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  1-02-04 | This column originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle.


More Cool iPod Accessories and Cases…


By Bob LeVitus

As I promised on December 19th, here are other iPod accessories I found a cut above the rest:

Matias Corporation’s iPod Armor is a near-industrial strength hard-shell aluminum case with superior shock protection for your precious device, making it the perfect choice for active, athletic types as well as clumsy oafs like yours truly.

The rugged aluminum outer shell never comes into contact with your ‘pod—a layer of open-cell EVA foam acts as a shock-absorbing cushion on all sides. A piano-style aluminum hinge runs the width of the case and is solid as a rock.

And, since it totally surrounds your iPod, with only the top ports accessible, it’s less likely to be scratched or nicked.

At fifty bucks iPod Armor isn’t cheap. But if you are a skier, skateboarder, complete clutz, or other iPod-listening thrill seeker, it provides better protection than anything else I’ve seen.

I set aside my iPod Armor a couple of weeks ago to check out the new Xtremeity iPod Accessory System, which is half the price and makes a great choice if you don’t need armor-like protection. The high-strength LEXAN exterior case offers more-than-adequate protection for less vigorous iPod users.

But unlike most other iPod cases, this one doesn’t have a post sticking out of its back for hanging it on a belt clip or dash mount, so it lies perfectly flat. Instead, it’s got two recessed channels on its back—the SecurSlide™ system—for connecting accessories including the flip-up, ClearShield faceplate, swiveling belt clip, and low-profile dash mount (all included with the system).

I stopped using my old iPod case as well as a cell phone holster because they had big, honking posts sticking out of their backs, and wouldn’t lie flat on my desk. XtremeMac’s SecureSlide system is brilliant and ever-so welcome. (I hope my cell phone holster-maker licenses it soon ‘cause I’m getting tired of carrying my phone in my pants pocket.)

Next up is the Voice Recorder, from Belkin, a tiny device that plugs into your iPod and lets you record memos, lectures, interviews, conversations, Phish concerts, or whatever. You can store hundreds of hours of audio on even the smallest ‘Pod, and it even has a tiny built-in speaker, so you can review your recordings without headphones or a computer.

The quality of the recordings is nothing to write home about, and playback through the miniscule speaker is equally mediocre, if you want to record voice notes using your iPod, it’s good enough, and cheaper than buying a separate voice recorder.

Last, but certainly not least, we have iCleaner and iCleaner Pro. iCleaner is a non abrasive, alcohol free liquid that removes small scratches from the plastic of your iPod (and/or white plastic iBook). iCleaner Pro includes an advanced polish so powerful it can remove the scratches and swirls from the metal back of your iPod without harming the laser engraving, and can also be used on deep scratches in white plastic surfaces of iPods or iBooks.

You need to apply quite a bit of elbow grease, and may have apply one or both products several times, but both products performed as promised, removing most (if not all) of the small and deep scratches (and there were many) from my old iPod in less than an hour.

If your ‘Pod (or iBook) is scratched up, this stuff can probably fix it.

iPod Armor. S.R.P. $49.95. Matias.

Xtremeity iPod Accessory System. S.R.P. $29.95.

Voice Recorder S.R.P. $59.99

iCleaner Scratch Remover. S.R.P. $17.00.
iCleaner Pro Scratch Remover. S.R.P. $25.00.

Bob LeVitus is a leading authority on Mac OS and the author of 41 books, including The Little iTunes Book and Mac OS X for Dummies, 2nd Edition. E-mail comments to [email protected].

Copyright © 2003 Bob LeVitus

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