PDair iPod Mini Silicone Case

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, January 2005, send e-mail
Manufactured by: PDair Workshop, go to the web site
Requires: iPod Mini
MSRP: UK£11.99 (approximately US$22.50, CAN$27.50)

So did I tell you I got an iPod Mini for Christmas? Well I did and I love it. Unlike a lot of my other gadgets, there are dozens of third party accessories to plug into and cover up your iPod Mini. My first foray into iPod Mini accessories is a silicone slipcase from PDair. These cases are made of colored silicone designed to stretch-fit over your iPod Mini. You might wonder why someone would want such a thing, but when you hold an iPod Mini in your hand or use it for any length of time, you start thinking about how expensive it was and suddenly develop the idea that it's worth protecting. The notoriously easy-to-scratch white body of the 2G, 3G and 4G iPods is absent on the Mini with its tougher aluminum shell. But having a case which provides a better grip and enough shock absorbing thickness to add physical protection is a great idea.

The silicone cases fit skintight to the iPod Mini and offer an attractive protective covering. I should tell you that originally I wanted a pink iPod Mini. No comments from the peanut gallery please. I'm a girl, I wanted pink, let’s leave it at that. Fortunately as it turns out, the local Best Buy didn't have a pink one, they only had silver ones left. Silver? Of all the colors available for the iPod Mini, that's the one I didn't want. However, silver is the perfect color when using one of these translucent silicone cases because the body of the Mini doesn't interfere or clash with the color of the translucent slipcover.

The cases come with a cardboard iPod Mini inside, and I had a hard time figuring how to get the thing out. There was no opening the paper could easily fit through and I had no faith that the silicone was strong enough to withstand being stretched. My stepson showed the obvious faith of youth and just stretched the inside edges of one of the case’s windows and yanked out the cardboard iPod, which gave us the big hint about how to get the case over the real iPod. These silicone cases are surprisingly strong. You would think that the material would tear, but it stretched easily over the Mini and just as easily morphed itself around the corners of the unit, stretched only slightly for a remarkably snug and secure fit.

It feels good. At first I thought the silicone would feel, well, rubbery, and it does, but there is no "yuck" factor. It feels very comfortable and very grippy. There are openings for all the iPod Mini’s ports, so there is no interference when plugging in your headphones or accessing the locking switch. Docking your iPod Mini does offer one disappointment, albeit an expected one. You can't use a docking station because the added thickness of the silicone makes the device too wide to fit. Use the docking cable instead.

For this review, PDair sent us an ice blue model with a separate neck strap. It was a bit of a chore getting the neck strap attached, but once installed, I had myself a very stylish iPod Mini necklace. The neck strap feature of this Silicone Case is really more of a fashion statement than it is a practical way to carry around your iPod. As expected, it flops around when you walk (never mind running) and unless you are a 15 year old, you look like a dork. I initially thought it would be great for the car. With my iPod hanging around my neck, I could access the thing without even looking. Unfortunately, because the iPod hangs upright when worn as a necklace with this case, its controls are oriented upside down. If I try to turn the iPod so I can see the controls properly, the cord around my neck is in the way and the unit is now so close to my face that even if I could see past the string, I can't focus on the display. Here’s hoping that future incarnations will have the neck strap attachment on the bottom of the unit so that the iPod is better oriented towards the user.

Besides the fact that I don't like the orientation of the neck strap I really like these things. I'm really happy that Best Buy was out of pink iPods because now I can have a different colored iPod anytime I want. The additional protection the silicone case offers is something I really appreciate. Recommended.

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