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"Without a case the device simply slips from my fingers when I try to press the volume buttons (because I have to hold it unnaturally to reach them with my left hand)."
You're holding it wrong.
Sorry, just had to point that out. Loved my 1st gen touch, would have one of these if I hadn't needed the iPhone 4 for work. (What, no cracked glass back? What fun would that be?)