September 18, 2008

Review: Griffin Elan Form for iPhone 3G

The Elan Form for iPhone 3G from Griffin Technology is a hard protective shell designed just for the iPhone 3G. The inner shell is made from polycarbonate and wraps around the side of the phone. The outer shell is made from “hand-matched” leather giving a nice textured feel. The package comes in three pieces; the top and bottom sections of the case, and a stiff polycarbonate screen protector. There’s also cleaning cloth.
First I cleaned the screen really well with the cloth and made sure there wasn’t any dust on the glass. I put on the stiff polycarbonate screen protector, again checking for dust particles. Next I slide the top section onto the phone. The snug fit is what holds the shell in place at the same time the edge clips in the screen protector. Lastly, I slide on the bottom section making sure the screen is inside the clips.

Update: Make sure the inside of the case and the back of the phone is very clean. Since this is a snug fit, any debris caught between the two may scratch your phone.

First impression was very nice. The feel of the leather is great compared to other cases that I’d used in the past. To me it gives a more mature or sophisticated look compared to other case in the market. It also doesn’t add too much thickness to the phone. The stiff screen protector gives a sense of superior protection over the thin stick-on skins options out there.

After a few days of use, I noticed a couple of things that started to bother me. The top and side of the iPhone where there are buttons are exposed. Since I keep my phone in my pants pocket, dust and lint tends to get into those openings. I had been blowing out the dust on a daily basis to keep it clean. Although I assume girls that carry their iPhones in their purses will not have as much of a problem. On the other hand the openings still exposes the iPhone to potential scratches. The other issue I have is with the screen protector. This stiff screen protector is not one that sticks onto the glass. It is held in place as it is sandwiched between the glass and the case as I described above as “clips in”. I had started to notice two issues from this design. One, there are moisture pockets/bubbles between the screen protector and the glass that I can’t clean off. No matter how well I clean the glass and the protector, it seems to appear when I start to use the touch screen. The other issue is one that has convinced me to replace the stiff protector with the other stick-on types. There’s a gap between the screen protector and the glass around the iPhone’s Home button. Dust and debris has gotten into this area and the only way to clean it out is to remove the whole case.

To sum it up, The Griffin Elan Form for iPhone 3G is a good buy for $29.99.

Pros: The leather gives the phone a great feel and the hard shell protects the phone well. Sliding off the bottom section to dock is easy. Give the iPhone a more sophisticated look.

Cons: Things that I hope can be improved upon are the openings of the top and side of the case. I wish a rubber layer could be built into the case to cover up the buttons to keep dust out and to prevent scratches. The screen protector’s got to go. I would buy an adhesive protector (anti glare and no finger smudged one) and use that with this Elan Form making it closer to perfection.


andy said...

Toby, excellent review and coverage of the Elan Form. I like the black on black finish. Very slick. I am using the ClearBoost and Nu form case, with similar issues on dust going into the cut outs as well. I keep a can of compressed air handy at work.

I wish I had the patience back in July to not just take what Apple had in stock (white 16GB iPhone 3G) and gotten a black one. :)

Gene said...

I've enjoyed my case for the better part of a year now. However, in the last month the leather on the bottom section has shifted to the left and both sides do not stick at all. This means that the ends are constantly getting caught on items and are allowing dirt to get between the leather overlay and the hard portion of the case. A fantastic case, but I really wish the leather wasn't glued on.

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