Review: Griffin Reflect
When we first opened the package of Griffin’s new Reflect iPod case, we immediately recognized the design as something else—Griffin’s slightly cheaper iClear. The Reflect sells for a $5 premium over its sibling, but the main difference is cosmetics.
Because of the two cases share designs, much of our original review applies. The idea of this case is 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 hard plastic shell. Two halves snap together to completely cover the front and back of the iPod.
In terms of protection, the Reflect 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 color of the Reflect is where it’s different than the iClear. The back of the Reflect, or more specifically, backs are, almost entirely opaque matte black plastic. The design hides fingerprints, and still (barely) allows you to see the engraving/print on the back of your iPod. Just as we liked the idea on the iClear, we really like this adaptation of this feature. A version for the 60GB iPod and a version for the 30GB iPod are included in the package.
The front of the Reflect is the key selling point of this product. It features a mirrored surface that isn’t quite silver and isn’t quite glossy black. When the iPod’s backlight is off, the face only shows the click wheel and looks opaque. When the backlight is on, the display shines through, although a bit dimmer than without the case. The best way to describe this is the way mirrored sunglasses work.
This idea is not without its downsides. Although the Reflect’s face looks really cool, it makes the iPod almost entirely unreadable in direct sunlight. Furthermore, it collects fingerprints like crazy, but they are easily wiped off. Finally, it is not entirely scratch proof. After just a few weeks of using it, we noticed very tiny scratches, but only when the Reflect was tilted at certain angles.
Finally, it is worth noting that the Reflect is about the same prices as many competitors’ “standard” clear plastic hard cases. As with the iClear, 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 Reflect is a decent mix of features and is quite unique-looking.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The Reflect adds a bit of a new “wow factor” to the venerable video iPod, while giving it some protection against bumps and scrapes.
Pros: Solid protection, doesn’t take away from iPod’s appearance, compatible with many accessories, matte back, cool mirrored finish
Cons: Case tough to open at times, more scratch-prone than cloth/leather cases, no shock protection, no belt clip, hard to read in sunlight, fingerprint magnet