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Case Review: Griffin Reveal for iPhone 4

The Griffen Reveal ($10) is an update of the existing 3G Reveal case (review), now adapted to fit the iPhone 4. The case is composed of a clear hard plastic back surrounded by a color silicone frame (black for our review unit) that, when applied, completely covers the iPhone’s stainless steel antennae and helps alleviate any signal degradation from touching with bare skin. The Reveal manages to add a small amount of protection to the iPhone, and its slim profile maintains the mad new retro styling of the iPhone 4. It’s not a perfect case, however, as the clear plastic back shows off dirt and scratches too well (why cover Apple’s hard-to-scratch glass with highly scratchable plastic?), and its minimal protection keeps it from being a top-tier case.

With the $25 Reveal, Griffin is obviously trying to make something that offers light protection from wear-and-tear, that lets owners show off that, yes, they have the swanky new iPhone, all the while maintaining the iPhone 4’s “thinnest smartphone” profile. In our minds, they’ve succeeded. The case is very lightweight, adding only 2 grams to the iPhone’s overall weight and keeping it highly pocketable. Even with the case, you’ll still be able to maintain Apple’s claim of the world’s “thinnest smartphone.”

The Reveal covers the volume and lock buttons with its own simulated buttons, and there are cutouts for direct access to the mute switch, headphone port and noise-canceling mic, dock port, speakers, rear camera, and its associated LED flash. The responsiveness of the buttons beneath the silicone is completely acceptable, and access to the rest of the ports and switches is unhindered.

There are a couple of nice little touches that we liked about the Griffin Reveal. Having a cover with its own unique feel over the rear of the phone helps me orient it automatically when I pull it out of my pocket, something I have trouble with a naked iPhone 4, as both the front and back glass are identical to the touch. The headphone opening is also larger than Apple’s Bumper case, which means I can actually use my ear-buds on this.

Of course, it wouldn’t exist without a downside or two — but they’re minor. It’s quite easy for dust and fluff to get caught between the back panel and the rear of the phone, and it shows up starkly against the plain black of the body. The silicone frame doesn’t look as good as the plastic/silicone framing provided by the Apple Bumper, but the Reveal is by no means ugly. Also, any frame covering the iPhone’s stainless steel antenna removes probably the most unique styling element of the iPhone 4: the cool retro clash of the shiny steel with the glossy black or white.

Conclusion

The Griffin Reveal ($10) adds only two grams to the overall weight of your phone, and scant millimeters on either side. It doesn’t quite excel in any particular area (protection, style), but it’s a capable case that won’t cost an arm and a leg, maintains the iPhone’s slim profile, and it’s clear back lets you show off that you have an iPhone 4. We give it a light recommendation with a rating of 6.9 out of 10.

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