The Disko iPod Case

Griffin Technology

Price: $29.99

Ah, I love iPod cases. Each one seems to give new life to your iPod, or at the very least, it changes the personality of the iPod itself. A boring white iPod can look hip and fresh anew with a cool iPod case. And the hip and cool class of iPod cases is just what Griffin is going for with the new Disko.

The Disko brings what has always been missing to the iPod: flashing and chasing lights. I didn’t say you were missing this feature, just that the iPod was missing it.

This is a fun product, one that shows just how diverse the iPod market really is. It truly is the third-party developers of the iPod platform that has made the iPod what it is. The Disko, a Polycarbonate iPod case, does a decent job of actually keeping your iPod from getting scratched up. It is a two-piece iPod case, and ships with two different backs, one for the 30GB iPod, and one for the 60GB version. The front of the case is where all the action happens. It is a glossy-black in color, with tiny LED lights ringing the scroll wheel. The lights come in three colors, green, red, and blue, that flash in five different sequences.

Sound cool? It is, and it isn’t. While the LEDs look great in a darkened room, they are also easily seen in bright light. But the problem is not in the actual case itself, or the lights, which works fine as advertised; but in practice, this may be one of the worst ideas ever in iPod case design.

The iPod is built around an internal hard drive. Hard drives have very delicate moving parts. While they are generally okay walking around with, and even jogging, the practice of vigorously shaking your iPod is generally a bad idea. And that, I’m afraid, is where my problem lies with the Disko.

To activate the LEDs, you have to shake the case. In testing the review unit Griffin sent to us, I found that I had to shake the unit quite forcefully to get the lights to activate. Not good. I quickly decided to extract my iPod out of the case, as I honestly did not feel this was the healthiest of activities to put my iPod through.

The lights do not draw power from the iPod itself, but rather from two watch-type batteries from the bottom of the case. There is a clear plastic screen protector as well, allowing you to see the iPods screen very clearly. Ports at the top of the case allow easy access to both the headphone jack and hold button. Unfortunately, because the batteries are installed at the bottom of the case, you have to remove the iPod completely from the Disko to plug in the Dock connector. A real pain, as I found it quite difficult to take apart the Disko, as demonstrated during MyMac Podcast 102. For an iPod case that requires you to completely remove the iPod simply to charge it shows a lack of planning on the part of Griffin, something normally not the case with them. (As my forthcoming review of another Griffin iPod case, the very impressive CenterStage.)

All in all, the idea is a fun one, but the execution is sub-par, and potentially dangerous to your iPod. While I initially thought this would be a cool product appealing to younger iPod owners, the reality compels me to not recommend this case to anyone. Rating: 1 out of 5


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