MacMost Now 8: iPhone Cases

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at iPhone cases and why they all have issues. He reviews cases from Monster and Speck.

Video Transcript
Hi. This is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. Today I want to talk about iPhone cases. iPhone cases I kind of have a hate-hate relationship with them. I hate them all. I don't think of any of them are any good but you've got to use one. Let's go and take a look at some of the ones I've tried and some of the ones I've looked at and why none of them work really well.
So an iPhone case needs to do two things. First thing it needs to do is to protect it in case you drop it. Second thing it needs to do is it needs you to allow it to carry it with you. So in other words, it should hook onto your belt or something similar. Okay so what I used to use for part of the solution was this rubber case from In Case that fits over the iPhone and protects it in case it drops. You can see it here. There are a lot of different cases like this, for instance the one I have now is basically the same thing, a little thicker, it's from Speck. But one of the problems with this is that if you get a kind of sleeve type of container to hold it and clip it onto your belt you can't fit the iPhone in them. So in other words these things don't work together. You get one of these rubber cases to protect your phone and now suddenly about 60% of the devices that clip the iPhone to your belt won't work anymore because you can't fit both inside each other. So the problem is on one hand you have it clipped with you and it's there but as soon as you take it out and hold it in your hand you could just easily drop it and it could potentially get damaged. So, what do you do? Well you have to basically compromise and go with one or the other, go with one of these many cases here, you can see all of them form fit very closely to the phone itself which means that you won't be able to do both. So, this was a no go for me. I mean, the main thing is protect the iPhone. So I needed something a little bit better. So what I did is I used this rubber case here and I actually got a pouch, a pouch like this. This type of thing basically allowed me to go ahead and put the iPhone with the rubber pouch inside and it worked really well. But it's a little too big, it doesn't fit very well. But hey, it was cheap. I mean, I'm not even going to tell you how much this thing cost. One dollar at the Dollar Store. Really cheap.
So what's the perfect solution? Well, I tried a bunch of different things. First I tried giving up the rubber case. And I used this case right here which was the solution from Monster and I hated it. I can give a full review of this because I tried it earlier this week. So what this case was it's a leather case, forget the little keychain thing on there, I took that off. Instead there's straps on the back of it so the way the straps work is you can do it horizontal or vertical on your belt. And then the way the case works is you slip the phone in and it has a little magnet that closes it and it works really well, especially when you hold it in a store. But when you actually try to put it on your belt that's when it doesn't work because if you do it vertically like this the belt comes right in the middle which means this part sticks up into your waist. So that was no good, it was very uncomfortable. Basically I had to wear it in one position while standing and another position while sitting, a little closer to the front of my body and a little more to the side of my body depending on it. So I didn't like that at all. But here's the worst thing: if you did it sideways which worked a lot better, sort of holster style, what happens is the curvature of your body made it so that the case curved slightly and once the case curved slightly the flap wouldn't close with the magnet any more. So it was pretty much useless. So I returned that one and I was very disappointed in it. But the one thing I did like about it is that it had straps for the belt. In other words your belt went through it and there was no way for it to come off your belt. A lot of devices have clips that go on your belt and it's very easy for those to go and sort of get caught on something as you're going by, especially in the winter when you're wearing a heavier coat and suddenly your iPhone case and all goes flying away.
So what did I replace it with? I replaced it with this one from Speck. I've already shown you what the case looks like. Let's go take a closer look. Okay, so the rubber case fits tightly around it and has really thick corners so if you drop your phone it'll protect it pretty well. It's also pretty thick in the front so it's going to be pretty hard to hit this screen without hitting one of the corners first. So this works really well and it's got holes for your camera and it's got holes for the speaker and it's got nice little dents in it where you can sort of click and hit the different buttons. So, works great. This is the other part. This is the part that clips onto your belt so what happens here is you take the phone and you insert it in like this and you clip it in. Really easy to do it again while you're holding it like this, not when it's on your belt. Now what happens here in the back is you have a belt clip that you turn any which way you want. So you can have the phone vertically like this or you can have it horizontally like that. So for instance you can clip it onto your belt right there. However, this is where it kind of falls apart because this clip isn't that great. First of all, I don't like clips very much because it's too easy for them to get off your belt. This one's good because with the spin action it means it won't get hit and fall off this way, it'll spin instead. However, the big problem here is this thing. What this thing is in the top is basically a clip that you can use to stand the phone up, which is kind of nice. But here's the problem, when you clip it onto your belt your belt is here, this point comes right over and presses right into your waist, unless you're really skinny I guess. But for me it presses right into your waist. And I have a little dent now where this comes in. So that's no good. And believe me, it's a pain especially when sitting in a bucket seat in a car, really digs into you. The only thing I'm going to have to do is...well, I could return this but it wasn't that expensive, $24 at Amazon. So I'm probably going to clip this end off of it, dispense with the whole stand thing, which I probably won't use anyway and maybe it'll work then. The other problem with this is the way that the phone fits in. It's kind of hard to get out. It's easy here when I'm holding it with two hands but when it's on your belt basically it's like this, you try to get it out what happens is it bends like that. So I don't like that either. I'm also afraid, even though it's hard to get out, getting caught on something maybe just at the right point might take it out by itself and I might lose my iPhone. So not too happy with this. But one good thing about it is you can either way because it's kind of stupid to carry your phone like this with the screen facing out. It's a lot more sensible to turn it around and carry it like this with the back facing out. That makes a lot more sense. So this case itself is probably one I'm going to keep even if I have to mod it.
So what's my ideal iPhone case? Well, it would start with a rubber cover like this to protect it in case it drops. Then it would probably have a very simple pouch, not a big one like this but something that was a lot smaller and fit the phone perfectly. It would have a cover that somehow latched into place really well; maybe with something really basic like a snap or latch or something. Velcro wears out too easily and a magnet is too easy to open. And then, most importantly it would have a loop for the belt, not some sort of thing that fits over that could easily come off. If someone who made something like that I would definitely buy it but out of the dozens out there no one makes one. So I'll have to stick with the best thing I could find right now which is probably this one from Speck.
That's all for today so everybody have a great weekend. This is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 6 Responses to “MacMost Now 8: iPhone Cases”

    12/7/07 @ 1:52 pm

    3 hours after recording this video, the Speck case I talk about in this video broke apart while getting into my car. It snaps back together, but I now have to add “unreliable” to the list of things wrong with it.

    Daniel
    12/7/07 @ 5:22 pm

    Hi Gary;
    Have you tried the Otterbox iPhone Case?
    True, it has a clip but the iPhone is cover front back and sides. With openings for
    camera, speaker, mic and ear speaker (most cover by filter screen).

    Not a case you’ll remove your iPhone nightly but as a cop, my phone really feels safe to me.

    Marc
    12/8/07 @ 5:01 pm

    Gary,

    The case your after does exist.

    Case-Mate – Signature Leather iPhone Case
    http://www.case-mate.com/phones/apple/iphonesignature

    There is another (slightly better) than the case above, but I can remember the brand at the moment.

    I personally use this one

    http://www.macally.com/EN/Product/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=181

    it’s cheap and I would rather carry it in my pocket then on my belt. I have lost cell phones that way and I don’t want to lose the iPhone this way.

    john
    12/11/07 @ 8:58 pm

    Gary, I use a combination of the griffin snap on leather cover and a krusell case that was made for the treo. It is a little big though but it has a magnetic snap and a memory card holder as well. It has worked great for me. Good Luck!

    2/20/09 @ 2:14 pm

    I am looking for an iPhone 3G case that will loop thru my belt, not just clip onto my belt. I have seen other people with them. Just can’t find one. Ideas?

    2/20/09 @ 2:25 pm

    Gerry: I know what you mean. I know there are some, but a specific name isn’t coming to mind. If you are near an Apple store, you can look through their selection. Otherwise, try searching Amazon.

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