Quick Take: These days, manufacturers are churning out so many models of protective cases that you wonder if quality is even an issue. With so much focus on aesthetics, many cases fall victim to the classic tale of premature production. Such is the story of the Speck Metal, a $25 case for the iPod Shuffle. Apparently the company was too focused on making the case as shiny as possible and overlooked its ability to function harmoniously with the Shuffle.

Simply getting your Shuffle in and out of the case is a hassle, as the user must first remove two tiny screws in the back of the case. Speck even includes a tiny screwdriver in the box. But come on, Speck--screws? What if we wanted to change cases or pull out our Shuffles in midstride? Granted, fashionistas may not care, but they should be concerned that the opening for the headphone plug is so far from the Shuffle's jack that only certain headphones will even connect properly--forget about L-shaped plugs entirely. It's thoughtful of Speck to include a matching silver cap to protect the USB plug, but we quickly realized that we weren't able to use other accessories that required the USB port, such as Griffin's TuneBuds, since the player isn't completely flush inside the case. The mirrored nickel-plated aluminum casing is a fingerprint magnet, so consumers that dislike the look of greasy fingerprints should look to other, more practical cases, such as DLO's Flip Clip or the Tunewear Icewear.