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Apple iPod Skin Shootout: Generic vs. Griffin

June 17th, 2008 by

Griffin FlexScreen protective skin for iPod nano 3rd generation

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.

Griffin FlexScreen protective skin for iPod nano 3rd generation

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.

Griffin FlexScreen protective skin for iPod nano 3rd generation

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.

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Michael Kwan Freelance Writer

8 Responses to “Apple iPod Skin Shootout: Generic vs. Griffin”

  1. Jorge says:

    Price is really a factor here. But the Griffin looks more “protective”. But is way too expensive.

    • Stephen says:

      I’ve found the polycarb ones scratch easily. At least if you get sick of the silicon one or it rips or something, you can just replace it cheaply.

  2. Nick says:

    In the meantime, you have a variety of skins and change your ipod skin to match your mood or your outfit…

  3. It’s not that the skin is more expensive, it’s more of an investment for the well being of your iPod, and that is the important part. Whats a few bucks for a few hundred bucks?

    • Michael Kwan says:

      That’s the thing. I don’t think the Griffin case offers any better protection than the generic one. The polycarbonate cover is nice and all, but you might be happier with just a standard screen protector instead.

  4. Derek says:

    Maybe if I win one of those Nanos from Computex I’ll have to look into a generic skin, as it certainly doesn’t sound like the name brand gets you any more protection for the money. Although I’ve never been a fan of the skins for any device, I usually just try to take care of it and hope for the best.

  5. betshopboy says:

    I’m never a supporter of these silicon protective skin for my mobile devices, the look and its rubbery feel turns me off.

    With my mobile gadgets that have ample screen “real-estate”, all I need is a standard screen protector and I’m good to go.

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