Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Griffin Clarifi Case for the iPhone 3G - A Review

I've had the Griffin Clarifi case for the iPhone 3G for a couple of weeks now. It was a real pain in the ass trying to decide which case to get for my iPhone. There are so many choices out there!

After I’d decided on a hard case, instead of one of those silicone gel covers, the decision turned to: which hard case? Clear ones? Candy-colored teeny-boppy ones? Plain black corporate ones? Then, to further complicate matters, I found out there are hybrid hard/soft cases that offer the protection of a rigid shell but are flexible enough that you can stretch and bend to get them to fit onto the iPhone. Oh, the agony of it all!

Over the years, I’ve become one of those people who tend to over-research every single purchase I make. It wasn’t always like that. In my teenage years, almost every thing I did was spontaneous and on the spur of the moment. Every decision was made in under five seconds. Could it be that I’m now over-compensating for all the mistakes I made in the past? That would be a great discussion for another time, another place -- preferably a place that has a couple of glasses and a large bottle of brandy.

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? In brief, the Griffin Clarify is a slider style case that is very similar to the InCase Slider. With one major upgrade - it comes with a close-up or macro lens that allows you to take much clearer close-up photos with the iPhone camera. Without the lens, Griffin contends, you're gonna get sucky close-ups on the iPhone.

I've been told that the selling point of the case is that corporate types can use the lens to take photos of each other's business cards, as they are wont to do. I know! I've learnt not to be surprised anymore by what corporate types get up to when a bunch of them get together like that. Better that than screwing around with the economy, right?

The good news is this: the Clarifi close-up lens really does work. Let's compare some photos. I took a couple of shots of the little insert that came with the case.

Here it is with the close-up lens:

Here it is without:

Here's a couple of my watch.
With the close-up lens:


You can see the finer details with the lens in place. Without it, close-ups are more or less a blur.

Now for the bad news, the Griffin Clarifi case is a lint magnet. I carry my iPhone in my pocket. I've come to realize, since I started carrying my mobile phones that way, my pockets are lint factories. I have so much lint in my pockets I'm surprised other stuff are able to fit in there.

Of course, after the iPhone takes a lint bath in my pockets, it looks a mess. Lint collects in all the nooks and crannies where lint loves to collect. To start with, take a look around the edges where the case meets the screen in the next two photos.

Here's a closer look at all that lovely lint.

Now for the lint's favorite watering hole - it is literally a hole.

The slider that houses the lens doesn't stay very firmly in place. It moves and slides open easily and lint gets trapped in there. It looks disgusting, doesn't it? The linty little hole is next to impossible to clean.

It might not be pretty, but it's not a big deal. It's certainly no impediment to the proper function of the case, which is to protect the iPhone from scratches and perhaps more serious damage - I shudder to think what possible misfortune could befall my treasured iPhone.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with the case. It is a well made case, the materials are of decent quality, but it is expensive at about $35 retail. You can pick it up with a reasonable discount on the 'Bay or other on-line retailers.

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