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TESTED: Otterbox oPod

nano

The oPod – safe and secure

iPods are one of the best training aids to hit cycling in a long while. Hours of boring Turbo work are made far less painful if you can plug in and chill-out. Obviously we would never suggest that listening to music out on the road is a good idea, but plenty of riders use music to train by and warm up for big events with some inspirational tunes.

However, the portable music players can be easily scratched and damaged and the biggest problem is what to do with it in bad weather or when you know you’re going to be out for hours. There are a variety of covers and cases out on the market, but none of them offer water proofing and drop protection, so you usually wrap the thing up in a freezer bag and hope for the best. Well this well designed rugged box the ideal solution. The oPod is an Otterbox protective case, which is waterproof, drop-proof, dustproof and sand-proof and can be used in wet conditions, even when submerged up to 3 feet. Otterbox make tough boxes for the military and professional camera crews – so they know their protection business well.

iPod

There’s a box for most iPod types

There is an oPod available to fit all the Video, Photo, 20Gb, Nano and Shuffle iPods. The cases are made from high impact polycarbonate, with a thin rigid polycarbonate membrane that allows the ClickWheel to remain fully functional and protected.

The OtterBox oPod Armband is ideal for securing your iPod during physical activities such as running, cycling, at the gym and even during swimming. We’ve found the best way is to keep it in a rear pocket and manage the cables by running them inside your jersey – the armband idea means a cable hangs around and can be a bit annoying.

So if you would like to use your iPod when riding but are concerned about exposing it to sweat, mud, the weather or knocks if you fall off your bike, then the oPod (with H2O waterproof headphones for the worst weather) could be for you.

The case features a built-in jack plug that allows the ipod to lock into the case and provide a sealed connection for the headphone jack, this is flexible so that the iPod jack socket doesn’t get forced. The lid is then secured with a snap shut clasp and the seals around the edges keep everything out.

Once installed the click wheel can’t be ‘tripped’ and so there’s no need to put the iPod on hold to keep your playlist uninterupted. This also means it’s easier to change tracks and adjust the volume without removing it from the case.

nano

The Nano simply slides into the oPod

The H20 Audio headphones (still testing them) feature: “high-fidelity speakers in a flexible, durable and fully waterproof headphone set. The neck-wrap ensures the headphones stay in place during activity, while the silicone earpieces adjust to create a comfortable, watertight fit for individual ears.” That’s what the blurb says – The headphones are especially good if you are particularly sweaty, but we’ve find them a bit tricky when fitting a helmet – A full test to follow.

oPods with H2O waterproof headphones packages are available, prices range from £39.99 for the oPod and headphones or from £69.99 for the oPod, headphones and armband (depending on your type of your iPod). The Nano case we’ve been using on it’s own was £24.98. Shuffle cases are £19.99 and standard iPods £29.99.

Visit www.ruggedpeak.com for a full range of similar ‘technology protection solutions’. There’s Otterboxes for PDAs and all sorts of practical applications too.

Verdict

OK so they may seem expensive, but not when compared to some ‘fashion’ cases without any features. In fact they aren’t the most pricey out there and they actually work (unlike the aluminium one we bought for a similar amount that only lasted three days…) so we’d say it’s excellent value.

Seeing as they are bomproof and sweat resistant and keeps your iPod in near new condition – they are a sound investment for the average clumsy cyclist – they can be carried without the worry of sweating into your iPod and dropping the thing. On the downside they do make the Nano a fair bit bulkier, but it’s still a fair bit smaller than a standard iPod. A neat solution.


good A ‘fit and forget’ protection device

bad Takes up a (little) more pocket space

value 9
overall 9


Additional Information

  • Loads of options to buy, from www.ruggedpeak.com


    oPod for standard iPod

    The back – with belt clip

    Snaps shut securely

    oPod for Nano

    The back – with belt clip

    Snaps shut securely too
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