Tips & Stories

Snap Razor-Sharp Business Cards with Evernote and Clarifi

Posted by Phil Libin on 18 Nov 2008

Posted by Phil Libin on 18 Nov 2008

I love using Evernote to remember business cards.

Before starting with Evernote, I don’t think I’d successfully used a business card. I mean, I’d never actually found someone’s contact information by digging a business card from the alpine masses of indiscriminate paper which accumulate in and around my various desks, backpacks and pockets. Not any more; with Evernote, I immediately snap any business card that I want to remember with the closest camera at hand (usually my phone or laptop webcam), and rest easy knowing that I’ll always be able to find it instantly from any phone or computer.

[Clarifi demo video]

One big nuisance: the camera on the iPhone, my current cellphone of choice, is not very good at taking pictures of close-up objects. To use the iPhone for business cards, you have to get pretty proficient at holding the card very steady and at arm’s length, and even then the results are sometimes disappointing.

Griffin has completely solved this problem with their new Clarifi case for the iPhone 3G. In a three word review: it’s amazingly great.

The Clarifi fits snugly over your iPhone and comes with a little sliding macro lens letting you take clear close-up shot of business cards, receipts and anything else you can think of (I can only think of business cards and receipts). Here’s an example before and after photo of a hand-held business card:

I’ve been using the Clarifi case for a couple of weeks now and the only time I temporarily took my iPhone out of it was to film the demo movie at the top of this post.

The case is $35 direct from Griffin. If you buy it from the links on this page, Evernote gets a small affiliate commission, so please consider buying one for everyone in your family or town.


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22 Comments RSS

  • Eric

    I would love to have one of these cases for my HTC TOUCH! At the moment, I’ve taken apart a pair of dollar store toy binoculars and keep the large lens in my pocket (in an SD card case) for these macro shots.

    Sure it’s inconvenient, but it works.

  • Webslog

    Wow Phil. Thanks for the mention and a great way to use Clarifi. I’ve been using Evernote for about a week now and amazed at the breadth of stuff I can do with it. Keep up the good work Cheers. Web Webster, creative director

  • Shawn Broderick

    very cool, phil!


  • John Holland

    Sounds great. Can anybody confirm if it works for the original iPhone? It just says 3G on the website.

  • Troy Malone

    I just purchased this late last week. Hopefully I will get it soon! I remember seeing the case at your offices and I knew I had to get it.

    Goodbye bulky business cards!!

    Thanks Phil.

    Troy Malone

  • Phil Libin


    The case DOES NOT fit on the original iPhone. I tried. It’s a nicely snug fit on the 3G, which has slightly different physical dimensions.

  • Joe

    Loving Evernote and the Clarifi, In case you were wondering you can still using the Docking Station with the case.

  • Karen T

    I need this.

    Since I know you guys love user tips, Phil, and you said you could only think of biz cards and receipts, I’ll mention that I make snapshot notes of photo transparencies and of magazine pages on a routine basis, in cases where I’m shipping images off to be scanned or otherwise acquired but need to make notes about them for myself in the meantime (intent, contact info, related requests, whatever). Quality isn’t important enough for me to scan the pages — and I don’t have a film scanner — but a higher-quality snapshot would be most welcome. So I’m glad to know about the little sliding lens business. Thanks—

  • Tim Cox

    I know you guys get a commission from Griffin, but I posted a quick and free alternative for those of us who don’t like iPhone cases:

  • Chad O

    Phil, you convinced me to buy one, and I like it a lot. I’ve posted a review of it, and discussed using Evernote with it:

    These two make a great combination, and I was impressed with how fast the images were imported and the text recognized.

    Thanks again,

  • Frederik De Buck

    Does anybody know if it’s available in Europe (Belgium) ?

    I checked the shipping costs on the Griffin website, and they are about as much as the case itself. That’s a bit over the top for me…

  • CG

    You can buy it frpm apple store, mine came today, ordered two days ago

  • Will Thalheimer

    My Samsung Omnia has this capability built in. Standard. Works great too.

  • Vince

    That’s a good Pho place. ;O)

  • macpug

    Unfortunately, the Clarifi doesn’t work for folks with the original iPhone. BUT, there is an awesome (free) solution!

    If you have a Target store around you, ask the pharmacist for one of their free ClearRx magnifiers. It’s a little 2inch thin strip magnifier used to read prescription bottle labels.

    Hold it over your iPhone’s camera lens and snap away. It’s not as easy as the Clarifi, but the quality is amazing, thanks to a 9X magnification (don’t know what the Clarifi is).

    I’ve been using one of those for my original iPhone with Evernote and I use it dozens of times weekly. Hope this helps some of you guys 😉

  • Charlie

    A nifty idea – but I think it would make a lot more sense for Apple to have just put a decent camera with a decent lens and a halfway decent zoom in the first place – it’s one of the things that really lets the iPhone down in my opinion.

  • Gerd

    Does it work with the 3Gs?

  • kevin

    Or….just use “jotnote” 😉

  • Håvar I. Henriksen

    Does this improve pictures taken on an iPhone 3G[S]?
    I would guess that this isn’t needed on a 3Gs, since it has autofocus.

  • Bob True

    is there an updated or similar product for the iPhone 4s? I’m not finding one?

    • Andrew Sinkov

      They don’t make a cover like this for the iPhone 4/4s because those devices have built in camera focus.


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