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Next-Gen Service Provider: December 21, 2009 eNewsletter
December 21, 2009

Holiday Gifts for IT Pros

By Lance Whitney, Journalist, IT Consultant, Web Developer

Looking for a gift for your favorite IT colleague? It’s not too late. At my former company, the IT folks looked forward to our annual gift swap during the holidays but always struggled to find the right present. What’s one gift IT pros may appreciate? Those of us with iPhone (News - Alert) and iPods can always use a good case to protect our devices. With that in mind, I looked at a sampling of cool cases from Belkin, Griffin Technology, and DLO that any iPhone or iPod touch user should enjoy unwrapping.

Belkin’s walnut leather Eco-Conscious case fits your iPhone or iPod snugly, protecting the back and front edges. It leaves the screen open, so you’ll need some type of protection there. I use Belkin’s ClearScreen Overlays and Power Support’s Anti-Glare Films to protect my screen from smudges and scratches. Just slide your device in the case and secure it with a velcro strap, so there’s no chance of it slipping out. Cutouts let you access the Power button, volume controls, audio port and dock port. The case is well-designed and stylish, so your iPhone or iPod is well protected should you ever drop it. I found only one drawback. The sides of the case are thick in front, which prevented me from easily reaching the outer edges of the screen with my fingertip. I had to remove the case to play certain games or run certain apps where I needed to reach those outer edges. The Eco-Conscious case comes in black and walnut colors.
Another sleek and well-built leather case, the Belkin Folio is a wallet-style design. It wraps around your iPhone or iPod but also includes a flap that closes like a book to protect your screen. The flap’s velcro tab ensures that your device is protected and won’t slip out of the case. Cutouts leave only the Power button, audio port and dock port exposed. I did find the Home button difficult to press at times since it’s covered by the case. But the Folio’s leather covering is sturdy and stylish but still very comfortable. It’s the perfect case to show off your iPhone or iPod touch at your next business meeting.
The Sonic Wave Duo case is a simple textured silicon sleeve that protects the entire back and the front edges of your screen. The Power button and volume controls are covered by the sleeve, while the Dock port and audio port are uncovered. The sleeve includes ridges for the Power button and volume controls, so you know exactly where they are. Though the Sonic Wave Duo doesn’t protect the front of your screen, it’s less bulky than Belkin’s leather cases, so it’s ideal to slip into your pocket or just keep around the house. The sleeve comes in both black and clear colors.
The Elan Form is a hard-shell leather case that covers the back of your device and the edges of its front. The case comes in two pieces, top and bottom—you just slide your iPhone or iPod into one half and then the other, and the two pieces interlock. The Power button, volume controls, Dock port, and audio port are left open, so there’s no difficulty accessing these controls. The case fits very snugly, and the hard leather should help it survive most falls. But since there’s no protection in the front, you’ll still want to be careful. The Elan Form does include a front screen overlay to protect it against smudges and scratches.
The Wave is similar in look and feel to the Elan form. But instead of hard leather, it uses a hard plastic case, which seems similar in strength and durability. The two interlocking pieces fit your device snugly but not too tightly. The Wave comes in different colors, but the one I looked at was clear, so it covers your device without obscuring it. I also liked the grip of the Wave as it was smooth and comfortable but had a certain traction to ensure that I won’t easily drop it.
The FlexGrip comes as a two-for-one special – two sleeves, one red and one black, in one package. This case is made of flexible silicone, so it’s soft and smooth but still durable. The FlexGrip wraps around the back of your device and the front edges. But it protects more of the front than other sleeves, covering the Home button and sticking out a bit over the screen. The Power button and volume controls are covered as well, but the entire bottom is uncovered, so it’s easy to dock. I liked the added protection in front and found the Home button easy to press despite the covering. The case sports a raised design in back, which looks good and gives you a firm grip.
The perfect case to protect your iPhone or iPod in the winter, DLO’s Jam Jacket Trek protects the back and front edges of your device. The Power button and volume controls are covered, while the Dock port and audio port are open. The Jam Jacket Trek is made of a heavy silicone material that feels solid and secure. Ridges on the side of the case and treads on back help you hold your device with a very firm grip, so there’s less chance of dropping it. And even if you do, the tough, thick material feels like it will do its best to save your iPhone or iPod from serious injury. DLO also includes a stick-on protective overlay to protect the screen.
DLO Action Jacket - $29.99
The Action Jacket is designed for people who want to take their iPhone or iPod with them for a good workout. Whether you’re inside the gym or outside on the track, you can hook your device to your arm with the included armband or attach it to your belt with the belt clip. The case fully wraps around your device, covering the back and all of the front. Made of a padded neoprene material, the Action Jacket can also save your iPhone or iPod from water damage as you sweat. A clear plastic shields your screen as well, and the entire case is fastened through a velcro strap. Virtually all controls are covered by the thick padded case, including the Power button, volume controls, and dock port (you must remove the velcro strap to sync your device.) Just program your music, attach your device to your arm or belt, and then enjoy your workout.
You’ll find most of these cases at your local Apple (News - Alert) store as well as other retail outlets. If you’re looking for a nice gift for a fellow IT pro, any of these should fit the bill. Oh, and happy holidays to all IT pros out there!

Lance Whitney is a journalist, IT consultant, and Web Developer with almost 20 years of experience in the IT world. To read more of Lance's articles, please visit his columnist page

Edited by Erin Harrison

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