I've become a big fan of snap-together hard cases for my iPhone. I'm sporting a form-fitting hard case with "soft-touch" on my iPhone 3G right now, and my original iPhone is protected by the Griffin Reflect Case available in iMore Store for $24.95. If you still have the iPhone 2G and want an attractive yet functional case, read on for the full review!
The Griffin Reflect Case is packaged with a premium cleaning cloth and a static peel screen protector, some welcome additions and added value to your case purchase. Whenever I'm suiting up my iPhone with a new case, I like to thoroughly clean it first to reduce the chance of scratching, so the cleaning cloth is very handy. The screen protector is also a plus -- although the iPhone's glass screen is extremely scratch-resistant, I've found that the use of screen protectors have minimal impact on screen touch sensitivity, yet perform quite well in reducing finger smudges that are inevitable on the glass surface.
As pictured above, you will see the front and back halves of the case and the plastic packaging containing the premium cleaning cloth and the static peel screen protector. The case is constructed of durable polycarbonate to protect your iPhone. The front half is reflective in a chrome-like fashion, adding both protection and style to the front of your iPhone. The back half has a matte black rubberized surface for better gripping, reducing the chance of your iPhone slipping from your hand like a bar of soap.
This Griffin Reflect Case offers full access to your iPhone's multi-touch display, the dock connector on the bottom, as well as the speaker and microphone. The volume rocker, sound switch, headphone jack and power button are also fully accessible. On the front of the iPhone, the earpiece speaker and "home" button are exposed for easy access while the case protectively covers the rest of the phone, again without obstructing the screen in any way. There is also a cutout on the back for your iPhone's camera lens.
The two halves of the case snap together around your iPhone, encasing it in the polycarbonate protection while still offering accessibility to all controls, camera lens and screen. A benefit of this kind of case is that once the halves are snapped together, the case fits snug around the phone and allows no movement. My pet peeve about other cases, particularly rubber, is that softer cases can stretch over time and move ever-so-slightly against your phone, causing small scratches as dust and dirt get between the case and phone. The Griffin Reflect case is hard and inflexible, so once snapped into place, it won't budge a millimeter.
A downside to hard cases is related to their installation - they snap together, leaving an almost imperceptible seam around the phone. This is not a problem until you accidentally drop your phone. Although your Griffin case will offer some protection from the immediate impact, it's inevitable that the case will separate from your iPhone in the event of an extremely hard impact (like concrete, for instance) and your iPhone will be bare-naked and likely scratched and scuffed. For me, the assurance my case will not scratch my phone due to subtle case-slippage is worth the risk of what may happen if I drop my iPhone.
Added thickness is another downside to a case of this kind. The polycarbonate material is protective, but a little on the thick side. Your iPhone will appear less svelte, but it will be well-protected.
The Griffin Reflect Case for iPhone, available now for purchase at iMore Store for $24.95, is literally a snap to put together around your iPhone 2G and offers great protection while still allowing full access to the screen, camera lens, headphone jack and other controls. The reflective, chrome-like front surface is attractive and the matte black rubberized surface on the back offers protection and a more secure grip. Although there is risk of case separation if you drop your iPhone on a hard surface, the protection benefits far outweigh this risk.