While Belkin was among the first to market a case (Kickstand) designed to transform a video-enabled iPod into a little mini-television for travellers, Griffin quickly followed that lead, introducing its Centerstage.
The Centerstage is a clear tough polycarbonate case for iPods. It’s a two-part system that ships with two backs, one for the 30GB iPod, the other sculpted to snugly fit the 60GB and 80GB fifth-generation models. These slightly frosted backs clip securely to the clear front section. Also made in clear plastic, the front section lacks any protection for the scroll wheel, but does feature an anodizsed aluminium cover, which flips open to create a stable iPod stand. When flipped, your iPod leans back slightly, but stands up, so you can sit at a table (or on a train or plane) and watch your iPod movies – or image collections – in hands-free comfort.The angle of view you get isn’t adjustable – you could try leaning your media player against a book for a similar effect.
Different Centerstages are available with your choice of silver, blue, pink, or black aluminium cover. The clear plastic extends across the iPod’s screen, but is of sufficiently high quality that it doesn’t occlude the movies or images your’re watching on screen.
As a case, Centerstage offers no protection for the iPod’s various ports, switches or the click wheel. While all these remain completely usable when in the case, this lack of additional protection means Centerstage isn’t an ideal choice if you are looking to protect your player from dust or moisture. Centerstage is more effective as protection against accidental impact.
When you want to connect your iPod to a dock or other dock-connecting devices you’ll have to get used to separating the two halves of the case. Once you get fluid at achieving this, the Centerstage does provide a level of protection, along with the handy (but perhaps slightly gimmicky) feature of doubling up as a stand.
It’s worth noting that the Centerstage doesn’t have a belt clip, meaning that if you choose to purchase it you’re doing so for just one reason, as an iPod companion that offers some protection and lets you look at the screen at a comfortable angle. In terms of overall protection there are better cases available. In summary, it’s a nice notion but a little short of extra features.