One of the nice things about the iPhone is that it’s slim enough to fit in most pockets. But some people don’t like to mix their phone with the other contents of those pockets; they prefer to have the phone easily accessible on their belt. DLO’s $35 HipCase for iPhone offers users the convenience of having their iPhone always by their side, but it may not be right for every user.
The leather HipCase is available in black and or brown (DLO also makes a nylon version for $5 less). It features a top flap that secures with Velcro that you can easily work with one hand, and a leather-covered belt clip on the back. To insert the phone, flip up the flap and slide it in. The interior is also leather, which should prevent scratches to the iPhone’s casing. While the construction of the case is solid, the fact that the belt clip is covered in leather and permanently attached means that your only choice is to use the case in its horizontal orientation. There are also openings in the case to provide access to the iPhone’s headphone jack, speaker and microphone, and Sleep/Wake button, as well as a large opening on the bottom of the case to make it easy to remove the phone from the case (you push up on the iPhone via this bottom opening).
I did find one frustration with the HipCase, and that has to do with the openings on the case. My inclination is to put the case on my right side, since I’m right-handed, and to put my iPhone in the case with the screen facing inwards and the headphone jack towards the front. In this orientation, the iPhone’s headphone jack is partially blocked by the leather strap at the front of the case, making it difficult to plug in headphones. There are a few ways to solve this. For example, you can flip the iPhone around so its screen faces outwards, but this makes the screen slightly more vulnerable and makes it easy for the Sleep/Wake button to hit the strap by accident. Or you can flip the phone around so the headphone jack faces backwards, which is what DLO shows in many of its marketing materials. That’s fine, but it’s less intuitive to me, since I have to rotate the phone after I take it out of the case. It may be a minor complaint, but it’s enough that it would prevent me from buying the case for myself; people who choose to wear the case on their left hip won’t have this problem.
As long as you don’t mind keeping your phone holstered horizontally, and you don’t suffer from the same bizarre pickiness that I do with respect to phone orientation, the DLO HipCase is a solid entry in the holster field. –Dan Moren