As one of the unfortunate souls who can tell you what happens when an iPhone has an unplanned encounter with a large amount of water, I can personally vouch for the fact that sometimes it's good to have protection that might look a little out of the ordinary. In that spirit, this week's case roundup features a mix of elegance and practicality, from luscious leather to vacuum-sealed toughness.
CalypsoCase: This company's leather cases (iPhone 4 and 4S; €89) are now available with a special loop construction in addition to the company's signature ring edge. Designs include Tokyo Breeze, Dubai Hills, Superstar in Milan, and Paris Raindrop, all built by hand using premium Italian leather, a laser-cut titanium frame, and designer microfabric.
DryCase: What's crystal clear, vacuum-sealed, and waterproof to a depth one hundred feet? Yes, I know—it sounds like a late-night TV informercial, but this DryCase's iPhone Case (fits all iPhone and iPod touch models; $40) seems to live up to the hype. Designed to withstand full submersion, every case is tested overnight before shipping, and it can accommodate any iPhone or iPod model (as well as other similar-sized cameras and electronics).
KillSpencer: The Zebrawood Veil (iPhone 4 and 4S; $30) is a panel of zebrawood maple venier that can be applied directly to the back of your iPhone to both protect the glass from scratches and give the phone a unique look. The panel's industrial-grade adhesive makes installation quick, but the company claims it's also easy to remove without leaving unwanted residue.
MiniWiz: The next time you throw away a plastic bottle, it might end up in one of Miniwiz's cute and most-definitely ecofriendly Re-Case cases (iPhone 4 and 4S; $25). Made entirely of rice-farming byproducts and post-consumer recycled plastic, the Re-Case is available in white, black, grey, purple, green, or brown. It even features enough extra room for fitting an RFID card (such as a recent credit card) alongside the back of your device.
Phone In Case: This company's cases (iPhone 4 and 4S; $10 to $25) are constructed entirely of a bio-degradable resin made with plant materials. Each is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, and their affordable prices make them worthy of consideration.
PowerSkin: The PowerSkin (iPhone 4 and 4S; $80) combines a robust case made of soft, silicone rubber with an external rechargeable battery that doubles the use time provided by your iPhone. The case also features an LED battery-status indicator, as well as an on/off switch.
SwitchEasy: The Lanyard (iPhone 4 and 4S; $20) is made of durable polycarbonate plastic with a special textured coating for extra grip and surface durability. It also features a lanyard attachment to make it easier to accessorize your iPhone, and it comes in black, white, green, red, orange, blue, lime, or purple.
USBFever: The Eggshell Case (iPhone 4 and 4S; $20) is “as light and thin as an eggshell,” says the company, though it's made out of tough polycarbonate to keep your phone safe. The case is available in clear, pink, orange, red, turquoise, purple, black, or frosty white, and it includes a rubber stand that doubles as a cable winder.
Updated 11/14/2011, 9:55am to correct duration of DryCase testing.