Review: Pelican 1030i

by on December 22, 2005

We’ve reviewed our fair share of iPod cases—some were designed to completely encase your iPod, while others were simply slipcases or pouches. What we haven’t tested is a waterproof case, and Pelican’s 1030i has been a real treat—well, because we got to get creative with our tests…

Unlike many other cases, the 1030i is not designed for you to use when listening to your iPod. Think of it as the armored briefcase for laptops that gets the iPod and its accessories to the destination in one piece. While other cases are designed to be iPod cases and only offer protection of a few feet underwater and limited shock protection, the 1030i lets you take your iPod anywhere.

Pelican 1030i
1030i (open)

Pelican 1030i
1030i + iPod

Pelican 1030i
1030i (closed)

Available in yellow or white, the 7.5″ by 3.9″ by 2.4″ polycarbonate case is a lot bigger than most iPod cases. Upon opening it, a few compartments are revealed—one for the iPod itself (it fits large iPods and minis, nanos and shuffles can sit in the case, but could bounce around), one for a cable, one for the AC adapter, and one for headphones. Of course, you could fit things in any way you want. The iPod itself sits in the lining of the case—a thick layer of molded rubber. This provides a decent level of shock-protection and also keeps the case waterproof up to 30 feet.

Everything fits quite well in the case, but cramming too much into the headphone (earbuds or canalphones actually) compartment could result in the iPod’s Click Wheel getting pressed and you might end up with a dead battery at your destination. Because of this, we’re suggesting that you always use the hold switch.

The case itself is tough. Closing it causes the rubber lining to seal the innards of the case from the elements. We tested it by leaving it underwater for a half hour (it floats, so it had to be held down), throwing it around in the snow, and just dropping it from a few feet here and there. For the first two tests, the case was iPod-less as we wanted to see if there was any leakage. There wasn’t, and the iPod didn’t move in the third test. The case does feature an automatic pressure/purge valve to equalize air pressure at higher altitudes and keep the water out when it is underwater. This also means that it protects against the weather -10° to 200° F.

Finally, there is a strap that attaches so you can keep your iPod on your belt or secured to something else. It also includes a lifetime warranty, so if you can figure out a way to break it…well, never mind.

Overall, the 1030i does what it’s supposed to—protect your iPod and other gear. It is a bit on the bulky side for an “everyday” iPod case and does not let you actually use your iPod, but for those who need that extra bit of armor, this might be the right product.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The Pelican 1030i protects your iPod very well, and offers room for all those cool little accessories.

Pros: Reasonably priced for a good iPod case, durable, waterproof, has room for accessories

Cons: Bulky, can’t use iPod when in case

The Facts

4.5/5Product: 1030i
Company: Pelican (distributed by Dr. Bott)
Platform: iPod (1 2 3 4 5 M)
Price: $39.95

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