I’ve reviewed more iPod silicone skin style cases than I care to remember or admit ;o) As a result, when a new company approaches me to review their skin case, I’m not all that excited about the prospect. ifrogz is a company that has sent me skins to review in the past. They actually offer one of the better products on the market in that genre, so my eyes didn’t immediately glaze over when I saw their email offer to review the Audiowrapz silicone case for the iPod nano 3G.
Made of 100% silicone, this case is available in 8 colors including Hot Pants Pink, Pink Panther, Neon Green, Mint, Red Ruby, Thick Black, Gun Metal and Aqua Blue. I was sent the Mint case to review.
In addition to the skin, there is an adhesive screen protector also included with the case.
Like prior skin cases that I’ve reviewed by iFrogz, this one is made of thick, flexible silicone. Bumpers on each corner provide additional protection in the event of a drop to a hard surface.
What sets this silicone skin case apart from others is the fact that it has speakers built into it. It’s also important to note that these speakers do not require batteries to power them as they are made using passive speaker technology, which doesn’t even draw extra power from the iPod.
Inside the case, you will find a slug connector that fits into the docking connector on the bottom of the nano and a 3.5mm stereo plug that mates with the earphone jack on the bottom of the nano.
Slide the nano into the case through the display cutout, seat it onto the connectors, pull the silicone corners into place and you’re ready to use it. Just pick a song, press play and you’ll hear music coming out of the three speakers built into the bottom of the case.
If you want to use your earphones instead of the speakers, just plug them into the connector at the base of the case. Yeah, I also noticed the raggedy earphone jack cutout… The other cutouts for the display and nav wheel are perfect. That said, I did find it a little harder to use the touch wheel due to the thickness of the silicone material around the cutout.
What about sound quality? Well, let’s think about this for a sec… First of all, these speakers are not powered by batteries. They are also small… pretty much the size of earbud speakers. That said, I wasn’t really expecting high fidelity sound quality and my expectations were not exceeded in that respect. I would compare the Audiowrapz speaker sound quality with a small FM radio. It performs best with songs that consist of one instrument (piano, guitar, etc.) and a vocalist. The more ‘stuff’ added to a song, starts to make the audio quality get a bit muddy and cluttery sounding.
As for the volume, I found that in a quiet room with no other background noise, that I needed to turn the volume level up to about 80-85% to achieve a comfortable listening level. At this level and even at 100%, it’s not going to blow you out of the room. If someone was in the next room, they probably wouldn’t even hear the music.
I mentioned above that if you want to listen to earphones, you can just plug them into the bottom of the case. That keeps you from needing to remove the nano form the case for that operation. Unfortunately, you will need to remove the player from the case in order to charge and sync. Kind of a shame since it would probably not have been a huge issue (other than added expense) to include a pass thru universal connector into the bottom of the case.
I’m not quite sure what the advantage of this product is over just using earbuds. The only thing I could see using it for, would be to demo tunes to your friends instead of letting them put your earbuds into their ears (yuck). Or maybe if you are so limited on space (dorm room?), that you would want to use this case to allow you to listen to music without earbuds. So what do you all think? Would you buy this case?