iSkin Vibes – tokidoki

Vibes is a range of iPod cases from iSkin featuring designs from an artist called Simone Legno who is behind the tokidoki brand. This two layer design comes with the art-decorated hard shell as well as a thin silicone wrap that offers extra protection for your iPod. These limited edition cases showcase the ‘philosophy’ behind tokidoki and the expertise of iPod case manufacturers, iSkin.

tokidoki is the Japanese word for “sometimes” after the artists’ passion for everything about Japan.

Reading his background story about how he got from Rome to LA is something that we all aspire to achieve at some point in our lives. To pour our passion, soul and energy in to something that we believe in and then one day it gets realised and discovered, allowing you to share it with the world.

It’s nice to know that the product you’re using has some background and history to it, that it’s not just some end product from a big corporation that spews out design after design and product after product.

The tokidoki cases aren’t manufactured by themselves unlike the many fashion accessories available from their web-site (, instead they’ve teamed up with iSkin to celebrate the success they’ve had with a limited edition set of their cases.

With 8 to choose from, I tested just 3 of these cool designs with my 30GB 5G iPod, these cases are available for Nano 1G and 2G, Mini and 1st Gen Shuffles so most iPod owners shouldn’t feel too left out.

The outer shell is made of two types of plastics. The front exterior has the glossy painted tokidoki design and the rear has a textured element for enhanced grip.

Included in the package is also a silicone case that is very thin and designed to for your iPod to ‘wear’ for added protection whilst its in the main case. Vibes is not only designed to be fashionable, it’s also good at its job of protecting your iPod by offering a two layer impact protection system that helps absorb shock and cosmetic damage from your iPod.

There is no screen protector on the 5G models unlike the ones made for the 2G Nano which does come with one. That is the one critical element that is missing from the design and has resulted in my iPod screen suffering more scratches whilst I’ve been testing these cases.

All eight designs have their own name from Adios Flowers to the Cactus Part model, each has its own distinctive styling that is exclusive, unique and special in its own way. You can stay ahead of the latest fashion and buy all eight, one for each day and decorate your iPod with these Japanese-themed anime characters. Some appeal more to the opposite sex but others are neutral so it’s all good. Some of the designs are quite cheery and happy whilst others are more grim with one of them featuring a cartoony version of ‘death’ on the scroll wheel area.

On the note of the scroll wheel, this area is completely covered by the outer hard shell but does still allow access to your iPod. The plastic is inset and thinner than the rest of the case, allowing the touch sensor on your iPod to still recognise the pressure from your finger. This makes the all in one enclosure much more appealing than if it were left exposed and also allows the designer to showcase his artwork in full.

The top portion edge of your iPod is left exposed by the outer hard shell but your iPod is still protected with the silicone case so you can have access to the headphone jack and hold switch. It’s the same story for the bottom edge where the iPod dock connector is for convenient access. However don’t expect to be able to dock the iPod on a speaker system or use an FM transmitter because the case, like many have come before it, simply won’t allow it.

I use a tape adapter for playing music in the car with my iPod but unfortunately the 3.5 mm jack is too large to actually fit in the headphone jack because of the case. This seems to be the issue with a lot of cases, perhaps I need to look for an adapter with a thinner jack? I just wish I didn’t have to take my iPod out of its case when I want to listen to it in the car.

With the internal silicone protection, it doesn’t make sliding the iPod out of the outer hard shell very simple due to the grip that the silicone adds to its surface area. This is good in that your iPod won’t slip out but bad when you want to quickly remove it so I can jam my tunes through my car stereo and somewhat annoying sometimes. The price we all pay for fashionable gear perhaps?

Other than the issues outlined above, the iSkin Vibes affords good protection without adding excessive bulk to the iPod and does it in one of the most stylish ways that I’ve come across yet.

The snazzy designs combined with the added silicone protection means that your iPod can travel in style with you. The 8 designs may not appeal to everyone but you will find one that suits your taste.

With a $30 asking price translating to roughly £15, which is not good considering that the iSkin Vibes offers both good protection and a choice of limited edition designs.

Main criticisms for its design is the lack of a screen protector, which is a must for any 5G iPod and as my experience in using it has demonstrated will result in your iPod screen exposed to scratching.

For a chance of owning your own bit of exclusive gear and the latest trend, this isn’t a bad range to at least check out, after all if Fergie (from Black Eyed Peas) is wearing the t-shirts and bags then it must be cool, right?

Check out all the case designs by hitting the Product Photography link at the top of the review.

2007-04-22 Onwah Tsang

1 comment - why not add yours

  • Lucy says:

    Wow i love these they’re so cute and as a japan lover my self i love them so much but i believe that it’s becoming to popular for the wrong reasons just because the celebs have them and Tokidoki stuff dosn’t mean everyone should and soon i think it will become another over produced trend but until that i day i will stay a Tokidoki lover!! and probably even after that!

    Posted on 11th June 2008

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