capsule review

Wrangler Case for iPhone can't overcome its numerous flaws

At a Glance
  • IvySkin Wrangler Case for iPhone 4/4S

IvySkin's $50 Wrangler Case for the iPhone 4/$S is designed to take a beating. It's a solid idea, but it's marred by poor design decisions.

The case consists of several pieces: You put the included glass screen cover in place over the iPhone's screen, then slide your iPhone into a front piece that spans the length of the phone. Then you slide a third piece over the back of the phone and lock everything in place. And by locked, I mean locked. This is not a case that comes off easily—when it’s on, it’s really on.

But before you slide all those pieces together, you need to get the included rubbery button overlays—they cover the Ring/Silent switch, the volume buttons, the Home button, and such—in place. Rather than building the buttons into the case, as other vendors do, IvySkin requires you to line everything up and then slide the aforementioned pieces together without any of the button covers slipping out of place. It’s as simple as herding cats or juggling water.

At least when it comes to the Home button, Ivyskin had a reason to design the Wrangler this way: The box includes two separate Home button covers, so you can choose the color you prefer. (The black Wranger I tested included black or bright red.) But the other button covers simply match the case color, and they’re very difficult to keep in place properly. They're also very tiny, and when I opened the Wrangler's box, they went flying—they’re no fun to find.

Unfortunately, while the idea of swappable Home-button covers is interesting, I didn’t like the actual button overlay. The iPhone's Home button is concave, and your thumb rests comfortably inside its depression when using the button. With the Wrangler’s overlay in place, the Home button instead bulges out. I found the overlay's tactile feedback unsatisfying, and worse, that it was far too easy to depress the button unintentionally. With my Wrangler-clad iPhone in my pocket, I unintentionally activated Siri far too often.

Another issue with the Wrangler involves its “polarized glass Touch-Thru screen grill.” Despite polishing my iPhone’s screen with the included microfiber cloth, I was unable to insert my phone into the case without at least a small rainbow effect on the screen.

Assuming you’re a better screen polisher than I am, you get the buttons lined up adequately, the convex Home button doesn’t bother you, and you don’t mind that the difficulty involved in removing the case from your iPhone, is the Wrangler worth considering? I don't think so. The glass screen cover lacks the iPhone screen's oleophobic coating and smudges far too easily; the dock-connector-port cover feels flimsy; and the case feels a bit too slippery in hand. While the overall design looks nice, it's not attractive enough to help you overlook the case’s numerous flaws.

At a Glance
  • IvySkin Wrangler Case for iPhone 4/4S

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