Staggering is the only word we’d use to describe the number of hard plastic iPod and iPhone cases we’re reviewing today — over 20 different models that we’ve been comparing to one another, as well as past cases, over the last few weeks. To help you sort through all the options, we’ve assembled a few statistics that are worth knowing up front. All of the iPod nano cases in this roundup run from $20 to $30, with most at $25 or less, while the two iPod classic cases sell for $25 to $30, iPod touch cases range from $20 to $30, and iPhone 3G cases go for $20 to $35. Virtually every case offers at least partial back and side protection, but they vary widely in front, top, and bottom coverage. Though all use plastic as their base material, they differ considerably in color options and secondary materials. This review covers Griffin’s FlexScreen for iPod nano 4G ($25).
FlexScreen is based heavily upon the same-named product for the third-generation nano, a combination of clear hard plastic faceplate and silicone rubber body shell that we reviewed last year at an aggressive price of $15. This year, Griffin has taken one step forward and two steps back.
Now, the company includes two rubber cases in the package—one frosted white, and one semi-transparent black—plus a cleaning cloth. The white case still lets the color of your nano shine through a bit, and both cases feature opaque ribbon-like designs on their backs; unfortunately, neither is as interesting in look or texture as last year’s version, which used a repeating pattern of different-sized dots to make the case grippy and eye-catching.
Apart from the blandness of the rear case designs, Griffin’s new pricing for FlexScreen isn’t as appealing to us as its predecessor’s. Whereas $15 seemed like a very good price for a simple rubber and plastic case design—aggressive pricing by iPod nano case standards—the idea of having to cough up an additional $10 this year for a second color takes the new FlexScreen out of the “great budget case” category and places it into the “fine value, if you like the look” one. We continue to prefer cases that offer either Click Wheel protection or a really sharp design at this price point; FlexScreen has only color-swapping on its side.
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G