Review: Matias iPod Armor

by on July 19, 2005

Matias, the Canadian maker of specialized keyboards, high-quality Mac keyboards, and laptop cases, has also become known for their iPod Armor, a product that was originally designed for the early iPods, but has evolved into something that is compatible with all full-size iPods.

The iPod Armor is exactly what its name suggests—a very tough, durable case for your iPod. Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, this case is one of the toughest on the market, protecting your iPod from everyday bumps, as well as more extreme damage. The iPod Armor trades off the ability to access the iPod’s screen and controls for having a very sturdy and secure case.

iPod Armor
iPod Armor (Open)

iPod Armor
iPod Armor (Closed)

iPod Armor
iPod Armor (Back)

iPod Armor
Armor Clip

iPod Armor
Dock Connector

At $40, the iPod Armor is a bit more expensive than many other cases, but if you put your iPod through a lot, it might be what you need. The case features a clamshell design, where the hinge is near the bottom. Although not tough to open, the lid won’t open on its own. Most people will choose to use the iPod Armor with an inline remote (like the one from Apple), or set their iPod up the way they want to listen to it and leave it alone.

The inside of the case is lined with soft, black foam rubber, which will not only protect the iPod from scratching, but also absorb shocks. Putting the iPod in the case isn’t hard, but you have to do it a certain way to avoid problems—put the top in first and then press the bottom down. Some force is required for certain iPod models. This is intentional so that they will not move around in this one-size-fits-all case.

At the bottom of the case, there is a rubber plug that covers up the dock connector hole. The top of the case is plastic and has a little tab for the lid to latch on to. There are two cutouts in the top for the headphone jack, hold switch, and the FireWire port found on older iPods. Since this case is universal, Dock Connector-equipped iPod owners might be annoyed about this unprotected spot, but it’s only a minor tradeoff for the fact that this case works with all of the models.

Unlike many other cases, the iPod Armor does not work with any third-party accessories that we’ve tried. Top-mount ones don’t work, nor does any that are much bigger than the Apple-supplied Dock Connector cable.

Also included is the Armor Clip, an adhesive metal and plastic belt clip nub that attaches to the back of the case, and a sturdy black plastic belt clip that securely latches to the nub. We liked the choice of making the belt clip and nub completely optional, unlike many cases that still leave a nub attached. An extra is available from Matias for $10.

Our test model was the 3G version, which is identical to the current one in every way except for the debossed “buttons” on the front. Both models can be used with all iPods, despite the names. Matias is getting rid of their 3G inventory, so you can pick one of these up for around $20. These cases used to retail for $50.

The iPod Armor is probably the most durable case on the market, and should last you quite a long time, even if you upgrade your iPod to something new. It looks good, protects well, and is only a bit more expensive than many cases.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The iPod Armor is made to be the most protective case for iPods, and is worth the extra money over other cases.

Pros: Tough, high-quality materials, well-made, belt clip completely optional, works with all regular iPods
Cons: Blocks access to certain accessories, accessing screen and controls is tough, adds some bulk to thin iPods

Rating: 8/10

The Facts

Product: iPod Armor
Company: Matias
Platform: iPod (1 2 3 4)
Price: $39.95 ($19.95 for 3G model)

This post has been filed in iPod, Mobile Devices, Reviews