Speck’s Metal for iPod shuffle is a weighty aluminum case with shiny nickel plating. Access to the front and back controls are provided by openings in the case. Like Griffin’s iVault, the case is composed of two pieces held together by two screws; a tiny screwdriver, included, is required to put the case on and take it off. Also like the iVault, the Metal’s headphone port access is deep, with a narrow opening, preventing the use of many fat and angled miniplugs.
However, unlike the iVault, you can still plug your Metal-encased shuffle into most USB ports by simply removing the included matching USB cap. (The iVault requires the use of a USB extension cable.) This design negates much of the need to open the case.
One other minor complaint about the Metal is that the seal between the case’s USB cap and your iPod is not tight, so the two pieces make noise as they come in contact during use.
Overall, Speck’s Metal case is attractive, protects thoroughly, and gives access to the USB port. However, the necessity of a screwdriver, the noise of the cap against the case, and limited headphone compatibility should be taken into account before buying.–Derik DeLong