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In-Depth Review

Metal iPod Protection for iPod shuffle

Speck Products' new Metal iPod Protection (Metal) promises "maximum" protection for your iPod shuffle. The claim probably isn't far off the mark, as the Metal case shield yours shuffle with about 2mm of polished aluminum, but the fit and finish needs more attention.

Metal employs a two-piece design connected with two small phillips screws to protect the body of your iPod shuffle. This part of the case is well done: the machining of the aluminum is fantastic with tight tolerances all around. Speck even includes a mini screwdriver to save you the trouble of finding your own.

It's Metal's cap leaves much to be desired, however. Unlike Apple's iPod shuffle caps that feature tensioned roller-balls to give you that secure feel and pleasant snap, the Metal simply uses two round metal notches to clip itself to the iPod shuffle's USB connector. The result is a slightly loose fitting cap that's a little more eager to remove itself than I'd like. It's unfortunate that the body's bullet-proof design is coupled with a cap that wiggles so easily.

The Metal case also features one glaring shortfall that Speck doesn't warn you about: dressed in Metal, the iPod shuffle's headphone connector becomes recessed by about 4mm. Coupled with the original headphones or other straight-jack designs this isn't a problem, but the design totally keeps L-shaped mini jacks out of the running (or other accessories, like Bluetooth and FM transmitters that have a jack designed to leave the body flush with the device its connected to).

The Metal's polished aluminum looks super posh, but suffers the same shortcomings as the backs of full-sized iPods, meaning it's a thumbprint magnet and quite susceptible to scratching. There's a touch of irony in shielding your iPod shuffle in a polished aluminum case when plenty of people invest in cases for full-size iPods partly to preserve the shiny aluminum back.

Speck's Metal iPod Protection for iPod shuffle

Just The Facts

Pros:Well-constructed body, still allows iPod shuffle to plug into USB ports

Cons:Cap is loose fitting and needs improvement, design is incompatible with L-shaped mini jacks

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