When you’re serious about protecting your iPod from bumps and scratches, you want to turn to a serious case, like one with the word “armor” in its name. Logic3’s Crystal Armour for the fifth-generation (5G) iPod with video is a pretty tough customer, and while it has a few shortcomings, it’s a case that ought to keep your iPod safe and sound.
Made from transparent polycarbonate, the Crystal Armour is a hinged hard case. To open it, you flip open the plastic clasp at the bottom of the case and then flip up the front of the case. Four rubber bumpers attached to the inside of the case cushion your iPod, while a rubber O-ring confers some degree of water resistance (the case is not submersible, though). The set of the bumpers that are installed in the case by default accommodate the 30GB 5G iPod — a smaller set are included to swap in for the 60GB and 80GB models. The only opening in the case is a small hole for your headphone plug and, in a thoughtful addition, Logic3 bundles a short extension cable for third-party headphones whose plugs might be too big for the opening. There’s also an attached lanyard.
The best touch (no pun intended) about the case is a flexible-rubber cover for the Click Wheel. It’s attached to the case, so there’s no chance of it popping out and getting lost, and it contributes to the case’s water resistance. While the various controls are marked, the only tactile marking is a small raised ring around the center button. The Click Wheel controls are very fluid and useable through the cover, and the membrane keeps the Click Wheel well-protected.
One downside to a case that’s as secure as this one is the lack of accessibility. Because the clasp is at the bottom, there’s no way to access the iPod’s dock-connector port without removing the iPod from case. And since the hinge is at the top of the case, there’s no way to activate the hold switch without taking the iPod out either, which is a little annoying if you accidentally bump the controls when your iPod is in your pocket.
Because of the case’s rugged nature, and the fact that it can be used with the thicker 60GB and 80GB iPods, the case itself is pretty hefty. It adds a fair amount of weight and girth to your iPod; enough so that it’s probably not a case for slipping into the pocket of your jeans.
I also take issue with the included lanyard. While the cord itself and its attachment to the case are pretty secure, I found that a strong yank while the lanyard was around my neck would disconnect the the lanyard’s plastic fasteners. Given the weight of a 5G iPod and the case together, it seems as though it wouldn’t take much force for them to come apart and your iPod to take an unfortunate spill.
Overall, the Crystal Armour for the 5G iPod is a pretty solid case. If you’re looking for rugged protection for your 5G iPod and don’t mind the lack of accessibility or a little added weight and girth, this case may be for you. –Dan Moren