Company: Griffin Technology
Model: Trio for nano
Compatible: iPod nano (all)
Griffin Technology Trio for nano
Pros: Soft leather in a relatively novel three-piece nano case design. Includes a belt clip panel. Comes in seven different colors.
Cons: Detachable, protective wrap-around flap prevents iPod screen and control access, so you’ll need to choose between protection and functionality. Cases can easily show minor scratches, initial out-of-box look is a little cheap and oily.
iPod nano owners seeking a versatile leather case, rejoice! Griffin has created Trio, a contoured leather case with two interchangeable face covers - one plain wrap around flap, and one with an integrated belt clip. Both use a metal snap and a magnet to attach to the base Trio case for full iPod face protection, but can be left entirely off, as well. Designed to be used with both the first and second generation nano, Trio comes in seven colors, and is available in synthetic ($20, gray “hi-tech”) and leather ($25) versions.
As with most Griffin cases we review, we were generally impressed with Trio’s build quality, from the leather exterior through to the soft interior lining. The base case fits both first- and second-generation nanos properly and snugly, with screen and Click Wheel holes - and an integrated soft clear screen protector - that line up properly on both models; the add-on flaps fit properly, as well. During testing, we noticed only two issues: first, the cases came out of their packaging feeling a little oily to the touch, and had to be wiped down, which we didn’t like. Second, the soft leather does show minor scratches and/or indentations, a common leather issue for which we deducted one additional point.
Rather than going with a traditional flip-open case design, Trio’s base case snaps onto either of two included wrap-around straps, which you can add or remove as needed. Without the flap, Trio renders the nano easy to use, with both its screen and controls fully accessible, scoring a perfect 10. On the other hand, when used with either of the the wrap-around flaps, the Trio’s score lowers considerably, as only the headphone port, which can accommodate larger plugs, is fully accessible. You need to open the flap to gain full access to the Dock Connector port, Hold switch, screen, and controls. Because Trio gives you the option to have full ease of use or sacrifice it for the sake of added protection, we felt it was fair to award it with nearly the maximum possible number of points here, however, it’s not as ideally implemented as in, say, iSkin’s Duo for iPod nano, which gives you both protection and ease of use without compromise.
We gave Trio a total of four points for Special Features, two of which were for the case’s three-piece design. Although leather cases have been around for some time, Griffin has developed a relatively novel implementation thanks to the interchangeable covers, distinguishing Trio in versatility and protectiveness from many other similar cases that we have reviewed. Additionally, Trio comes with a belt clip, for which we added one point, and is available in seven colors, for which we added another point.
The base Trio case provides full screen and back coverage, which we liked, as well as substantial front, partial top and partial side coverage. We were somewhat disappointed to find that the nano’s side corners, Dock Connector, Hold Switch and Click Wheel were left unprotected in the base case, and that the wrap around flap only provides protection for the latter two; it could have fully covered the Dock Connector, and the base case could have offered superior side corner protection. Obviously, if you’re looking to squeeze the most protection out of Trio, use one of the included flaps.
Judged against other iPod nano leather cases, Trio is a very good value, offering pretty nice looks, quality, versatility, and color options at a better-than-average price of $25. Though the synthetic (“hi-tech”) gray version of the case sells for $5 less, it also looks cheaper, and doesn’t rate any higher here. That version aside, we actively liked Trio’s three-part design, and found it to be fun and functional, nicely taking into account different types of nano users and the occasional time when one user might want to add or subtract protection.
While Trio was on the edge of a rating of A- and high recommendation, it fell a point shy because of the quality control (oiliness) issue it had coming out of the box, which is a shame given that this was otherwise a strong case. With that factor and extra protectiveness possibilities in mind, we look forward to seeing how Griffin Technology further develops Trio for the iPod family.
A Note From the Editors of iLounge: Though all products and services reviewed by iLounge are "final," many companies now make changes to their offerings after publication of our reviews, which may or may not be reflected above. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.