Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Griffin Clarifi iPhone 3G case review (close-up lens) Clarifi W Easydock Iphone 3G: Camera & Photo

I dropped my iPhone four feet to the basement floor the other day. It bounced nicely, but I decided it was time to spring for the Clarifi and its close-up lens.

The good news it that I can now take great close-up pictures of text. Business cards, journal article titles, newspaper headlines -- no problem. I'll be doing this a lot, in combination with Evernote's storage.

The bad news is that it bulks up my iPhone. It feels much heavier and thicker. I'm sure there's a lot of perception in this, but I wonder if I'll end up deciding it's too much bulk for every day use.

The case is black, so my white iPhone is now hard to find in the dark. Kind of defeats the purpose. I put a white Apple sticker on one side, and I'll look for something neon green to add. I hate loosing expensive hardware.

The magnifying lens has an obvious design flaw. There's a mild locking indent in the closed position, but not lock indent in the open position. Sigh. Let's hope this gets fixed in a future version.

I suggest try before you buy. You could try any hard shell case to test the bulk effect, they're all pretty similar. If you are going to get a polycarbonate case, the macro lens makes this the best bet.
I bought the case from TechNGnet, an Amazon-associate I'd never heard of. No-one else had any in stock, and Griffin forces direct buyers to set up a username and password. I hate doing that.

TechNGnet did well, but like most associates they charge a goodly shipping fee. $7 in this case, but it did come very quickly. Even with the shipping fee they were less expensive than Griffin, and I didn't have to setup a un/pw to order.

Update 10/30/08: I'm tolerating the extra bulk of the case, and I haven't had too much trouble with the lens obscuring photos. The macro ability makes the iPhone camera far more useful for me. One unexpected benefit is that I'm not accidentally switching the phone into vibrate mode. The case protects the 'silencer' switch; it now only moves when I want it to.

Update 11/8/08: Pocket crud gets trapped behind the sliding lens -- so you need to spend more time cleaning the lenses than normally. The lens should be kept closed when the case is stowed; this would be easier if it had a much stronger open/close detent.

Update 3/21/2010: I finally pried off the lens and turned this into a regular case. The fatal flaw was the lack of a proper indent. The lens would ruin pictures by sliding into place. The cheap plastic lens was also a dust magnet, and very hard to clean.


josephayoung said...

Thanks for the review. I was looking at this product a while ago and appreciate you taking the plunge for all us online shoppers. They need to merge all the great iphone accessories like the juice pack, magnifier, hard case and make one super accessory. One accessory to rule them all.

*nen said...

Thanks for a great review. I just wish the case wasn't so ugly. I need the lens with Evernote, but am not looking forward to ruining a design classic with such an awful-looking case.