Some people are lucky enough to need only their iPhone and a couple credit-card-sized items when venturing out into the world. Case-Mate’s $35, awkwardly named iPhone 4 Credit Card Case understands this aspiration for personal minimalism, and it comes in a handful of colors to fit in with your wardrobe. The case covers the sides and back of your iPhone 4 with a thin, plastic shell, with openings for accessing all of the phone’s ports and switches (though you’ll need to remove your iPhone from the case to use a docking-cradle accessory). Case-Mate includes a microfiber cleaning cloth, a thin-film screen protector, and an film-application card to smooth things out.
The ID Credit Card Case is a little bit of a humpback, but in a good way. As its name suggests, Case-Mate added some extra room to the back of the case to fit up to two credit-card sized items. I found that two credit cards can get a little snug back there, but are still fairly easy to slip in and out on a daily basis. A credit card and an ID fit even better, though being the mass-transit user that I am in Chicago, I wish Case-Mate had made room for three cards—ID, credit card, and train pass.
Generally, I found that this case serves its purpose well. The iPhone 4 is ridiculously thin for a smartphone, so there was plenty of room in my jeans for the added bulk of the case and the cards it can carry. One drawback, however, is that our review unit seemed to be a sliver too tall, and my iPhone could shift up and down in the case ever so slightly. However, the phone stays secure in the case, and shifts only with a little force, so this isn’t a deal breaker.
I found the ID Credit Card Case’s texture and finish to strike the right balance between shiny and sticky. While the case picks up fingerprints as deftly as the iPhone itself, the ID Case is easy to grip but also slides easily in and out of pockets.
If you can get by with an iPhone and two credit-card sized items, Case-Mate’s iPhone 4 Credit Card Case is a good option at a nice price, especially since the company tosses in a screen protector.