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    • It must be a lonely place to be considered David Bowie's worst album by just about everyone, including the artist himself. As the last album before Bowie "rebooted" and formed the band Tin Machine, "N
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In-Depth Review

Lili Mini & OtterBox: Waterproof Cases for iPod mini

As anyone who has ever spent time meticulously cleaning out fine grains of sand from their camera or has tested the compatibility of their cell phone with a toilet will tell you, the inherent problem with portable electronics is that their go-anywhere convenience compels you to take them places they sometimes don't belong.

Enter the Lili mini from Eroch Studios and the OtterBox for iPod mini from Otter Products. Both waterproof cases are designed to shield your iPod mini from virtually any environment you may subject it to, but the cases takes a slightly different approach to accomplishing their purpose.

The Lili mini encases the iPod mini in 2mm white hard plastic shell, lined with foam padding for cushioning and sealed with a compression clamp and rubber o-ring. The appearance is clean, simple, and effective, but in a set-it-and-forget-it fashion, the Lili mini prevents access to any of the iPod mini's controls.

The Lili mini and the OtterBox for iPod mini

The OtterBox for iPod mini employs a more complicated design. Rather than sporting a flip-top design, the top part of the clamshell-like case is connected to the bottom by a durable hinge and features a latch at the bottom for separating one from the other. It's a bit of a tight squeeze as the hinge allows an opening of less than three inches at its widest point.

The clip side of both cases

Unlike the Lili mini, the OtterBox offers full view of your iPod mini, including its screen and controls. The plastic membrane that covers the scroll wheel is thin enough to keep it functional and thick enough to keep the water out (rated for up to 1m of submersion). You'll have to apply a little more pressure than normal for the scroll wheel to pick up your thumb's movement.

Size wise, the Lili mini is a hair bigger in every dimension than the OtterBox, measured from the tip of Lili mini's lanyard ring (which the OtterBox lacks) to the bottom of its headphone connector. We dug the Lili mini's sleek plastics more than the OtterBox's more technical-looking appearance.

Both cases open

In deciding between the two cases, the deal breaker is most likely what value you place on being able to control your iPod mini while it's protected. If you don't mind a shuffle-esque experience, the Lili mini has you covered for $15 less than the OtterBox, at US$34.99 compared to $49.95, otherwise the OtterBox is where it's at.

On a side note, readers should be aware that neither case is rated for deep water use, taking scuba diving out of the equation. Also, neither company offers a guarantee for your iPod mini -- only for the case itself -- and you'll have to bring your own waterproof headphones.

Lili mini by Eroch Studios
List price: $34.99

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: sweet, simple design; included lanyard
Cons: no access to screen or controls

OtterBox for iPod mini by Otter Products
List price: $49.95 ($49.95 - Amazon)

Rating: 5 out of 5
Pros: access to screen and controls, removable belt clip, optional arm band ($14.95)
Cons: looks like NASA could have designed it for use on the moon

Just The Facts





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