Review: Rivet iGrab
Pros: Simple leather iPod holsters with belt clip and lanyard options, attractively designed for younger users. High-quality metal component design.
Cons: Not especially protective of the iPods inside; Dash Mount system (at fairly high price) is adhesive-based and not a fantastic option, especially for full-sized iPods.
Some time ago, we received and checked out some generic cellular phone youth accessories made by Rivet, a Carlsbad, California-based company with ambitions to enter the iPod market. Rivet’s initial accessories were fashionable but not ideally suited to the iPod, so the company went back to its labs and created two new products: the iGrab and mini iGrab, belt and neck mounts for full-sized and mini iPods, respectively. (Rivet makes separate 20GB and 40GB iPod-sized iGrabs.)
Before we get into the details of the iGrabs, we will note that we have continued to be highly impressed by the designs of Rivet’s metal locks, posts, and chains. They are the core of the company’s various products, and should seriously be licensed to other companies, as well – they work so well and look so good that we think they have the potential to be the YKK zippers of their respective categories. Other iPod manufacturers could seriously benefit from incorporating these components.
The iGrab and mini iGrab with QR Belt Hook and Dash Mount System ($39.99) are basically the same product in two different sizes. Each iGrab is a hard reinforced partial iPod harness with contoured leather on the outside, soft velvety felt on the inside, and a metal mounting post on the upper back. We received full-sized iGrabs in red with a black interior and black with a black interior, as well as a mini iGrab in black with a black interior; both products will be available in both colors. Neither harness fully covers any of the iPod’s surfaces; the standard model covers most of the back but leaves significant spaces on the sides, top, and bottom, while the mini iGrab is even more open near the rear top. Both holsters feature an embossed Rivet X logo on the rear, and look attractive when holding an iPod inside.
Rivet’s QR Hook is a quick-release belt hook, which surprisingly features a nice two-piece locking mechanism that connects a metal hook to a second detachable mount on the back of the iGrab. The hook worked well on belt loops we tried, and looked good. We also tested a second Rivet metal clip that looked and functioned like a standard passive belt clip; it was even easier to use, though not as distinctive looking.
Interestingly, the company is also packaging a Dash Mount clip with its QR Hook, and though one was not included in our sample package, we believe based on our earlier testing of Rivet’s products that this Mount clip relies on an adhesive backing to mount to your car. Your iPod sits in the iGrab holster, which includes a small metal mount that latches into the Dash Mount clip, which holds to your car’s dash by adhesive. In essence, the adhesive serves to hold your iPod generally in place while it dangles from the Dash Mount – a bit precarious by our standards. It’s not our favorite solution, but some people may like the iGrab system’s ability to switch between belt clipping and car mounting.
Rivet’s other version of the iGrab ($29.95) is a lanyard (necklace version) that includes the same harness, but features a Quick Release Lanyard. We tested the company’s sleek chain and its gray woven lanyard, both of which include a smart spring-loaded metal mechanism that does a great job of locking into the harness and holding the iPod safely from your neck. The sleek metal chain looks like polished sterling silver or stainless steel, with enough serpentine links to let the iPod dangle more than a fair distance from your neck. Some users - particularly small ones - may even find the dangle distance a bit excessive. Your taste for a low-riding iPod will vary based on your size and preferred “look.”
Rivet’s gray woven lanyard is more likely to fit the average person’s neck and chest at a “normal” distance. Well-made from shinier fabric than the phrase “gray woven�? would suggest, it’s attractive, imprinted repeatedly on one side with Rivet’s name and logo, and held together with a metal bolt at its bottom. While not as expensive looking as the sleek metal chain, it’s durable and matches the look of the leather harnesses equally well.
Overall, both variants of the iGrab hold the iPod pretty well and look good by the standards of younger users. While by no means as protective as full-fledged cases, the iGrabs are a fair bit more fashionable and appropriate for people who don’t mind their scratch potential. Besides drop damage caused by user error, which is entirely possible, we are somewhat concerned about possible damage when using the Dash Mount clip system, which isn’t as inherently full-sized iPod friendly as numerous other products we’ve tested. Combining adhesive, Rivet’s dangling metal ball and post, a full-sized iPod and a moving car seems like a recipe for problems. However, the iPod mini iGrab shouldn’t be as susceptible because of that iPod’s lighter weight, assuming the adhesive sticks to your car properly.
For these reasons, we would recommend the full-sized iGrabs only with lanyards and the QR Belt Hook, and think the QR Belt Hook/Dash Mount package is a bit pricey given the simplicity of its car mounting solution. The iGrab mini is a better car mount risk - if you’re willing to chance the adhesive on your car. As first dedicated iPod accessories go, these are good products, and we hope Rivet continues to plug away and develop even better ones. They have the style and the technologies in place to do even more.
Jeremy Horwitz is Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.