Review: Griffin Reveal Case for iPhone 3G & 3GS

Griffin Reveal Case

The Griffin Reveal ($25) is a hard plastic case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS that features a clear plastic back and a solid-colored rim. It’s an extremely thin and lightweight case that maintains the original look and feel of the iPhone more than any case we’ve seen so far. However, huge flaws in how the case handles the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons as well as durability issues prevent us from recommending it. We rate it a 5.5 out of 10, not recommended.

Griffin Reveal On iPhone 3GS

Right out of the box, the Reveal did not start off on a good note. There was a hairline crack near the case’s camera hole as well as scratches on the clear plastic. The case didn’t appear to be repackaged, so we’re a bit at a loss what caused it to be shipped in this condition.

The case consists mostly of clear plastic with a surrounding colored rim available in 7 colors. We chose the black rim for our black iPhone 3GS, and it blended in well with the original look of the iPhone.

It wasn’t easy to snap the iPhone into the case, and it was even harder to remove. In fact, I was worried I was going to damage either the iPhone and/or the case (didn’t happen). The good news is that the case fits tight and securely on the iPhone—there were absolutely no worries it would ever accidentally slip off.

Griffin Reveal Top View

The Reveal’s best characteristic is its minimal profile. Not only is it slim and lightweight, its texture is similar to the iPhone as well. Holding it feels exactly like holding the original iPhone, which may not be so great if one of things you’re tying to solve with a case is the iPhone’s slipperiness.

Griffin Reveal Covers Volume Buttons

That’s where the positives end. Most problematic about the Reveal is how it handles the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons. It covers them completely with stiff plastic that not only takes away all tactile feel, it makes it difficult to operate the buttons. I frequently had to press the buttons several times with great force in order to get the buttons to work, hurting my fingers. It’s a disastrous design flaw.

Griffien Reveal Headphone and Sleep Button

Also disappointing was how easily scratched the clear plastic of the case is. Within just a few days of normal use, the back of the case was completeley covered with scratches. And thanks to the clear plastic, the scratches are more noticeable than normal.

In terms of protection, the only thing the Reveal safeguards against is scratches to the back of your iPhone. Being a thin, hard-shell case, there is no shock absorption for accidental drops.


The Griffin Reveal case’s slim profile and clear back maintain the original look and feel of your iPhone. But a design flaw in the way it covers the iPhone’s buttons makes it difficult to use the iPhone properly, ruining any chance for the case to land our recommendation. We rate it a 5.5 out of 10, not recommended.


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3 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    The small “hairline” crack you speak of, is actually just a seam in the plastic, and as for the case getting all scratched up…isn’t that what cases are for? To protect the actual back of your iphone?

  2. Jeremy says:

    Just thought I’d follow up on this review in case anyone is looking for reviews on the 4G version. In response to Andrea’s comment, my reveal case doesn’t have this “hairline” scratch, so I don’t think it’s a seam. Also, this phone does an absolutely terrible job of protecting the back of the actual phone. I put the case on when my iPhone 3G was brand new. I only take it off to clean the dust out of the back. Well, the back now looks like it went through a war. The case scratches the hell out of the phone. Please stay away from this case if you really want it for “protection”.

  3. jp says:

    I have a follow up as well to Jeremy’s post. I just upgraded from 3g to 3gs last month and bought my Griffin Reveal case the same day. I’ve had my case on for over a month and took the phone out a few times to check for scratches and to clean it off. I personally haven’t had the problem with the case scratching my phone. I think it’s a really good case with the exception of the hard rocker buttons on the side and top and the fact that it’s really difficult to take the case off. I figure protecting the finish of my phone is more of a big deal to me than the nuisance of hard buttons. It doesn’t bother me that much. But just putting it out there that my iphone has stayed protected no scratches at all using this case 24/7 on my brand new iphone.

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