iSkin Exo2

iSkin Exo2

Written by Charlie Sinhaseni on 12/10/2003 for PC  

It seems today that the biggest fad with iPod owners is these gel-based housing solutions. There are a number of them available on the market but are any of them really worth purchasing? Today we try to answer that question by examining one of the most popular products on the market, the iSkin Exo 2 from iSkin. Based off of the high-selling Exo, the Exo2 adds a few new features into the mix that make the case much easier to use, but this doesn’t necessarily make the case all that better. Some of the new additions sound pretty good in theory but there are plenty of design flaws that make this case difficult to recommend.

Available from http://www.iskin.com/, the device retails for $29.99 and is available in four different colors: Sonic (Electric Blue), Carbon (Black), Arctic (White) and Ebony (Black). Each of them is available in two sizes to accommodate to the different iPod sizes currently available on the market. If you’re planning on ordering make sure that you pick the right case for your iPod or you may end up with a case that’s too large or too small to use.

Before you can use the Exo2 you’ll have to do a bit of assembly work. Essentially this just requires you to attach the rear-mounted REVO belt clip and the newly added wrist strap. The procedure is rather painless and can probably be completed by a five-year-old child. In a nice bit of foresight you can select to install the belt strap for either vertical or horizontal mounting. I found the stainless steel construct to be sturdy enough for all my needs and was actually suitable for usage during sports. However, there have been some instances where people are reporting that the clip is becoming loose. iSkin has acknowledged this and offers a free replacement for anyone who is experiencing such problems. Next you’ll have to insert the actual iPod into the case. This is done via the opening for the screen on the top portion of the unit. Instead of opening up like some of the other solutions out there you’ll have to stretch the case a bit in order to wrap it around your iPod. Afterwards you attach the included screen protector and you’re ready to go.

In comparison to the other gel-based cases out there the Exo2 utilizes the strongest and most appealing compound. It feels very rubbery yet it seems strong enough to sustain some shock if I were to inadvertently drop my unit from small heights. It also feels very nice to the touch and makes the device much easier to hold and grip. One of the problems with the material is that it’s a huge dust, lint and hair magnet. I managed to attract a plethora of pocket lint from having the unit in my pocket for about three hours. Removing the lint was a painful process that required the use of a pair of tweezers to extract each individual piece. My only solution for this is to keep the unit in the clear plastic case that it ships in but then again, doing so kind of negates the look and style of the case and renders the device useless.When it comes to functionality it doesn’t really get any better than this. Although the device covers your entire iPod it leaves openings so that you can have convenient access to the four face buttons and the scrollwheel. What I really appreciated about the openings was that they were large enough to accommodate my fingers yet small enough to keep the device looking very clean and sleek. All of the openings are beveled so that it gives you the impression that you’re pressing down on a button as opposed to running your finger over a heat-sensitive pad. Like most of the other cases out there the outline of the scrollwheel gives your finger a nice guide for when you’re scrolling through your massive playlist. Like the first Exo there are openings on the top and bottom of the case to accommodate for the headphone, Firewire and Hold functions.

A new addition to this model is the wrist strap, a nice idea but one that ultimately disappoints. Unless you’ve got small little girly hands like John you’ll have a difficult time using it. I had to struggle to get my hand through the small opening of the strap and it was really tight around my wrist, to the point where it left a red mark when I took it off. Had the strap been adjustable the feature might be more functional but as it stands it’s pretty difficult for anyone with moderate to large hands to use.

Perhaps the largest advertised addition is the new screen guard which is supposed to shield your screen from scratches. Before putting the case on I made sure that my screen was devoid of scratches just to see how well the protector worked. After just a day’s use my screen had a plethora of scratches on it, all of which I conclude came from the outer screenguard scratching against my actual screen. I don’t know about you but I take great pride in keeping my device in pristine shape, these tiny scratches have pretty much marred what used to be a flawless iPod. Another problem with the screen protector is that the top left corner of it says iSkin and conceals a small portion of your viewing area. For me it was a bit distracting as it ruined the unit’s very clean and sleek look.

It’s not all bad though, especially if your screen already contains a number of scratches. The Exo2 does an excellent job of beefing up the unit’s look by adding its own unique blend of style and flair. It isn’t really all that great when it comes to protecting the unit but it’s perfect for anyone who is looking to draw more attention to their device. If you simply must own a gel-based housing solution then look no further than the iSkin Exo2, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.
It looks pretty nice but some major design flaws and an unserviceable screen protector make this one much more style than functionality. A good purchase if you’re looking to enhance the unit’s appeal without spending too much cash, just don’t expect it to take care of your screen though.

Rating: 7.6 Above Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.

It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.

It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.

When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."

As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.

When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.

Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile

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