Review: Gizmac Titan Clear for iPhone
Gizmac deserves some credit: its cases aren't always beautiful, and they're not always polished to the point of perfection, but it's very obvious that the company is trying hard to develop products that do a lot for their customers. Take for example Titan Clear for iPhone ($35), a clear hard plastic shell that redefines the words "multifunctional iPhone case," going beyond any competing clear case we've yet seen for Apple's first mobile phone.
Like many of the clear shells we’ve seen, Titan Clear consists primarily of three parts: a front shell, a rear shell, and a belt clip holster. Judged on those words alone, you could easily have found several other options even six months ago, when the iPhone was released, and additional cases since. But Gizmac has taken a few steps that we appreciate, rethinking two of these pieces, and adding a fourth that far too many competitors omit: a clear film protector for iPhone’s face. The only parts the film leaves uncovered are the Home button and ear speaker. As resilient as the iPhone’s glass face may be, we’re really glad that Gizmac included this part.
Titan Clear’s real innovations are found in its rear shell. There are actually two different stands built into its back, one for horizontal video viewing, one for vertical menu and music access, and they both work. They’re on separate hinges, and over several weeks of testing have not come loose or failed to operate properly, though both stands use unusually deep, non-adjustable reclines that we found to modestly—not critically—miss the straight-on viewing vertical and horizontal sweet spots of the iPhone’s screen. Practically, however, this doesn’t matter: the iPhone’s display is always totally usable, and very close to ideally viewable.
Gizmac also includes a matching, frosted clear ratcheting belt clip holster with Titan Clear. While this part isn’t groundbreaking, the fact that it’s completely clear—unlike the jet black belt clips found in competing cases such as Power Support’s Crystal Jacket, Contour Design’s iSee, and Belkin’s Clear Case—adds to the see-through effect started by the shell. It’s a nice touch.
The only reasons Titan Clear falls short of our high recommendation are these: several of the case’s features—its four rubber feet, its thickness, and its somewhat too numerous internal lines—detract a little from its otherwise good looks, feel, and pocketability. Gizmac’s six peg-in-hole side locking system works, but we constantly found that one of the pegs didn’t want to stay in place, typically the right center or bottom peg. Thankfully, the case still held together at all times, but a more secure latching system would have been better. And the price is a little higher than all of the aforementioned competitors, which offer similar features, though with a little less versatility than Gizmac’s design.
Protection is similarly comparable to other products, rather than superior. Titan Clear exposes the top headphone port and Sleep/Wake button, the former a little too generously, as well as the side controls, rear camera, and bottom speaker, microphone, and Dock Connector port. The case is molded to just fit Universal Docks, and fits cable-styled bottom connecting accessories, but like most alternatives struggles with full-width plastic iPod add-ons. Titan Clear is fairly classified as highly, but not perfectly accessory compatible, and substantially but not completely protective; rubber covers might have provided additional protection for the physical buttons on its top, side, and face.
There’s no doubt that Gizmac has done a very good job with Titan Clear, creating a case that would unquestionably be the best of its kind for the iPhone if a few small things were fixed, or if it was sold at an equal or lower price to its peers. As-is, Titan Clear is a solid, smart competitor, and a great offering for those who need maximum functional versatility from the iPhone and are willing to pay a little extra to get it.