The iJacket for iPod nano stakes a nice middle ground between the bevy of silicone “skin” cases and the increasingly popular clear-acrylic hardshell cases for the iPod nano. Rather than using thin, flexible silicone, the iJacket uses a considerably thicker, stiffer, more rugged plastic, similar to that used by XtremeMac’s Iconz cases, that’s less shatter-prone than rigid acrylic.
There are very few openings on the iJacket: a large one for the screen (protected by an included adhesive-plastic film), a small one for the Click Wheel, and a large one on the bottom, through which you slide your nano to get it in the case. The nano slides in so readily that you’d be excused for thinking that it will slide out equally easily. But vigorous shaking does nothing to dislodge the iPod; in fact, it’s actually somewhat tricky side to remove your nano — you have to push down on the only exposed part of the top, the hold switch, and work it out slowly. The documentation suggests attaching the dock cable and pulling your nano out via the cable, but I’m a tad wary of tugging using sensitive electronics.
The iJacket model I reviewed turns your nano into something resembling Apple’s Special Edition U2 iPod — black with a brilliant red covering for the Click Wheel — though many other designs are available via the company’s Web site. The plastic covering the Click Wheel is slightly recessed and feels pleasantly smooth to the touch; the controls are marked in high-contrast white type, which makes them easy to read, and a raised nub rests over the wheel’s center button.
The iJacket comes with an attractive, removable lanyard in a color scheme matching the case as well as a removable plastic belt clip. Both the lanyard and clip are designed to hold the iPod upside down, making it easier to read the screen while using them. An added bonus of this design, since you insert the iPod from the case’s bottom, is that it’s unlikely the nano will fall out while in use (though, as I mentioned above, that seems unlikely anyway). On the other hand, removing the clip is somewhat annoying: You must take the nano out of the case first, then wrestle a bit with the clip assembly to slide it out. Reattaching it isn’t a picnic either, requiring a similar process in reverse.
Besides the difficulty in removing the belt clip, and the fact that it’s a bit of a hassle to remove your nano from the case (for example, if you want to place it in a dock-cradle accessory), my only other complaint about the iJacket is that its screen protection is relatively poor. Otherwise, this is a solid case and an excellent choice for those looking for protection that doesn’t adversely affect your iPod’s usability.