Sep 012008
 

Gadget lovers know OtterBox for its name-giving OtterBoxen, which are extremely sturdy, waterproof boxen that can be used to transport and protect small electronic devices. However, the company has recently begun to offer cases for devices…can their Defender stack up?

OtterBox cases ship in special yellow blisters that have a strange lab or construction-site touch:
0a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review 0b OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

A small “manual” is included with each case:
1a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

Getting the iPod Touch into the case is a funny procedure – first, the PVC cover is removed from the “skeleton”. The skeleton is then torn apart, the iPod touch is inserted. Afterwards, the process is “undone” – which leaves you with the iPod inside the case:
2a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review 2b OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

The iPod remains perfectly functional while in the case – the screen can be controlled through the thin PVC layer with ease. A cutout makes hitting the home button fun:
3a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

The power button can be pressed, too:
4a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

Ports are covered by flip lids that must be pulled “off” before something can be plugged in – the images below demonstrate what I mean:
5a OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review 5b OtterBox defender for iPod touch   the review

In the end, the OtterBox Defender makes an excellent and very sturdy case that will definitely protect your iPod touch from drops and scratches. If the case would also be waterproof, it would be perfect. As it is now, it nevertheless is great – the price of just 30$ makes this an absolute steal and must-have if you can live with the slightly bigger size.

Jul 312008
 

I stumbled across UNIEA at last year’s Hannover-based CeBit fair. The manufacturer’s excellent PR team agreed to provide me with samples immediately. They are the new kid on the block – but can their stuff stack up? Our first test candidate is a “crystal case” called U-Feel…read on for the full test.

UNIEA’s products ship in small blister cases that protect the stuff well – my samples arrived unscratched:
0a UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review 0b UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review

The case ships with a belt clip that can be attached to the back. I personally dislike these due to the higher risk of theft – people who feel like taking the risk will be happy as the clip appears to be pretty sturdy:
1a UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review

Getting the iPod touch into the case is easy. First, the case is pulled apart. Then, the iPod is inserted into the front part. Finally, the “lid” is slid onto the case:
2a UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review 2b UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review

The iPod touch remains perfectly usable in the case. The case’s front contains a “screen protector” that covers the screen. I tortured my iPod quite a bit and found the screen to remain perfectly responsive. A small cutout allows you to access the home button:
3a UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review

Cutouts at the top and the bottom allow you to sync, attach headphones and use the power button:
4a UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review 4b UNIEA U Feel case for iPod touch   the review

In the end, the U-Feel is an excellent case for people owning an iPod touch – if you like crystal cases, there is nothing not to like about this one. It offers decent protection and doesn’t get in your way – the zen of cases… The only issue I see availability – as the UNIEA online store isn’t ready yet, you need to find a distributor close to you via their distributor finder