capsule review

KEE's Slider may have some great color combinations, but has major design flaws

At a Glance
  • Kee Utility Slider (for iPhone 4/4S)

KEE’s $30 Slider for iPhone 4/4S is a two-piece hard-shell case, and its pieces come in nine colors each—making a total of 81 possible color combinations. Despite the allure of customizability, however, I was disappointed to find this case’s soft matte finish to be easily scratched and marred, even within the short time that I tested it.

As its name implies, the Slider’s two pieces slide around your iPhone—one from the top and the other from the bottom—and meet near the center, where a tab on the bottom piece hooks onto a small ridge in the top piece. Although it is relatively simple to slip on, I had to bend the top piece a little to get around the iPhone’s volume buttons and Ring/Silent switch.

This case fits really snugly around the iPhone, and—from a design perspective—I liked that its edges were perfectly flush with the iPhone’s screen. That said, if you’re looking for something that will protect the screen, you’ll be left wanting more.

I’m willing to overlook the easy-to-scratch exterior and the lack of screen protection, but the Slider has a major flaw, and it’s a deal-breaker for me. Though it has nicely molded cutouts for the iPhone’s camera and LED flash (which weren’t affected at all by the case), volume buttons, Ring/Silent switch, Sleep/Wake button, speaker, and microphones, it lacks a cutout for the dock-connector port: you’re forced to remove the bottom half of the case every time you want to plug your phone into anything.

As I see it, there are many cases at this price point that are much more durable and functional than the Slider, but if there’s a particular color combination you’re looking for that you just can’t seem to find anywhere else (and you’re always gentle with your iPhone), the Slider performs reasonably well despite some severe limitations.

[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
  • Kee Utility Slider (for iPhone 4/4S)

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