I've reviewed a dozen of iPod and iPhone protective cases on the mobile experience blog. Most from Griffin and some are hits while a few can use some improvements. Until today, I've always thought the Griffin ClearBoost for my first generation iPhone was the best as it has dual functions of product enhancement and protection (with a small flaw in its ability to lock tightly). After seeing the new Griffin Clarifi MSRP $35 (on sale at Amazon around $23), I have officially declared this case to be the best I've ever seen for an iPhone. It looks amazing and really enhances the iPhone's camera feature.
Design - For the most part, the Clarifi case is structurally very similar to the Griffin Nu Form case that I have reviewed. In the same way, it has the 2-pc. easy-docking design where your iPhone slips in from under and excellent fit 'n finish near all the cut-outs. The improvement of the Clarifi is the much preferred peel-n-stick LCD protector which is what I have on the ClearBoost as well. The color is black, simple and no-frills. It has a two-tone finish with the same high-reflective finish in the middle portion on the back cover and black rubberized gripping material (over the now familiar "easy docking" design for easy removal). I like black cases in general, it just works on an iPhone creating a stealthy look, down playing the bling-factor. The most famous design factor of the Clarifi is probably its built-in lens cover on the back, which is a good segue into the next section.
Function - My iPhone's camera now works better with the built-in lens on the backcover for macro or close-up shots. I'll specify that it works within a certain range. I noticed it being best at a distance of 4" to 6" from an object. I took some comparison shots over a page from a New York Magazine as a test and the results are astounding. The image to the right is taken with the lens from the backcover which clearly produced a sharper image, I did noticed the sharper image is a little bigger in terms of file size compared to the image w/o the les (roughly 100K vs 177K). As I've mentioned before, I've been taking advantage my smartphone's ability as a photo-scanner to take important documents with me on the go or email directly to recipients; but often time, macro shots of closeup subjects would appear blurry. Also mentioned here, my friend Alex has a $7 Radio Shack iPhone macro solution which takes amazing pictures but requires you to carry something in addition to your iPhone all the time. This case does it all, it protects your iPhone 3G with elegant design and improves the camera zoom.
Hands down, I am very excited and happy with this case. It is by far, the coolest case I've ever seen and its no wonder why Griffin Technology has been nominated as the best accessories maker of the year by iLounge. Great design and fun is what its all about. MSRP $34.99.