The nice thing about the iPod is that it’s so small you can take it almost anywhere. Unfortunately, there’s still that pesky matter of the word “almost.” For example, what if you want to take your iPod on your snorkeling holiday? Or take it to the beach without having to worry about the dual threats of sand and surf? It’s situations like these for which Allsop has made the DriPod, which fits first-generation iPod nanos and shuffles. (Although the company doesn’t specifically advertise compatibility with the second-generation nano, it fits, as well). But while the waterproof aspect of the case works as advertised, it does so at a cost to convenience and usability.
The DriPod is basically a clear-plastic pouch a little larger than an iPod nano. A short, white headphone extension cable runs through the pouch with a male miniplug on the inside and a female minijack on the outside (the DriPod manual notes that waterproof headphones are necessary for submersion). In order to put the iPod in the case, you undo a Velcro flap at one end of the case, which lets you unfold the “airlock,” a series of three separate plastic zippers, each akin to the seal on a Ziploc bag. When you’ve put the iPod in and plugged the headphone cable into the iPod’s headphone jack, you seal each zipper and fold them back up, then once again secure the Velcro flap. A lanyard is threaded through the plastic, but you can remove it if you prefer.
Once your iPod is hermetically sealed inside, you can run water over the case or submerge it with impunity — although you shouldn’t submerge your non-waterproof headphones, of course. In my tests, the waterproof functionality worked perfectly.
The Click Wheel controls of an iPod nano are usable through the case, but scrolling is sometimes iffy. Since the pouch is larger than the nano, it’s difficult to get all the air out, and pressing down on the DriPod in one location often causes the material to bubble up in another — when scrolling, this is particularly uneven. Working the hold switch is all but impossible through the case because the material is too thick. And, of course, there’s no access to the iPod’s dock-connector port while the nano is in the DriPod. (Using a first-generation iPod shuffle in the case is quite a bit easier, thanks to the shuffle’s physical buttons.)
Getting the nano in and out of the case is a trial in and of itself. Because of the width of the case, you can fit only a couple of fingers in, and when unrolled, the multiple airlocks stretch a few inches below the case proper, which makes it tricky for those without long fingers. (And before putting your iPod in the case, you need to reach in and pull out the headphone cable to plug it into your iPod’s headphone jack, which can also be tricky.)
The DriPod provides casual protection for the nano from scratches and the like, but it won’t do much if you drop it (unless you drop it in the pool). As such, it’s not as impressive a case as OtterBox’s OtterBox cases. Then again, the DriPod is just over half the price of OtterBox’s offerings. If you’re looking for an inexpensive case that you can take to the beach, the DriPod should keep your iPod in good working order.