Apple iPod Skin Shootout: Generic vs. GriffinJune 17th, 2008 by Michael Kwan
So, you’ve got yourself a shiny new Apple iPod nano and you’re in the market for something to keep your musical investment protected from the elements. You’re wondering if you should stick to the name brands or if just any old protective case will do. That’s where I come in.
The good people at Griffin were nice enough to supply me with a FlexScreen protective skin for the iPod nano. It retails for $14.99 and offers all-over protection for your third-generation iPod nano. Seems like a decent deal, right?
Well, you can get almost the same thing but in generic form through a variety of sellers on eBay. Some time before Griffin sent me the FlexScreen, I hopped online and bought a pack of five skins for my iPod through eBay. The total cost including shipping for these five silicone skins? Ten bucks. That works out to two dollars each, or about 13% of the price of the Griffin FlexScreen.
What is it, exactly, that warrants such a difference in price? It’s just a silicone skin, after all, so there isn’t all that much there in terms of design or build quality. Well, I can’t say that the Griffin FlexScreen for the iPod nano doesn’t come with some differences. First off, included in the package is a clear polycarbonate protector that goes on the front face. This is meant to protect the screen; the generic skin does not offer this kind of protection.
The back side of the Griffin FlexScreen is also different than the generic version. The Griffin has a bumpy texture on the back that is meant to provide added grip, whereas the generic iPod skin is smooth with a couple of slots where you can thread an armband. I actually prefer the latter design, because the bumps on the Griffin just aren’t pleasant. I’m not a fan of a miniature acupressure on my fingers.
Another advantage that the generic skin has over the Griffin FlexScreen is that it protects the click wheel with a thin layer of silicone. The FlexScreen leaves the click wheel portion exposed to the elements, giving it yet another area to accumulate debris and other nasty things. The ideal solution for me, in this way, would combine the click wheel protection of the generic silicone skin with the polycarbonate cover of the Griffin FlexScreen.
So, who’s the big winner of this Apple iPod skin shootout? Unfortunately for the brand whores in the audience, the victory has to go to the generic skin. It’s hard to justify paying more than seven times as much for a near identical product. That clear polycarbonate cover is not worth $13 to me.