and to the point — I did have issues with air bubbles under both, particularly the Click Wheel protector, though this didn’t affect the case’s usability in any way. Overall, the separate protectors are not quite as elegant a solution as the full-size protectors found in other cases, but I did appreciate that Marware included instructions for removing the clear plastic film using a piece of adhesive tape.
One you get your iPod in the Sport Grip, the case does its job with aplomb. The nano rests snugly in the thick layer of silicone, feeling sturdy and secure. The Click Wheel works well through the plastic film, and the screen is clear and visible. The case also has a slightly tacky feel that makes it easy to grip (hence the name?); I wasn’t worried about dropping it.
I did have a few aesthetic complaints about the Sport Grip: Like many silicone cases, the material tends to attract dust and lint, even after a few days, and the screen protector, while more resilient than the nano’s screen, also smudges and acquires fingerprints easily. But these are small gripes in a case that is otherwise perfectly serviceable — and at $10 is a veritable steal.–Dan Moren