Griffin Clarifi iPhone 3G case review

My Griffin Clarifi case arrived yesterday, and after living with it for a day, I’ve played with it plenty. I never really cared for slider cases in the past, since I rarely used the Apple dock, I really had no need for one. The bottom of those cases always fit too loose, and slipped off easily, so my excitement for the Clarifi was luke warm because of this. The case I was using when the Clarifi arrived was Switcheasy’s Capsule Neo. I’ll post that review later.

Griffin Clarifi

Griffin Clarifi

My first attempt at putting on the Clarifi, DESTROYED my Steinheil Anti-Fingerprint screen protector. Luckily for me, I had another one to put on. So, after re-applying a new screen, I tried again. The key to this is to slide the top portion of the case VERY slowly, as when it gets to the top half of the case, the seam where the material changes from Gloss to Matt, snags on the screen protector. Right at that moment, you need to lift the edge of the case off the bevel a bit to slide the case over the screen protecter. I know this might not make sense, but in from of you, you’ll see what I mean. Then, after sliding it to the top,  it was perfect.

The bottom half, I was careful to slide on slowly as well, so not to pinch the screen protector either. My best advice, is if you have a screen protector, or plan to use the one that comes with the Clarifi, put it on PERFECTLY straight and as centered as humanly possible. It does make a difference as this case is tight to the bevel. After that, the bottom half snugly slides into place, sliding under the top half, creating a perfect seam.

I wish the two halves “locked” into each other better then then do, but right now, it’s very snug, and with a tiny pit of pulling on the bottom, it doesn’t seem to come off easily, so for me, the more snug the better. I’m much more pleased with this fit, then I was with the Griffin Elan form.

The fit is good, no big gaps at the seams at all. The look between the gloss and the matt finish is very nice, and reminds me a lot of the Switcheasy Capsule Neo in terms of a “classier” look. It completely covers the bevel, and leaves all the buttons and ports exposed. My ONLY complaint is I am used to the Neo covering most of the top of the phone, leaving only the headphone port exposed, and the rest was covered by the rubber sleeve it had under the hard shell. The Clarifi leaves the entire top and bottom exposed, including the sim card compartment. They should have have closed that off more, for my taste. A small complaint really. It does also add a TOUCH more bulk then the Neo, only to the front around the bevel.

Now, onto the actual allure of the case, the marco lens. In a pinch, it does exactly what it claims to, and it does a fine job. If you’re looking for something that’s with you all the time, for those unexpected times to snap a business card, or a close up of text, or just to capture more detail, this is perfect.

Griffin Clarifi Macro sample

Griffin Clarifi Macro sample

The optimal results happen when you hold the camera away from the item by about 6 to 8 inches. It clears up the shot, but doesn’t magnify, which I expected it too. Before the Clarifi, I was shooting marco photos on the iPhone using a 3-lens magnifier from RadioShack. This was on a suggestion from Alex over on the MacRumors forums.  It’s a $9.00 solution, and I did get better results with it, when shooting as close as I could, capturing detail. The photo below will link to the RadioShack page, so check it out.

3-Lens Magnifier

3-Lens Magnifier

All of this said, I REALLY like the Clarifi, and I do believe I’m going to keep it on my phone. This just may have replaced my Neo as my new favorite iPhone case, for its look, and it’s unique function. Even if I don’t need the Clarifi lens, I can keep it closed to protect the actual camera lens. This is something no other case does at the moment, so it’s a bit of added protection. 

Also, those who own the Neo, and use the universal dock adapter it came with, good news, the Clarifi fits PERFECTLY into the Neo’s universal dock adapter.

Out of a possibly 5…

Protection: 4

Style & Attractiveness: 4.5

Innovation: 5

Overall satisfaction: 4.5

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