Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPod 5G
Griffin Technology Vizor for iPod
Pros: An inexpensive PDA-style flip case with sewn-in belt clip and magnetic closures, made from good-quality leather and suede, and with a great fit and finish. Five colors available.
Cons: Uninteresting and uninventive design; Belt clip not removable
Vizor is another entry in Griffin’s new line of iPod cases, available in separate sizes that fit 30GB and 60GB iPods. Made from colored leather and with a soft suede interior, each case is a highly traditional PDA-style design that we’ve seen done hundreds of times before. Belt clips are built into the cases’ back surfaces, and five color options are available - four in leather, and one grey model comes in a “hi-tech” synthetic material, for five dollars less.
Though the design may be entirely uninteresting, you cannot fault Griffin’s excellent build quality on the Vizor. Both the exterior leather and suede interior materials are surprisingly nice for the price, and the fit of the case is mostly fabulous, with the Click Wheel and screen holes lining up perfectly with the iPod’s corresponding pieces. The stitching that binds all the pieces together is clean and precise. Perhaps one of the best indications of quality on the Vizor is that all seams and edges are well finished, with color-matched material melted around the edges of cutouts for the Click Wheel, screen, and Dock connector port, forming a nice seal to smooth out the look and feel. It’s difficult to convey in pictures, and perhaps even to notice in person unless you’re looking for it, but it’s a nice touch that really finishes off the case.
The single point we’ve deducted in this category accounts for two minor concerns. First, the hole for the Dock Connector isn’t perfectly shaped - it’s functional, but well below the standards of the rest of the case. Second, a simple and standard resilience concern: leather will eventually tend to age and weather, accumulating scratches with use.
As a standard PDA-style flip case, the Vizor scores as expected in the ease of use category; the screen, Click Wheel, and Hold switch are all accessible only when the flap is open (one point each), and the headphone port and Dock Connector are accessible whether the flap is opened or closed (two points each). With this design, you can either listen to music or sync/charge the iPod while the case is closed, but you’ll need to open the flip repeatedly for adjusting volume, changing tracks, or even simply looking at the screen. Thankfully, however, this isn’t as cumbersome as it often is with other PDA style cases, since the Vizor uses an easy-to-open magnetic closure in lieu of snaps.
Our special features category rewards included accessories, options, design and materials innovations, and color choices. As a basic implementation of the years-old PDA-style design, Vizor supplies little in the innovation category, but we do award a single point for the sewn-in belt clip merely to quantify its utility to certain users. Others will view it as a drawback, as its permanent nature simply adds unnecessary thickness. iLounge has always preferred (and rewarded) removable belt clips for their more universal appeal.
We also add a point in this category for the Vizor’s 5 color choices; the leather versions ($25) are available in black, brown, blue, and orange, and a “hi-tech” synthetic version ($20) is available in grey.
Finally, we recognize and appreciate cases such as the Vizor which are offered in separate versions for the thinner (30GB) and thicker (60 and 80GB) iPod models. Maintaining twice the amount of case models is cumbersome for accessory companies, but truly benefits consumers with perfect fits for everyone - especially 30GB owners, who are often forced to use a case that’s larger than necessary.
The Vizor case offers respectable - though not perfect - iPod protection, with only the dock connector, headphone port, and top corners exposed full time. When the front flap is open, the Click Wheel and Hold switch are freely open for use, but the screen remains protected through a sewn-in soft protector.
At only $25 (or $20 for the synthetic version), the Griffin Vizor is already a good buy for a full-size iPod case, earning it 6 of the 8 possible points on pricing alone. We add our two points of reviewer’s tilt here, also, as we’re not used to seeing good-quality materials and excellent workmanship on a case priced aggressively so.
If you’re a fan of the PDA style of case design, we’re happy to recommend the Vizor as an inexpensive, well-built implementation of it - especially for users who will use (or won’t mind) the non-removable belt clip.
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.