Review: iSkin Claro and Claro slims - Macenstein

Review: iSkin Claro and Claro slims

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

claro iskin

When looking to protect your iPod, the type of case you choose depends entirely on how you use your iPod. Starting with the 5th generation of iPods, Apple added video capabilities to the iPod line, and video iPod owners who actually use the video capabilities of their iPod will find no better case than the Claro from iSkin.

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Above: The Claro with the “Prince Purple” Claro slim.

The Claro is a combination of two of the more popular types of iPod cases out there; the hard case, and the silicone sleeve case. First, the Claro’s frosted white, ultra-thin silicone sleeve (called a Claro slim) snugly envelopes your iPod, adding a scratch-resistant shield that also provides a small amount of shock absorption should you drop the iPod. iSkin sells various colors of Claro slims in packs of 3 which allow you to change the look of your iPod depending on your mood (more on that later). The silicon sleeve allows for complete access to all ports as well as the hold switch, and even covers the click wheel without hampering tactile response. The sleeve is thin enough that the iPod can still fit in an Apple Dock, however some iPod accessories with dock cradles are too tight for the iSkin sleeve (you can in some cases work around this by using a different cradle adapter meant to accommodate a “fatter” iPod, like the 4th gen models. This worked in iHome’s line of iPod alarm clocks for instance).

The one thing the sleeve does NOT do, however, is add any protection to your iPod’s screen, which is perhaps the part of the iPod users are most worried about scratching. That’s where the hard Claro’s case comes in.

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Above: The Claro’s kick stand is one of its stand-out features.

I must say, I am very impressed with the Claro’s hard case, as it provides everything I have been looking for in a video iPod case. First, the case looks great. I sort of equate the clear acrylic aesthetics to Plasticsmith’s mini Tower for the Mac mini, of which I am also a fan. Second, it weathers abuse very well. You’d really have to want to scratch the case to do so. The hard case covers the entire iPod except for the click wheel (which as mentioned above is covered by the silicone sleeve). As with the sleeve, all the iPod’s ports are open and accessible, so putting the iPod on “hold” or charging the iPod via a cable is possible without removing the iPod from the case. The hard case does add some bulk to your iPod, however, so using the iPod in any dock-compatible 3rd party speaker system or peripheral is most likely out of the question when inside the hard case. By way of comparison, I’d say the hard case makes a 5th gen iPod a little thicker than a 4th generation iPod.

Permanently attached to the back of the Claro is a belt clip which includes one of my favorite features of the Claro; a kick stand. As I mentioned, I am one of those video iPod users that actually uses the video capabilities of the device (small screen notwithstanding). To me, the kick stand is extremely useful, as I often have my iPod playing something like The Daily Show on my desk as I work, and it is nice to be able to position the iPod upright. I sometimes travel with my iPod and a small set of portable speakers, and usually have to find some means of propping the iPod upright. I also use the iPod to entertain the kids on long trips or when we drag them to someplace we know if no fun for them. The kick stand (and not to mention, the durable Claro case) are ideal for leaving the iPod unsupervised with a 3 and 5-year-old.

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Above: The Claro allows for access to all ports.

The belt clip itself I can see as an issue for some people, as it does add a piece of non-optional functionality that many may consider to be unnecessary bulk. I’ve never been a fan of the belt clip, for either an iPod or cellular phone, and usually put the devices in my pockets. I would ideally love to see a Claro version with a kick stand but sans belt clip, but I found the clip did not bother me. My wife actually enjoyed the belt clip, as she wears far less baggy pants than I do, and would rather clip an iPod to her as she went about her day that try to cram the Claro into her much smaller pockets.

Change your iPod’s color

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Above: iSkin sells additional Claro slim cases in a wide range of colors. To complete the look, you can opt for matching colored headphones as well.

In addition to being my iPod’s new favorite “bodyguard”, the Claro also offers you the opportunity to change the overall look of your iPod. Each Claro ships with a near see-through frosted white silicone skin, but iSkin sells a range of “Claro slims” in various colors to help you spice up your iPod’s boring old black or white design. Sold in 3-packs, you can coat your iPod in Blaze Red, Prince Purple, Blush Pink, Ebony Black, Sonic Blue and (my favorite) Ghost White glow in the dark. One thing to keep in mind here is that the sleeves are not entirely opaque, and if you own a black iPod, it will “bleed” through and dull/darken the lighter colored skins a bit more than if you owned a white iPod. I’d recommend the red and purple cases for black iPod owners, as they are more opaque. Also, the Ghost White glow in the dark case (when not glowing) is more “white” than the frosted white case that ships with the Claro case, so if you own a black iPod but want to go white, I’d recommend trying the Ghost White (plus the glow in the dark thing is pretty cool, if gimmicky).

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Above: The Claro adds a bit of extra thickness to your iPod, but the clear acrylic design does not appear bulky.


I personally had no real issues with the Claro or Claro slims. However, there are areas I can see being of bother to some. First, as I mentioned, the Claro comes with an unremovable belt clip. I know some people would like the option of a removable clip (or none at all), but I know that personally once I took it off I would lose it forever. Also, removable clips are not nearly as sturdy.

Also, as mentioned above, many of the Claro slims look better when used on white iPods than black ones.

One final word of caution, depending on the headphones you use, there is a slight chance they may not fit well into the headphone jack when in the Claro’s hard case, as it adds just enough bulk to the area surrounding the jack to keep out thicker, stubbier connectors. However, if your headphones have a similar jack shape to the Apple earbuds, you’ll be fine.

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Above: The Claro with the “Ghost White” glow in the dark Claro slim (my favorite).


The iSkin Claro offers total iPod protection in a customizable design geared towards the video-watching iPod owner. Like most hard cases, the Claro adds a bit of bulk to your iPod, but such is the price of total protection. The clear acrylic design of the Claro does not come off as clunky however, and the optional Claro slim colors make the the Claro the most stylish hard case we’ve seen. Priced at $34.99, the Claro is slightly pricier than some of its fellow cases, but in reality you are getting two cases in one, plus the ability to customize your iPod’s look down the road.

iSkin Claro and Claro slims

Price: $34.99 (Claro with frosted white slim; $19.99 for additional Claro slim 3-pack cases when ordered with a Claro ($24.99 normally))

Pros: Offers great scratch protection for your iPod plus limited shock absorption as well; ability to add custom colors (for a price); kick stand makes video watching much more enjoyable

Cons: Belt clip is non-optional; some Claro slim colors don’t look their best on a black iPod

3 Responses to “Review: iSkin Claro and Claro slims”
  1. dggraphics says:

    I would warn people against these type of cases, They scratch just as badly as the ipods themselves, and after a couple weeks you will be in the market for a new one. You need a case for this case if you want to keep the screen area clear and scratch free. Don’t bother you will be dissapponited. And if you are prone to dropping your little buddy, this case does not offer much protection. Sorry iSkin. As for their silicon cases, they don’t do such a great job either. They’re good if you drop them alot but they let dust in around the around the edges and will scratch the face of your iPod.

  2. dggraphics,

    It looks like your comments are kind of generic, and not specific to this actual product. We tested the case for about 2 and a half weeks, and even put it in my wife’s purse for a couple days (which is not something I would ever do to anything I cared about). The case held up very well.

    I would urge you to give it a chance before lumping it in with past cases you may have had trouble with.

    -The Doc

  3. linda wagner says:

    I love this case bought it about a year ago. Very few cases offer protection for
    screen and wheel. It easily removes from the case for use in my alarm clock
    oe other various players. I did not want the clip so I removed the hinge pin
    filed down the 2 plastic nibs. My Ipod is constantly in my back pocket when on the go. Wish I had bought this case when my ipod was new.

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