The PDair Aluminium Case for the iPod nano is an attractive, aluminum hardshell case that offers serious protection for the sleekest iPod. Its inside is lined with a thin, smooth layer of foam that cushions the nano and prevents the case’s interior from scratching the iPod; the foam also adds a bit of shock protection. The iPod fits snugly into place; it won’t fall out, even with the case open. A rigid plastic window protects the iPod’s screen, and a circular cutout allows you to use the iPod’s Click Wheel without problem.
Using the case is simple enough: Its hinged design lets you open and close it by working a small clasp that snaps home with a satisfying click. The clasp takes a bit of effort to open, but that’s as it should be; you don’t, after all, want the case to go flying open if you drop it. The case leaves the bottom of the iPod exposed, allowing access the dock-connector port and headphone jack, and there’s a small notch cut in the top for the hold switch; this opening is well-designed, unlike the hold-switch openings on many cases we test, and makes it easy to flip the nano’s diminutive switch. On the other hand, the included lanyard is usable but feels cheap and flimsy; it threads into the case via a hitch knot secured to the rear of the case.
Although the PDair case does add some heft to the nano, it’s not unduly heavy; I didn’t notice a discernable difference when carrying it in my pocket. Though the Click Wheel is vulnerable through the cutout, it’s slightly recessed, which protects it from casual wear and tear. And for the fashion conscious, the case’s anondized aluminum exterior is a perfect complement to the silver stylings of a PowerBook or MacBook Pro. Overall, a stylish and solid entry in the hardshell category. –Dan Moren