Review: iFrogz Tadpole Bundles and iFrogz Bundles

by James Bain Jul 27, 2007

I find it worthwhile to do review updates, particularly when a company does something new or different with their products. A new version, for example, is certainly reason to revisit a product.

I have looked at both the iFrogz Tadpole children’s case for Video iPod, and their more adult cases before, but iFrogz has done something new. In both cases, we’re looking at more of a repackaging than an upgrade, but both are repackaged or represented in ways that I think notably improve their value.

The Tadpole case was meant for parents to pop a Video iPod into and then hand to their kids to watch some kid show or movie on. When I first looked at it, I said that I thought it was an excellent idea, but one that adults would have to consider carefully. Too much passive video isn’t really good, IMHO, for forming young brains, but darn it, there are times when being able to pull out a bit of Dora the Explorer would save the day. The case itself, to recap, has friendly big handles for little hands to hold onto, and just enough rubber to make sure your precious iPod doesn’t get whacked around too much. Coming with iFrogz’s signature cover screens and sticker art, you can customize it for either yourself or your small one.

Another thing, quantity of video consumed aside, that made me stop was the matter of headphones. The advisability of handing your only pair of earbuds, perhaps, to your child seems sort of reckless. And the usual earbud experience involves embedding them into your ears. Either the children’s ears might be too small for them or, most importantly, the sound could be made much too loud. It’s hard to adjust sound levels for something else and very few two-year-olds understand decibels. Dora just seems to be talking a bit louder, and they don’t notice the ear damage.

That’s verbose, but I thought that another pair of cheaper over-the-ear headphones would be advisable, and wanted everyone to be sure to use the volume limiting function on any iPod handed to a child. I can’t think of any way to force the Tadpole itself to limit volume, but their new package comes bundled with a very kid-friendly set of over-the-ear phones that are obviously designed for the less agile, younger, and perhaps a bit sloppier iPod user. All plastic, with no foam for very young kids to gnaw off, they wipe clean easily and are small enough not to fall off readily. Way too small for my head, they just barely fit my seven-year-old’s.

If you were at all leery about getting a Tadpole case for occasional sharing of your Video iPod with young children, I say look at this package. The headphones truly improve the product and they are really the first children’s headphones I have seen. There might be others out there, but I haven’t seen them.

Secondly, I have reviewed the iFrogz rubber cases before. They have a silky silicon rubber that doesn’t collect dirt and dust and are still my very favourite casual, non-ruggedized cases.

The problem with them, if you see it as a problem, is that you can’t buy them in stores. It’d be impossible. The great draw of them is their vast customizability. You can choose from a huge selection of click wheel art, or even get your own photos made into click wheel covers! Pick a cover colour and a side band colour and those together with your click wheel really do give you thousands and thousands of custom choices.

But what if you’re not feeling that creative, or want to give someone a case without worrying about whether your idea of what they would like is the same as what they’d like?

iFrogz have now bundled their cases in a package with one sleeve, a variety of matching bands, and a selection of theme-based click wheel art. It’s a great way to give a present immediately, without giving a gift certificate. And though I haven’t seen them yet in stores, I can now imagine retailers being able to carry a selection for anyone to choose and walk home with.

I enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for a custom case, but if you need one right away, either for a present or as a personal case, now is a good option too. Plus the iFrogz are such good cases that perhaps their real quality will push some of the really cruddy cases I’ve seen right out of the market. Which would be a good thing.

Take a look at their selection and I’m sure you’ll see something for someone you know who might be harder to buy for, or for yourself even.

So, two repackagings. Both great ideas and both well done. Very well done.


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