One of the great things about the iPod is that it’s so small that you’re tempted to take it with you everywhere you go. Great, that is, until you drop it on your driveway while getting out of your car. For those who are tough on their iPods, Speck hopes to entice you with the ToughSkin 2Tough case for the second-generation (2G) iPod nano.
While the name “2Tough” may conjure images of Paul Walker and urban drag racing, the case itself is a bit more mundane. It’s constructed of two slabs of polycarbonate which sandwich the iPod together, surrounded by a thick rubber bumper. Inserting the nano involves opening the front polycarbonate “door” and nestling the iPod into its rubber cradle. This process is actually somewhat frustrating, since you need to get the nano firmly seated under the rubber’s lip in order to make the case close flush. It took me a bit of arranging to get everything aligned properly once I’d shoehorned the nano in. The same problem occurs upon removing the nano; you’ll need to play with the case a bit to get everything back in place. (How much of a hassle you’ll find this to be of course will depend on how frequently you remove your nano from the case.)
Once inside, the nano is well protected. There’s a round, recessed opening in the front panel for the Click Wheel and openings in the rubber to access the hold switch on top and the dock-connector port and headphone jack on the bottom of the nano. Although the plug on the iPod’s stock earbuds fits fine, the case’s headphone-jack opening is clearly not designed for larger plugs: they fit, but they make the case’s rubber bulge outwards a bit. There’s also a removable, rotating belt clip on the back. (You can actually take the case apart fairly easily, though I’m not sure exactly why you’d want to do so, and it can be a hassle to get back together again properly, so I’d recommend not doing so.)
The 2Tough is, as the name implies, a robust and resilient case, due to its thick rubber edges and the metal bars that keep them in place. A couple of quick test drops were met with no problem. I’m a little concerned that the Click Wheel is left exposed — given that this is supposed to offer “mega-protection” (according to the company’s Web site) — but it’s at least protected by being recessed. My major complaint with the case is that it adds significant bulk to the slim nano, but if you’re serious about protection, this is an option worth considering. –Dan Moren