Griffin’s Clarifi ($34.99) is an iPhone 3G hard shell case that offers EasyDock technology. That sounds pretty fancy, but it really just means you don’t have to take the iPhone out of its case in order to dock it. This is never an issue if you’re just using a docking cable, but if you have a docking cradle or any of the myriad speaker systems, for example, that require you to place the iPhone on a fitted dock, you know what a hassle it is to have to first remove the iPhone from its case every time.
With the Clarifi, the bottom third of the case slips right off the bottom, keeping your iPhone housed in the upper portion. By doing this, the case isn’t adding extra padding to the bottom of the phone, and you can easily dock it while the upper portion is still protected. And actually, considering that the Clarifi comes with a screen protector, the display is still protected, as well. I was nervous about the bottom of the case slipping off when I don’t want it to, but the snug fit prevented this from happening. Another benefit to this is that the case is very easy to remove completely when you want to, which can’t be said about the majority of iPhone cases.
What separates the Clarifi from other Griffin cases with EasyDock (such as the $25.00 Nu Form) is that it comes with a special, attached lens for your iPhone’s camera. This lens, which easily slides into and out of place, offers the ability to get better clarity when taking close up images. That’s it, really, and it’s something you’ll likely rarely use. Griffin’s site says it’s good for photographing things such as business cards for reference capture using programs such as Snappr. Okay, I imagine there’s a pretty small percentage of people out there who need that ability. But, if you’re one of them…well, here you go.
That’s actually pretty impressive. Granted, the photo above is pulled from Griffin’s website, but I was able to produce similar results on my own. The iPhone requires separation of about 18 inches in order to achieve focus. With the Clarifi, you only need about 4 inches. As mentioned earlier, many of you will never need those extra 14 inches, but it’s good to have the lens handy when you do.
Unfortunately, the Clarifi is lacking a lanyard or belt clip for connecting the case to your person, and its design makes this a bigger problem than it should be. The middle back of the Clarifi is polished plastic, which scratches quite easily. Because there’s no belt clip or anything, my wife was forced to carry it around in her purse. Within just a few days, that shiny plastic back had become scratched so badly that she just quit using it. There’s also the possibility that the lens itself could be scratched, as there’s nothing really protecting it other than the fact that it’s recessed a little bit.
So, the Clarifi is a decent enough case, but not necessarily one you’d want if it didn’t contain a camera lens. The lens is excellent if you need extreme close-up capabilities, but considering you’re paying a $10 to $15 premium just for that, make sure you’re going to use it. Otherwise, Griffin’s Nu Form gives the exact same amount of protection but with a better design, a color option, and a cheaper price.
Appletell Rating: Griffin Clarifi iPhone 3G case:
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