Review: FlexScreen for iPod nano

Silicone and polycarbonate come together to protect your iPod nano. (June 6th, 2008)

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Product Manufacturer: Griffin Technology

Price: $14.99 US

The Good

  • Soft skin and scratch-resistant video screen coverage. All ports are accessible. Skin doesn’t slip from your grasp. Good construction.

The Bad

  • No Click Wheel cover. Exposed ports.

Griffin Technology makes a variety of quality iPod accessories. Whether you choose Griffin is simply a matter of personal taste based on their product designs. I don't think I've ever evaluated a Griffin product that was made poorly or didn't perform up to its advertised specifications.

Many products in their line of iPod cases distributed in the past couple of years use two-piece hard polycarbonate covers that snap into place over your iPod. A notch in the bottom of the cases allows for easy removal with a turn of a coin. For example, the previously reviewed iPod video Centerstage Flip-Stand has stood the test of time well and shows no wear after a year of use. They've even updated and slicked up the polycarbonate cover by encasing it in quality leather in their newer $30 cases Elan Form.

The FlexScreen

Griffin's newest iPod nano case still uses the "crystal-clear, scratch-resistant" polycarbonate cover, but veers off from other designs because it's a one-sided affair. The oddly named FlexScreen gives you a full silicone case with a one-piece snap-on plastic cover to protect the more fragile front of your iPod nano. The name must refer to the flexible coverage the case gives your iPod, but I think it's somehow misleading.

The one-mm thick silicone cover leaves the bottom of the iPod open, so you have easy access to all its ports. Due to the thin silicone cover and exposed bottom, your iPod nano should fit into most stereo docks; you only need to remove the plastic face shield. I've tested it with three different iPod stereos and have not had any docking problems.

The knobby, dotted covering is easy to grip and doesn't slip out of your hands. These features make it a better choice than the iFrogz Treadz, even though the silicon is thinner. The exposed video screen gets its protection when you slip on the clear cover, called a face shield. The cover has four corner tabs that grip indentations in the silicone cover and requires two hands to remove it. Perfectionists may not like the barely visible seam lines in the corners, but I wouldn't have noticed them if I wasn't bending the case to test its strength; it is pliable, but strong. I'd rather not put it to the breakage test, and am not sure I'm strong enough to snap the cover. In addition, the cover hasn't accidentally popped off in my weeks of testing and I sincerely doubt it will, unless it is caught on something in a pocket or purse.

FlexScreen screen


The FlexScreen Two-piece Case**


The Click Wheel remains exposed, so I recommend you purchase a cover for that, unless you don't mind fingerprints and smudge. As noted in another review, iFrogz and GelaSkins offer innovative and artistic Click Wheel covers. If you want to forgo the face shield, Griffin also sells the FlexGrip, which is a two-toned version of just the silicone cover for the same price. Alternatively, if you don't want the silicone and prefer only the tough outer plastic shell, choose the $20 iClear.

Is It Enough?

While I like this case a lot, I am reluctant to pop it into my handbag without first tucking it into a small felt or cloth bag. My purse seems to collect all kinds of dust and lint from its life on the floor, so I'd rather not expose the two-part case to dirt's temptation to sneak into cracks between the pieces. I think a perfect match to this case is a full clear wrap, such as the $20 InvisibleSHIELD, available from zagg.com.

** Photo © Ilene Hoffman, 2008

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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