Agent 18’s $35 EcoShield+ for iPhone 4 is a two-piece hardshell case that’s made of recycled plastic and available in black or white. The case itself feels less solid and sturdy than others we’ve looked at, but at the same time it incorporates several features that improve protection in certain areas. For example, there’s a sliding door that can seal off the iPhone’s headphone jack when not in use, although this door also covers the iPhone 4’s second microphone, which is used for FaceTime calls and noise reduction. Similarly, the phone’s Sleep/Wake button and volume buttons are covered by the case but still usable through it, but as with many cases that cover these buttons, I find it much harder to press them through the EcoShield+ case than I’d like. Also, thicker dock connector cables should connect properly with the case on, although headphones with larger plugs may not work.
The case’s other really interesting feature is protective, functional, and mildly frustrating all at the same time. On the bottom of the case, you’ll find a hinged piece of plastic that covers the phone’s 30-pin dock-connector port, but has cut outs for the speaker and main microphone to avoid hindering sound. Flip this hinged piece open and it becomes an integrated kickstand that props up your iPhone at a comfortable viewing angle on a desk or table. However, the only way to get to the dock-connector port to charge or sync your iPhone is to open the stand—which means your encased phone won’t fit in the cradle of any charging dock or speaker system, and the phone itself must be angled back or set down on its face to plug in Apple’s dock-connector cable. You can instead just remove the bottom section of the case, but that’s an extra hassle.