XtremeMac MicroShield for Apple iPod

Quick Take: There are plenty of hard cases on the market, and each one is suited for different types of users. The MicroShield case for the Apple iPod ($24.95) from XtremeMac is targeted toward consumers who don't necessarily abuse their iPods but still need protection against minor scrapes and bumps. The case is split into front and rear shields that wrap themselves around the iPod, fully encasing the screen in hard plastic. Conveniently, you get unobstructed access to both the headphone jack and the dock connector. XtremeMac also includes a stick-on Click Wheel protector to use while the iPod is in the case.

Unfortunately, we had several issues with the case's design. First, since the two shields rely on the contours of the iPod to lock onto the case, we were a little nervous clipping the MicroShield to our belt. There's no locking mechanism to stop the case from accidentally getting split into three pieces. Second, we're concerned with the fact that both the top and bottom of the iPod are fully exposed. Sure, it's nice to be able to sync up your player without taking it out of the case, but with a name like MicroShield, we thought that the thing would at least encompass all six sides of our iPod.