Marware’s Slyder is a transparent polycarbonate hardshell case for the second generation (2G) iPod nano — with a twist. Or should I say “with a slide.”
Transparent hardshell cases are appealing because they let you show off your colorful, sleek iPod while still keeping it protected from the occasional dings and scratches that befall us all. However, rather than providing a circular opening for the nano’s Click Wheel, like most cases of its kind, the Slyder completely covers the Click Wheel when closed. To provide access to the controls, the bottom half of the case slides downwards. An opening is left in the top of the case for accessing your nano’s hold switch, and another opening at the case’s bottom to access the headphone jack. The rest of the iPod is sheathed in clear polycarbonate, including the dock-connector port — if you have a number of dock-connector accessories, the Slyder is probably not your best option.
Inserting your iPod into the case is simple: You slide the bottom panel down; you’ll find that it “locks” if you slide it all the way, but if you push it up slightly, you can lift the panel upwards. You then slide your iPod in. Fortunately, the Slyder includes nicely illustrated instructions on how to do this.
As cool and novel as the sliding mechanism is, there are some issues. For one thing, the sliding mechanism feels flimsy; it’s reliant on four plastic nubs. Polycarbonate’s pretty resilient, but all it takes is one of these nubs to break for the case to become basically unusuable. The hold switch is difficult to use when the slider is down, since you can inadvertently push the nano out of the case. And since the notch in the case for the headphones is sized for the plug on Apple’s earbuds, those who use third-party headphones with larger plugs (especially L-shaped varieties) may have to unplug their headphones every time they want to use their iPod’s Click Wheel. Finally, those people who like to casually switch to the next track or adjust the volume without having to fiddle with their iPod may be annoyed by having to slide the panel up and down each time they want to do that.
The Slyder’s only accessory is a removable belt clip. The mount for the belt clip, which also works with other Marware accessories using their Multidapt system, is set on an adhesive base that you apply yourself. That adhesive is permanent once applied, so if you choose to put the base on, you won’t be able to remove it again; the upside of that is that it’s pretty unlikely to come off by accident. The base adds a little bulk to the svelte Slyder, but not too much. The belt clip itself feels solid and well made and slides on or off the base pretty easily.
The Slyder’s unique design will doubtless appeal to many, but the sliding mechanism may be more gimmick than greatness. Those looking for transparent hardshell alternatives sans slider should consider Mophie’s Relo Radura and Contour Design’s iSee nano V2.–Dan Moren