Review: Griffin iClear
Over the last few months, the case market for the full-sized iPods has exploded. This is to be expected any time a new iPod variation is introduced, but there’s a common trend with cases for the iPod with video—there are a ton that are made of clear plastic. Griffin’s $20 iClear combines features of other cases, while adding its own little touches.
The main idea of these cases are to protect your iPod better than a “peel and stick” shield, but still allow you to realize it’s an iPod. Instead of having it bundled up in a thick case, your iPod is only a few millimeters thicker and looks like an iPod, except with a transparent shell. Two halves snap together to completely cover the front and back of the iPod.
iClear + iPod
In terms of protection, the iClear fits between Contour Design’s iSee-video and XtremeMac’s MicroShield. The top of the case protects fairly well, only exposing the Hold switch and headphone jack. The bottom is fully exposed to allow use of Griffin’s Dock Connector-mounted accessories (or products from other companies). You can also (unofficially) use the case with products that use Apple’s Universal Dock inserts if you remove all the inserts. This is a good idea, but also a tradeoff, as you don’t have to remove the iPod from the case, but you lose a bit of protection.
The back of the iClear, or more specifically, backs are translucent, rather than completely clear. The frosting hides fingerprints, and still allows you to see the engraving/print on the back of your iPod. We really like this feature. A version for the 60GB iPod and a version for the 30GB iPod are included in the package.
Finally, it is worth noting that the iClear is about $5 cheaper than its competitors, although it does not include a belt clip nor the provision to add one. Furthermore, you cannot only use one “half” of the shell at a time, requiring you to completely remove the case when using certain docking accessories. If you can live with this, and aren’t too rough on your iPod, the iClear is a decent mix of features and price.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The iClear keeps your iPod looking pretty, while giving it some protection against bumps and scrapes.
Pros: Solid protection, doesn’t take away from iPod’s appearance, compatible with many accessories, frosted back
Cons: Case tough to open at times, more scratch-prone than cloth/leather cases, no shock protection, no belt clip