Come one, come all, as we reach for a cup of our favourite hot beverage and open up the Macworld magic hat to reveal the latest in protective fashion for your favourite smartphone. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to follow up our first iPhone 4 case roundup with an updated look at what the market has to offer.
For the fashion-conscious, the Vandelay Case series ($35, currently available only through AT&T) combines tough protection with a posh exterior in either red or black. The Beetle Case series ($35) comes in seven different colors and features lightweight construction and a shock-absorbing liner. Finally, the Hidden Clip ($35), available only in black, is “engineered with a retractable clip to hook onto virtually anything.”
Cocoon’s Trek can accommodate both the iPhone 4 and its predecessor in a versatile holster design that can be attached to both backpack- and messenger-type shoulder straps. This $30 case also features a side sleeve that can be used to store wired earbuds.
Element Case, purveyors of the solid-aluminum Joule iPad stand, has started taking pre-orders for the company’s new Vapor 4, which, according to the company, is a bumper-like iPhone 4 case that’s similarly precision-crafted out of a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminium. The case features a unique ergonomic design and weighs a measly 25 grams.
The Capour comes in six color combinations and two versions: a $79 bumper-only edition or a $99 bundle that includes a carbon-fiber backplate for maximum protection.
Caze’s Swarovski Crystal case ($199) looks exactly like it sounds: It’s an iPhone 4 case encrusted with over 1,500 crystals from the fabled Austrian manufacturer Swarovski, with four colours to choose from. In addition to looking fab, you can now use your iPhone as a disco ball and as a photo-reflective surface if you ever find yourself wandering through a dark country road at night. The case comes with a free screen protector, thirty replacement crystal beads, and even a repair kit.
At the opposite spectrum of the Swarovski sits Caze’s Zero 5 Ultrathin ($20), which the company touts as the world’s thinnest iPhone 4 case, adding only 0.5mm of material to each side of your iPhone. Like its fancier counterpart, the Zero 5 comes with a screen protector, as well as a free pocket-size iPhone stand.
Griffin’s Elan Form ($30 in black leather, $35 in platinum leather) combines the protection of a hard polycarbonate case with a layer of synthetic leather to deliver both form and function. If you prefer a more modern look, the Outfit Ice ($30), with a sleek exterior available in one of four different colors, may just do the trick instead.
The Reveal Etch ($30) features a polycarbonate back coupled with extra-thin sides made of soft rubber to improve grip while only adding 1.6mm of thickness to the iPhone. Griffin also offers the Motif ($20), which sports a similar look but is made of TPU—and thus softer than polycarbonate but tougher than silicone. The $20 FlexGrip, also made of TPU, is a clear case whose minimalist, see-through looks preserve the beautiful lines of the iPhone 4 without compromising the case’s protection.
If you don’t want a full case, the company’s Elan Frame ($30 to $35, depending on the color) resembles a sturdier version of Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumper, but with the added bonus that the bottom part of the case is designed to slip off for easy docking. If, instead, you’re one of those folks who like to wear your phone while exercising, you might like the AeroSport, a $30 armband made of comfortable lycra that provides complete protection for the iPhone 4 on the go and even sports a handy pocket where you can safely stow away your house, room, or locker key.
If you’re like me, chances are that you’ve given up on a Bluetooth headset for the simple reason that those tiny things always seem to get left at home, washed with your clothes, or destroyed in a variety of other—sometimes hilarious but always expensive—ways. ID8-Mobile’s MoGo Talk XD may just be the solution to all our problems: it’s a kit made up of a Bluetooth 2.1 headset and an iPhone 4 case that’s specifically designed to store that headset—when you don’t need to use the headset, you can simply store it in the case and be sure that it will always be there for you. The $100 price for the complete kit is comparable to the cost of many high-quality headsets alone, although the case adds a bit of bulk to the otherwise slim iPhone.
iFrogz’s iPhone cases come in a wide range of models, styles, and colors. First up are the Treadz ($15) and Wrapz ($15), each made of silicone using a special treatment designed to keep dust away; the former is available only in black, while the latter can be had in one of five different colors.
If polycarbonate is your material of choice, Frogz offers the Luxe Lean ($20) in of eight solid colors, including “gun metal,” while the Luxe Original ($30) comes in a combination of black and one of several colors. The Luxe Transition ($30) is available in several two-color designs and features the same anti-dust treatment as the Treadz and Wrapz.
For those who prefer a more flexible type of protection, iFrogz’s line-up includes two cases manufactured using thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU): the SoftGloss ($20) and the Frosted Swerve ($30). Each case features a radial pattern that highlights the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone; the Swerve comes in a series of two-color combinations.
For a classier look the Fusion ($30) combines a faux-leather insert with a tough polycarbonate shell that features the same finish as the Luxe series—the kind of case Don Draper would use, if only it could double as a pocket flask (and if they had iPhones in the Fifties).
Finally, the iFrogz also offers three kinds of screen protectors: mirrored, anti-glare, and privacy. The first two cost $20 each, while the privacy model is $30. According to the company, each features superior optics and doesn’t affect image quality.
At the time of this writing, iFrogz’s iPhone 4 line-up is only available through Best Buy and AT&T retail locations, but the company plans on eventually selling the cases through its own online store, as well.
Incase’s selection of iPhone 4 cases includes the Slider Case ($35), which features a two-piece, hardshell design with full coverage of the iPhone’s bezel, an interior rubber guardrail for shock absorption, and a built-in flash ring in the back to reduce glare; it is currently available in a number of colors, with a white version slated for availability at the end of August. The Snap Case, which also costs $35, is made of a hard but lightweight material, shares many of its sibling’s features, and comes in either clear-and-glossy or black frost finishes.
As its name implies, IvySkin’s $20 Color Reception Case is all about tints: Made of polycarbonate that’s as thin as 0.6mm, the case comes in twelve different colors, including black and white; the white model can be had in glossy or matte finish.
MacAlly produces a veritable treasure trove of iPhone 4 accessories, starting with its BTKeyMini ($100), a compact, portable Bluetooth keyboard and case that works with all recent iOS devices, including the iPhone. (Sure, it’s not a case, but it does double as a stand, and it includes its own case!)
In the screen-protector category, MacAlly has two interesting offers. The first is the the ANTIFIN4 screen protector (price unavailable), which employs an antibacterial technology that minimizes fingerprint residue on the screen and comes with a film for both the front and back of the iPhone. The other is the IP-PH808P4 privacy film (price unavailable), which prevents nearby snoopers from reading your screen from any angle (and thus works in both portrait and landscape mode).
The company’s case lineup starts with the SPORTIVOP4 (price unavailable), an armband designed for active iPhone users that features lightweight construction, a transparent screen cover, and a swivel that makes it possible to position the device in either landscape or portrait orientation.
The remainder of MacAlly’s new cases all feature a handy “sticky swipe” that can be detached and used to clean your screen anytime, anywhere. While the KICKSTANDP4 ($30) doubles as both a case with a rubberized surface and as a landscape-mode stand, the company’s other offerings are of a more traditional nature. They include the METROIMDP4, made of a combination of reflective materials and rubber edges, the clear METROCP4, the ultra-thin METROBP4, and the flexible FLEXFITP4 and MSUITP4, each $30.
When ruggedness is the name of your game, Otterbox’s black Defender Series case ($50) looks like it could withstand just about anything you might throw at it, thanks to all-inclusive protection and a holster that can hold the phone both face-in and face-out—and double as a stand when called upon.
For a not-quite-as-tough-but-more-stylish look, Otterbox offers the Commuter Series case ($35), also available in black, which features three layers of padding in a more compact presentation.
This company’s Tilt bumper-style case protects the sides of your iPhone and doubles as a stand via a snap-out back panel. The Tile comes in either black or purple and costs $30 (though it’s currently on pre-order sale for $28).
If you need protection for the front of your favourite smartphone, RadTech has you covered with the ClearCal screen protector family ($13), made out of tough mylar and available in both anti-glare and transparent models.
How can you go wrong with a case whose motto is “5 DPI never looked so good?” As its name implies, Speck’s PixelSkin ($25) is a soft-silicone case that sports a texture vaguely reminiscent of the walls in a Super Mario game of yesteryear. The case features a rubbery matte finish for maximum grip and comfort, and has all the appropriate cutouts to ensure that the important bits of your iPhone remain accessible. If 5 DPI is too low for you, Speck also makes an “HD” version of the PixelSkin—“18 DPI of High-contrast Grip”—which features a more closely tiled pattern in four different colours.
The company’s Fitted case ($30) combines a hard shell with a stylish matte, soft-touch exterior. One of the seven available styles is sure to match your handbag, briefcase, or purse. If you’re looking to coordinate your iPhone with your bling, on the other hand, the GeoMetric ($30) features a combination of matte and glossy triangles that makes the case look like it was cut from a gem.
Finally, the CandyShell ($25), which comes in five different colors and is available only through AT&T stores, sports a hard exterior for protection and a soft, rubbery interior lining.
USBfever’s Silicone Bumper Case ($7) represents an inexpensive alternative to its Apple-manufactured counterpart and is made of a stretchier material in five different colors. The Holster Case for iPhone 4 ($13) allows you to store your iPhone safely without any closures and features a no-scratch inner lining to protect the iPhone’s screen.
Alongside its traditional offerings, USBfever also sells some quirkier products, such as its two feline-themed hardback covers, the Cat and Kitten, ($13 each); the Waterwear ($26), a water-resistant use-through pouch with waterproof earbuds; and the Bamboo Made Case ($27), which—you guessed it—is made entirely out of real bamboo.
The Double Protection Robotic Case ($13) rounds up USBfever’s latest offerings. As an added bonus, this case will make your iPhone look like a cooler version of the portable lifesign detectors featured in Stargate Atlantis. The company, however, does not mention whether the case will protect you from any Wraith that may be circulating amongst us incognito.