Danls92 Reviews: Shades Skin/Case (1st Generation) Please Register or Log in to view images Introduction: What I'm going to be reviewing is the Shades 1G case/skin. It is an polyurethane skin type thing that slides over the iPod for a snug fit. How I Review: This review is broken up into 3 major categories (Design Overview, Protection Supplied, and Misc. Comments) with a final wrap-up at the end. I have never liked the method of reviewing involved the arbitrary assigning of numbers to quantitatively express a feeling because it is so subjective. Due to this, I will not be giving my opinions a numerical value, instead I will be using the words excellent, good, neutral, bad, and horrible. For a brief description of what each means: Excellent- Either perfect or just barely missing it. Something will receive an excellent rating if it is the best it could possibly be. Good- Possible to improve, but by no means bad. This is the verdict I would give something that is good for what it is, but has several things holding it back. Neutral- Neither good nor bad, I don't have any strong feelings. If I feel ambiguous about something it would receive this rating. Bad- The unfavorable outweighs the favorable aspects. If something is not well designed, or poorly implemented this is what I would rate it. Horrible- Unacceptably poor. If something impedes the thing it is meant to assist, or is completely useless I would say this about it. 1) Design Overview The shades skin/ case (for the ease of writing this review I'm going to refer to it as a skin from this point on) is unique in that it is designed to slide over your iPod an provide the merits of both a skin and a case. It is much thinner than most cases (only about a mm thicker than the iPod itself on every side) and not as lint attractive or "cheap" feeling as many silicone skins. The entire case is covered in a sort of speckled design that is in the case rather than on other side, so both sides of it are smooth. While this looks rather impressive on the back of the iPod, on the front it makes it hard for somebody like me who is very particular about a clean screen. One thing that I haven't mentioned is that the case also covers the screen so that the iPod's display is protected from scratching when in your pocket or other storage place. It is thick enough to keep the screen out of harms way but not so much so that it interferes with your ability to control items on the screen. The skin's low profile makes it possible to keep it on while with using it with a wide variety of accessories. It also comes in a variety of attractive colors so that you can choose one that best fits your style/mood/shoes. Overall, it is pretty good but there were a few glaring flaws that really stood out to me. First and foremost, if I wanted to watch a video with this skin on, the "speckled" effect on the front would force me to remove the skin which is really something that should not have to be done. Additionally, the home button imprinted on the case didn't match up to the home button on the iPod, which while not a vital problem, is irksome enough. Rating: Neutral Conceptually, this case is pretty fantastic but there are those little things that really prevent me front recommending it all out. If you just want a sleek looking skin to slide in and out of your pocket and you don't especially care about a pristine screen, this is the skin for you. Otherwise, I would be inclined to direct you to a different product. 2) Protection Supplied Traditionally, cases have always been the more rugged in the battle between skins and cases, with skins geared more towards preventing pocket-wear and scratches. The Shades skin upholds this tradition. While its low profile makes pocket storage more comfortable, I wouldn't feel comfortable myself when doing any more than sitting on a bus or listening to it around the house. I get the impression that if the iPod was subjected to a fall from any height it would still take the brunt force of the blow rather than it being absorbed as most cases would at least partially do. However, the case also provides somewhat of a better grip than the iPod itself, so it can go a ways towards preventing a fall. However, in terms of scratches and scrapes this case does beautifully. The folks over at Shades Cases sent me a couple so I had the opportunity to try scratching one, and these things can really take a beating. Nothing short of a razor (and if you have one floating around your pocket, you probably have bigger problems than a scratched iPod) could make a mark on them. The one feature that I love (at least protection-wise, to see my qualms with it see the above section) is that it protects the screen. It's imperviousness to scratching goes a long way towards assuaging my fears of keys and various rough objects. Rating: Good While this case isn't going to take much of a beating, I get the impression that it wasn't meant to. If you are looking at this case, you know what you are getting into protection-wise, and if you are ok with a more skin/case that's much more skin than case then you'll be just fine with it. Still, it would have been nice for something advertised as equal parts skin and case to provide some more protection. 3) Misc. Comments Figured I would just promote one thing about the company that I really liked here. They are really trying their hardest to promote a environmentalism and are an exceptionally green company. The skins came in simple little pouches in order to cut back on packing materials, and both the packaging and skin itself are 100% recyclable. Rating: Excellent More companies should follow their lead. 4) Overall Rating: Good There are a few design flaws that tainted the whole experience, but overall these skins are pretty decent. They don't quite provide the protection a case should, and at $17 they are slightly pricey (buy one get one free for the time being). I don't think that this is the be-all end-all of iPod Touch skins, but it definitely isn't a regrettable purchase.