Bella, Divo, IceSuit, Metro, and Sportivo cases for iPod nano (3rd Generation)
Price: Bella $29.99, Divo $29.99, IceSuit $19.99, Metro $29.99, Sportivo $29.99
The holiday decorations are put away, Macworld is over, and now it’s time to get down to buying a case for that new iPod nano that Santa left under the tree. December 2007 saw the arrival of Macally’s family of cases for the iPod nano: Bella, Divo, IceSuit, Metro, and Sportivo. Mirage and Masquerade were not yet available for review.
Metro is a hard leather holster that keeps the iPod in with a tight side grip. An opening at the bottom allows access to the ports and hold switch. The fit is tight for Apple’s earbuds and I was unable to connect Apple’s dock cable without removing the iPod. Headphones with larger grips on the plug end probably won’t fit.
The hard casing protects the sides and rear well, with a smooth inside that should prevent excessive scratching as long as sand or some other material doesn’t get in between. Metro looks and feels very good, but the fully open face is not at all protective. Macally supplies a stick on screen protector to provide some protection.
A detachable carabiner allows Metro to be clipped to a purse, backpack, or belt loop and an armband is also included. Metro was my least favorite as it provides no front protection and port access is too limited. If you are looking for a stylish case and aren’t too worried about front protection, Metro may work for you.
IceSuit has been updated for the new shorter, wider nano. It is a black silicone sleeve with orange trim and earbud storage on the back. The iPod is fully covered except for the screen opening, through which the iPod is inserted, and an opening for the ports and hold switch. Dock cables and headphones aren’t a problem, and connecting to Apple’s dock (with a larger insert) or many speaker systems shouldn’t be too difficult.
The covering is very protective and the click wheel works well through it. A stick on screen protector is provided. It feels good in the hand and shouldn’t slip on any surface. The only real drawback is the lack of any clip, belt, or lanyard. A nice extra touch is the included flyer showing how to wind your earbuds around the back.
IceSuit is also available for older nanos and the 5th generation full size iPod.
Bella has a stitched leather front with soft, clear plastic over the click wheel and display. The suede-feel polyurethane back panel stretches to fit the iPod and holds a carabiner. An opening at the bottom allows access to the hold switch and ports and the one at the top helps facilitate removing the iPod, which is necessary for accessories with a dock stand as the leather facing protrudes below the bottom of the iPod.
The backing is not very stretchy, and I found it difficult to get the iPod in and out. I also had some difficulty using the click wheel through the clear covering. On dry, static days the click wheel was very jumpy. There is no option for an armband and no lanyard, but the carabiner could easily be attached to any lanyard, belt loop, backpack, or purse.
Bella is also available for iPod touch.
Sportivo can be put on any detachable belt or strap or it can be used with the included armband or wristband. It has a stitched leather front over a neoprene casing with an opening at the bottom to insert the iPod and provide port and hold switch access. The bottom of the iPod is nearly flush with the opening and it should work with any headphones and most dock accessories in the case. A cutout provides access to the click wheel and the screen is protected by a soft, clear plastic covering.
The included armband and wristband are fully adjustable, held together with velcro. Unfortunately the velcro tends to snag the neoprene case when inserted or removed. If the straps are removed often this could eventually cause some nasty fraying. Of all the cases this one is the best choice for workouts with its choice of wristband or armband.
Divo is a leather case with a suede interior and rugged stretch nylon sides. On the back is a stretch nylon belt loop covered in leather that can also be used for earbud storage. The front provides a full soft, clear plastic covering over the screen, click wheel, and the area in between. Although not quite like the Bella, the clear plastic covering did make click wheel use a little harder.
The iPod slides in through the top, and the opening along the bottom has two clear plastic straps on either side of the dock connector. This holds the iPod in, but impedes access to the hold switch and could prevent non-Apple headphones from plugging in. Dock cables work fine, but the iPod must be removed to put onto a dock. Like the Metro, the open top could potentially allow sand to enter so care should be taken if you are worried about scratches.
Neck and wrist lanyards are included in addition the the aforementioned belt loop. Of these 5 cases I found the Divo best suited to my needs as it included a neck lanyard (although I wish it were a few inches longer) and the iPod was easy to remove to use with speakers.
Divo is also available for iPod classic.
All the cases except the Metro provide very good protection for the iPod and good usability with headphones and dock cable accessories. Each one is suited to different needs and the whole family provides an excellent variety of choices.
Bella – 3.5 out of 5
Pros: Looks good, good protection, and versatile clip.
Cons: iPod hard to get in and out, can’t dock, and click wheel use slightly impeded.
Divo – 4 out of 5
Pros: Many wearing options, good protection, and easy removal.
Cons: Bottom access slightly impeded and click wheel a little bit harder to use.
IceSuit – 4 out of 5
Pros: Looks good, feels good, protects good.
Cons: Must hold iPod or put in pocket.
Metro – 2 out of 5
Pros: Looks great.
Cons: No front protection. Could only plug earbuds in.
Sportivo – 4.5 out of 5
Pros: Many wearing options, great protection, and dockable.
Cons: Repeated strap removal will probably fray the rear casing.