capsule review

The MonCarbone HoverCoat wraps your iPhone 4/4S in sleek carbon fiber

At a Glance
  • MonCarbone Hovercoat (for iPhone 4/4S)

MonCarbone’s $50 HoverCoat for the iPhone 4/4S is a minimalist, lightweight hard-shell case expertly hand-crafted from carbon fiber. This luxurious case radiates quality in every facet of its design, living up to carbon fiber’s reputation for rigidity, minimal weight, and distinctive style.

The case fits snugly around the back and sides of the iPhone, and putting it on is a simple matter of slipping the phone in. There are no clips or snaps, and although I was initially wary that the case might slide off of my iPhone while in use, I didn’t notice any slippage at all over the few days that I tested it. It appears that the case’s tight fit combined with a loose grip causes enough suction to keep it securely in place.

Merely eight grams and 0.6mm thick, the HoverCoat adds barely any size to the iPhone, though its light weight belies the strength of its carbon fiber construction: I felt secure in its ability to protect the back and sides of my phone in a short fall. That said, it doesn’t protect your iPhone’s screen at all, so you might consider purchasing a screen protector along with it. It has cutouts for all of the iPhone’s ports and buttons as well as its camera and flash, and because it’s so thin, the HoverCoat never inhibits the use of any of the iPhone’s external hardware—buttons and camera included—though you may need to remove the case when using certain dock-connector accessories.

The glossy coating on the Midnight Black version I tested feels similar to the iPhone’s glass front and back, which, combined with its thin design, makes the case a treat to slip in and out of a pocket. It also comes in a raw carbon fiber finish called Mystery Black.

The HoverCoat is opinionated. It knows what kind of case it wants to be, and it excels in its category. If you don’t like the look of carbon fiber—or if you prefer a bigger case that’ll provide more protection for your iPhone’s screen—this might not be the case for you. But if you don’t mind cases that trade all-over protection for compactness (and if you like the carbon fiber weave design) you’re sure to enjoy this minimalist effort from monCarbone.

[Frank Tisellano is a user-interaction designer, born and raised in New York City. When he gets fed up with markup, he plays hockey or writes about technology, politics, and design at his blog.]

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At a Glance
  • MonCarbone Hovercoat (for iPhone 4/4S)

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