Review: iSkin Claro
After being around for five years, the iPod case has pretty much been made in every way possible. There are leather cases, cases with flip-covers, silicone cases, hard plastic cases, and plenty others. iSkin did something pretty radical with the Claro case for the Fifth-Generation iPods—they combined hard plastic and silicone.
The Claro sells for $40, which is a tad on the expensive side, but you get a case that takes the best of two worlds and even adds a bit of personalization. The outside shell is clear, hard, scratch-resistant plastic, much like cases from Griffin, XtremeMac, and Contour Design. Inside the shell is a removable silicone sleeve for the iPod itself, that provides a bit of shock-absorbtion. This way, you can screen protection and a bit of “give” when using the case.
Claro Slims (and Front Sliding Off)
The outer shell of the Claro is a two-piece unit: the front slides off and on to allow access to the iPod. The back of the case features a non-removable belt clip that also features a flip out “leg” that allows the iPod to stay upright to watch videos. Speaking of the outer-shell, it is amazing in terms of scratch-resistance. After a few weeks of use, it still looks brand new, even after being tossed into a bag with some other stuff and put in pockets. Furthermore, it allows access to every port and control on the iPod without any hinderance. The only thing to be aware of is that fatter headphone connectors will be impossible to use, but it’s still a little forgiving compared to some cases.
The inner component of the case is much like any other silicone sleeve, except thinner—much thinner. It covers the iPod almost entirely, including the scroll wheel. Included with the “base” Claro is a frosted clear silicone sleeve. You can purchase additional ones (called Claro slims) from iSkin in sets for either $20 with the Claro or $25 without. Each set includes three additional sleeves (The Cruiser Pack has Blaze Red, Prince Purple and Blush Pink and the Chill Pack has Ebony Black, Sonic Blue and Ghost White glow in the dark).
Although we didn’t notice it on ours, others have reported that some of these have tiny rips at the corners. Since the silicone is rather thin, it’s just something to be aware of. The nice thing about these are that you can use the iPod in an Apple iPod dock with them still on.
If you buy the alternate silicone sleeves, it also allows you to turn a white iPod into a black one and vice versa. This is kinda nice if you decide to have it with other headphones and keep it matching.
As mentioned earlier, the iSkin Claro’s belt clip is non-removable, but fairly competent. It doesn’t add too much bulk to the case, and if it is something that would bother you, perhaps you should look into the iPod nano. Different versions of the Claro are available for the different thicknesses of video iPods, so owners of the 30GB model won’t need to use some sort of spacer or something else.
Overall, the iSkin Claro is a really good case, mixing a few components of other cases, while providing adequate protection and functionality. Although the price is a bit high for an iPod case, it does the job well. We would’ve liked to have seen the case come with a few extra slims at that price or just a lower price, however.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The iSkin Claro is a unique case, taking ideas from previous iSkin cases and adding a bit of personalization if you’re willing to spend the extra cash.
Pros: Virtually scratch-proof, can change colors with Claro slims, protects iPod very well, belt clip features a stand
Cons: Pricey, silicone very thin