Belkin’s Shield Micra offers moderate protection without adding much bulk and without hiding the iPhone’s design.
Editor’s note: The clear version of the Belkin Shield Micra is one of the cases included in Apple’s iPhone 4 Case Program. For a list of all the cases offered as part of this program, as well as reviews of those cases, check out our Free iPhone 4 Case Collection.
Belkin’s Shield Micra for iPhone 4, available in clear, royal purple, or black pearl, is a transparent, plastic shell that protects the iPhone 4’s corners, back, and left and right sides. Most of the top and bottom edges of the phone are exposed to avoid blocking access to the ports and openings on those surfaces, although I did find that a few third-party headphones with especially thick miniplugs, and a few especially bulky third-party dock-connector cables, were partially blocked by the rear edge of the case.
On the left side, openings for the Ring/Silent switch and the iPhone’s volume buttons make these controls easy to access and operate. Similarly, the opening on the back of the case for the iPhone’s camera lens and LED flash is large enough for both to work properly.
As you would expect from a case Apple has chosen for the iPhone 4 Case Program, the Shield Micra covers the spot in the lower-left corner of the phone where two of its external antennas meet. If you’ve experienced reception problems due to your hand bridging those antennas, the Shield Micra should alleviate that specific reception issue. (Though speaking of holding, the Shield Micra’s plastic is surprisingly smooth, making a Micra-encased iPhone even more slippery than a bare one.)
The Shield Micra leaves the iPhone 4’s screen completely exposed; however, the left and right sides of the case extend just far enough past the iPhone’s front surface that if you set your iPhone face-down on a desk or table, dust and dirt on that surface won’t come in contact with the screen. The Shield Micra won’t, however, protect against larger objects—rocks on the ground, for example—nor does its rigid-plastic construction offer much shock protection. It’s also worth noting that while the Shield Micra protects your iPhone 4 from scratches, the case itself scratches fairly easily.
As with most iPhone cases, you can’t place your encased iPhone 4 in most dock accessories without a third-party adapter such as SendStation’s Dock Extender or CableJive’s Dock Extender Cable. (It’s fairly easy to remove your iPhone from the Shield Micra, but that’s not something you’ll want to be doing regularly.)
The Shield Micra offers moderate protection without adding much bulk and without hiding the iPhone’s design.