It’s tough to design a case for the second-generation (2G) iPod shuffle — the player is already pretty sturdy, thanks to a metal enclosure, and its built-in belt clip means that any case needs to leave the back of the shuffle unobscured or else the belt clip will be unusable. Still, we’ve already seen announcements for several such cases. We previously reviewed RhinoSkin’s iPod Shuffle Accents, colored-aluminum shells for the front of the new shuffle; the latest 2G shuffle case is Mophie’s Wraptor.
The Wraptor is a clear-plastic, clip-on shell that protects the front of the 2G shuffle — except for the control pad, which remains accessible — as well as its top, bottom, and sides. Indentations in the bottom of the Wraptor provide access to the Power and mode (shuffle/repeat) switches, and a notch in the top makes room for small headphone plugs; unfortunately, larger headphone plugs, such as those on some third-party headphones, don’t fit a Wraptor-encased shuffle.
What makes the Wraptor unique is that the left and right sides of the case feature thick grooves around which you can wrap your headphone cable; you then secure the cable by wrapping it around the shuffle’s own belt clip. The depth of the grooves allows you to easily wrap approximately one-half to two-thirds of the cable, provided you’re using Apple’s earbuds or headphones with similarly-thin cables; this makes the cord-winding feature useful for reducing the amount of excess cable you have when listening to the shuffle, but difficult for wrapping all of the cable for storage — and not very useful at all if you prefer third-party headphones that happen to have thicker cables. And it’s too easy for the cable to come unravelled, since the iPod’s belt clip doesn’t grab the end of the cable very well. On the other hand, the “wings” that provide these grooves act as large bumpers for the shuffle, protecting all but the shuffle’s belt clip from damage if you drop the player.
The other major issue with the Wraptor is that the second-generation shuffle connects to your computer using an included dock cradle, and you can’t fit the shuffle into that cradle with the Wraptor on. This wouldn’t be an issue if, like RhinoSkin’s Accents, the Wraptor was easily removed, but it’s actually fairly difficult to get on and off.
The Wraptor is a novel idea, but one that could be improved by allowing it to hold more (and thicker) cable and by including a notch for securing the end of the cable to prevent the cable from unwinding. –Dan Frakes