Gamila’s Mila Bikini case is a minimalist attempt at protecting your first- (1G) or second-generation (2G) iPod nano. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as chic as its namesake, and it leaves about as much of the nano’s skin unprotected as the case’s name would seem to imply.
The polyurethane case, which comes in either orange or white, protects mainly your nano’s screen behind a clear, flexible window. The nano’s Click Wheel and most of its body, other than a small “foot” at the bottom, are left exposed. You slip the nano into the screen-protection portion, then pull the “foot” around the bottom of the nano. Your nano’s dock-connector port, headphone jack, and hold switch are all left accessible. A round stem protrudes from the back of the case and has a small hole for attaching one of the three attachments that comes with the Mila: a headphone cord spool, a car vent clip, and a lanyard. There’s also a hole for attaching another accessory in the case’s lower back, so you can attach, for example, the headphone spool and lanyard at the same time. Although you can connect Apple’s dock-connector cable to your nano while it’s in the case, if you want to put the iPod in a dock cradle, you’ll have to remove the bottom portion of the case.
Of the included accessories, the most interesting is the car vent clip, which is designed to clip onto the louvers of your car’s air vents. It’s probably not something you’d want to do in the dead of winter when you have the heat cranked on full, but it’s a clever way to get the iPod out of the way. The headphone spool is functional, but large and clunky, and the lanyard is a non-adjustable, “one size fits all” affair.
Though the flexibility of accessories is nice, the various options, along with the minimalist case itself, make the Mila feel a bit ungainly, with odds and ends sticking out of every end. It’s true that the Mila protects the iPod’s most delicate component, the screen, but the rest of the iPod is left more or less vulnerable, and for those seeking a pleasant aesthetic look, there are more complimentary options. And while the company boasts compatibility with both 1G and 2G iPod nanos, the Mila Bikini was clearly designed for the 1G nano. Even the catalog text for the Bikini reads “Optimized for 1st Generation iPod Nano, but works fine for the just released 2nd Generation Nano if you stretch the bottom just a hair around some headphone cords.” In my experience, it fits pretty well on the 2G nano, but those with thicker headphone plugs may find they have to do some adjusting.
The Mila is certainly a unique-looking case, but its protective features fall a bit flat by leaving so much of the nano exposed. Furthermore, given that the Mila is presumably designed for its looks, much of the case feels like an afterthought, like the protruding stem at the top. There are plenty of other cases that look better than the Mila and will better protect your nano to boot.