Danls92 Reviews: Griffin iClear Please Register or Log in to view images Introduction: What I'm going to be reviewing is the Griffin iClear iPod Touch case. It is a plastic, two piece case that clips together on the sides, with the front portion being completely clear and the back half being opaque. How I Review: This review is broken up into 4 major categories (Design Overview, Protection Supplied, and Misc. Comments) with a final wrap-up at the end. Each major category is then broken up into smaller categories that focus more on individual aspects. Each smaller category will have a rating, and these will all be considered for that category's overall rating. I have never liked the method of reviewing involved the arbitrary assigning of numbers to quantitatively express a feeling because it is so subjective. Due to this, I will not be giving my opinions a numerical value; instead I will be using the words excellent, good, neutral, bad, and horrible. For a brief description of what each means: Excellent- Either perfect or just barely missing it. Something will receive an excellent rating if it is the best it could possibly be. Good- Possible to improve, but by no means bad. This is the verdict I would give something that is good for what it is, but has several things holding it back. Neutral- Neither good nor bad, I don't have any strong feelings. If I feel ambiguous about something it would receive this rating. Bad- The unfavorable outweighs the favorable aspects. If something is not well designed, or poorly implemented this is what I would rate it. Horrible- Unacceptably poor. If something impedes the thing it is meant to assist, or is completely useless I would say this about it. With that being said, let's start the review. 1) Design Overview- Griffin is a fairly well known designer and distributer of cases, so it is no surprise that their cases are designed very well. The iClear is broken into two parts, a front half and a back half. The front half is completely clear allowing you to see the edges of the iPod and the top portion which is covered. The back is slightly opaque, to the point where you cannot see completely clearly, but enough so that the iPod logo is clearly discernible. The two portions snap together along the edges, and stay in place very well. One possibly concerning issue is that when I first bought the case, it held together so tightly that I needed to remove it with a coin inserted into a notch on the bottom right corner. It has loosened to the point where it can now be popped open with a finger nail or similarly shaped object. I don't see it falling off at any point in the near future, but it is something to keep your mind on. The case has an opening on the top for the Sleep/ Wake button, and the entire bottom portion is cut out allowing the iPod to easily interface with most docks. The bottom portion of the face of the iPod is mostly protected, but it is cut out around the Home button. The cut out on the top of the iPod takes some getting used to, and makes pushing the sleep/ wake button rather difficult at first, but you will adjust to it fairly quickly. The bottom portion also has the duality of making it extremely easy to connect to devices, and extremely easy for dust and lint to get into the connection ports. While not a major problem, several case manufacturers are now providing pieces to cover these ports. An annoying problem that I have with the case is that the front piece is equally capable of showing off the sleek device, and trapping pieces of dust. I'm possibly more particular about this than most, but I find it extremely hard to watch a video when a piece of white lint is trapped under my case. It is then a hassle to remove the front piece of the case and discard the offending piece, only to find that upon replacing the front part another piece of lint has taken up a similar station. Rating: Good While the case does a good job of keeping the iPod snug and showcasing it's svelte design, it does have a few annoying flaws. The problems are namely the obviousness of dust under the case, and the initially hard to press Sleep/ Wake button. Overall, the case is fairly well designed, but it really does nothing to stand out in a wave of clear iPod cases. 2) Protection Supplied- With its large glass screen and sleek design, the iPod Touch is an iPod desperately in need of protection. The iClear does that job competently, if not spectacularly, and nobody can complain that it doesn't keep the device relatively safe. There is nothing particularly special about the protection offered for a hard case. There is a raised lip on the front of the device which prevents the fragile glass screen should the iPod land on its face, and the back is completely covered as to prevent the inevitable scratches. What I find concerning is that the case itself is fairly scratched from a couple months of usage, but not all of the scratches are external. Looking on the inside of the case, there are numerous tiny yet present scratches that cannot be beneficial to the iPod nestled inside. There is also a chip on the right side of the device despite the fact that I have never dropped the device from more than a foot or so above a wooden floor. Rating: Neutral While the iClear does a good job of preventing damage to the iPod during my relatively mundane usage of it, I hardly think that it would stand up to any more rigorous usage. The hard plastic scratches and chips fairly easily, and even in the relative safety of my pocket it seems to be prone to damage itself. 3) Miscellaneous Comments: I don't have much to append here except to note the extras packaged with this case. Included in the package were a screen protector and cleaning cloth. I attempted to apply the screen protector but it had an odd texture and seemed to be a good deal thicker than other alternatives. The cleaning cloth was nothing out of the ordinary, a normal microfiber cloth with worked fine with the device. Rating: Neutral There wasn't really much to like or dislike here. If you are craving screen protection, the screen protector will suffice but I would be more likely to refer you to an InvisibleShield or BSE instead. The cleaning cloth wasn't anything more than is expected from most cases these days. 4) Overall Rating: Neutral Overall, there isn't much to like or dislike about this case. It keeps the iPod moderately safe while not adding much bulk and it does a good enough job of preventing damage from normal wear and tear. If pushed further, I'm not sure how well this case would fare, but for a normal routine of spending most of the day in a pocket it works fine. The case's affinity for scratching is rather disturbing, and its proud showcasing of dust is annoying but both can be expected from most clear plastic cases. If you need a case, I would not discourage you from buying the Griffin iClear, but neither would I point you in its direction.