For those who are serious about keeping their iPod in pristine condition, the best option is a hardshell case constructed of some tough, rigid material. Umbra’s Bungee Nano is a unique case for both the first- and second-generation iPod nanos that affords robust protection for your iPod, as well as access to most of its features.
Constructed from polycarbonate and aluminum, the Bungee nano is large: almost the size of a fifth-generation (5G) full-size iPod, though a bit thicker. The front of the case is a clear polycarbonate window with a circular cut-out for accessing your iPod’s Click Wheel. Most of the rest of the case’s body, except for the top and bottom caps, is made from aluminum. To get the iPod into the case, you pull off the top cap, which is secured to the body of the case by a pair of elastic cords, each embedded in one side of the case. Slip the nano in the foam-lined interior and the top snaps back on. The bottom of the case has a hole for plugging in your headphones and an opening for threading the included lanyard. (In our testing, the plug on a number of third-party headphones fit through this hole; however, if your headphones use an especially bulky plug, it may not fit.)
From a protection standpoint, the Bungee nano is an excellent case. Its hard shell and cushioned interior keeps the nano safe even from drops on hard surfaces. It would be nice to see some stronger shielding for the Click Wheel, which is exposed, but as the Click Wheel is recessed into the case, it’s not a serious problem.
Some might find the Bungee on the ugly side, and there’s no question that it adds substantial bulk to the otherwise svelte nano. While the latter is a tradeoff for the protection that the added size brings, they’re both a matter of personal preference. The fact remains, however, that the Bungee is an excellent case for a very reasonable price, and one well worth considering for those who prefer to keep their iPods well-protected.–Dan Moren