IPod Touch Case Roundup: Two Grips and a Shade

Back in May I took a look at three silicon skins for the iPod touch. This week, I have three more skin-like cases that offer snug protection for your iPod touch.

Griffin FlexGrip

The back of the silicone FlexGrip is covered with big and small nubs to give the skin better grip. Just by holding it in my hands, the FlexGrip doesn't seem to have any more traction than the ArmorSkin (reviewed below). But on a car dashboard or a desk, the FlexGrip seems to hold a bit more. A tiny bit more.

All skins attract lint, and the FlexGrip is no exception. But the nubs add a new dimension to lint cling. Lint can get caught between the nubs, making it difficult to remove any lint with just your finger. I've found that the best way to clean a lint-covered skin is to remove the iPod touch and hold the empty skin under running water. This works with the FlexGrip.

During my testing, the FlexGrip held up well with everyday use. The Home button is covered, which muffles the tactile feedback a little bit, but overall, the FlexGrip is a good skin at a good price. A single black/gray case is available for US$15; a two-pack which includes a black/red skin and a clear/white skin is available for $20. The FlexGrip includes a clear plastic screen protector and a non-scratch cleaning cloth.

ShadesCases Shades for iPod Touch

At $17, the Shades for iPod touch is an affordable polyurethane case that completely covers the iPod touch, and the covering over the screen is clear and doesn't hinder your finger tapping. The polyurethane itself is thin, yet quite durable and provides good protection.

While the screen cover helps keep your iPod touch screen in top shape, it has a couple of drawbacks. The first is that the polyurethane is shiny and it can create glare, especially on a sunny day. The second is that air bubbles can get caught between the polyurethane and the screen, resulting in unsightly though minor distortions on anything on screen--I found it very annoying, especially when showing off pictures in the iPod touch's Photo Album. During my testing, I spent 10 minutes each morning for two weeks, trying to get the air bubbles out, either by refitting the iPod touch, cleaning the screen, cleaning the Shades, or a combination of all three. Nothing worked.

The Shades have an opening for the dock-connector port and headphones, and the Shades are so thin and fit so tightly to the iPod touch that they don't hinder any connection to a dock, so you can leave it on without any usability problems.

If you want a case that offers full protection, handles everyday wear well, and adds a minimal amount of bulk, the Shades could be for you. However, I found the screen glare and air bubbles annoying enough that I would use a Shades case only occasionally.

Speck ArmorSkin for iPod Touch

The ArmorSkin for iPod touch is a lot like the ArmorSkin For iPhone. It has the same thick skin with a block texture that adds a little bit of padding and grip. And it also covers the Home button, which protects the button from wear and tear, but also muffles the tactile feedback of pressing the button.

The major difference between the ArmorSkin for iPod touch and the one for the iPhone is that the iPod touch version doesn't come with a belt clip. Personally, I don't think this is a bad thing; I'm not into the utility belt look. But perhaps you are, and if so, more power to ya.

The ArmorSkin for iPod touch feels nice, is durable, and suitable for everyday use, though at $30, it's a little on the pricey side. It also comes with a clear plastic screen protector, and is available in black, white, or camo.

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