Patterico's Pontifications


Bleg: Best Case for iPhone

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

I just got the phone in the mail but don’t have a case. Here’s what I want:

  • An open-faced design so I never have to take it out of the case
  • Something not too bulky
  • Protection for when (not if) I drop it

Your thoughts?

51 Responses to “Bleg: Best Case for iPhone”

  1. here is a good song what has been in my head since I heard it yesterday. You could probably put it on your iPhone thing. We have the technology.

    happyfeet (6b707a)

  2., best cases EVAH!

    chas (d753bf)

  3. Make sure whatever case you choose does NOT interfere with the light sensor at the top of the phone. I have a first generation iPhone and for months I kept wondering why my iPhone appeared to to go black preventing access to the screen — and I the case I chose (an Incase similar to this: had an open face design.

    When I got around to researching the problem (which went on, sporadically, for months), I found out it was all about the case blocking the light sensor. Apparently, the case just barely encroached across part of sensor (I still can’t see the sensor, I only know from reading about it on forums), but it was enough to make it go wacky. Not fun to have to keep taking the phone out of the case to be able to hang up or un-mute the phone. Now like I said I have the first generation 8gb edge iPhone; maybe they’ve worked this glitch out on the newer versions, but I wouldn’t take any chances if I were you.

    School Marm (a68c64)

  4. Sorry about that link, this should be better:

    School Marm (a68c64)

  5. I’ve used both the soft rubber cases and the hard plastic two part ones that slide on. I like the two part hard plastic better. The plastic doesn’t give you the grip that the rubber does, but I am constantly slding my phone in and out of pockets– in jeans, suit jackets, etc.– and the plastic cases make this much easier. With the rubber case I was constantly turning pockets inside-out when I tried to get to my phone– very frustrating.

    the Bruce (aadab5)

  6. The Bruce: that is a good point. Any specific ones you recommend?

    Patterico (64318f)

  7. That was my first comment using the iPhone, by the way. And guess what? Unlike the Treo, I can access my control panel from this thing, meaning I can once again blog from a phone. Hooray!

    Patterico (64318f)

  8. I was actually thinking along the lines of a leather case. And no I cannot suggest one, heh. My reasoning, which may well be quite flawed, is that the plastic cases don’t have real shock absorption since they’re quite rigid. The rubber cases have that friction problem. But the leather cases would have more shock absorption due to their flexibility and sponginess without the friction of rubber.

    Just thinking out loud.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  9. I agree with the Bruce on the two part plastic case. I got mine from the Apple store made by Agent 18. This one is a little fancier than the one I have, but otherwise it’s the same:

    wherestherum (581ef7)

  10. I’d second the Otterbox Defender. Poly shell with a silicon rubber cover, covers for all the ports that are pretty easy to use. I’ve used one for a month or so, dropped it three times and not a bit of damage. Just ordered one in white for my wife.

    It looks really bulky, but it really isn’t. I’d used a JamJacket at first and it’s only slightly bigger than that.

    Eirik (84e6cc)

  11. I would recommend a CrackBerry.

    JD (692c5d)

  12. I’ve bought several cases for family members’ iPhones. It’s kind of hit-or-miss but this one was popular. The only constant everyone needed/liked is a screen protector. If you get one, make sure you get the lint cleaning cloth, too.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  13. If you have an IPhone I suggest you get a Mophie. It is a protective case with a built in battery. The phone runs of the Mophie until that battery is discharged then it runs of it’s internal battery. It doubles the battery time of the phone, sometimes triples it.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  14. Isn’t the Mophie something Rush uses? That’s a definite … something. How’s it with droppage?

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  15. Let us know when you find one. I love my iPhone and have had it for over two years…but my single largest gripe is an inability to find a case that a) works for my needs and b) doesn’t fall apart.

    My experience? You really need to figure out where you are going to keep your phone. iPhone users who usually keep their cell in a pants pocket have totally different needs from those of us who keep the phone inside a briefcase or purse. And pretty much that breaks down on gender lines, for some reason. Hmmmm.

    Oh, and the pants pocket users break down into those who keep it inside the pocket, and those who merely clip it to the outside or on a belt. It makes a big difference.

    As I keep my iPhone in a purse, my requirement was protection for the phone if dropped (and you will–some days it’s like that sucker has been greased), ability to secure it in the bag/purse and not have it fall out, and ease of getting the phone out of the purse and answering it in the first four rings. Sounds simple, but I’ve actually been through five types of cases in two years (one of which I used for over a year).

    So unless you want to be buying a new case every few months, I recommend that in addition to your requirements above, you may want to figure out where your phone spends the majority of its time…then go to a Mac store and ask for help with the wide variety of cases for that use. Mac Stores seem to have the best selection of cases, and they’re fairly mellow about opening them up and letting you try.

    Happy hunting.

    Sierra Nevada (62121b)

  16. That sounds good, cubanbob. Like this?

    DRJ (b008f8)

  17. cubanbob,

    Some of the Amazon comments suggest the Mophie affects reception. Do you have it and, if so, has that happened to you?

    PS: How not to handle customer relations.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  18. Whoever suggested that you base your selection on where you will most commonly keep your phone was quite wise. I got one of those condom-type covers for my BlackBerry, and though great for almost everything, I tend to keep mine in my pockets, and I would have to turn my pocket inside out to get the CrackBerry out. The idea that a cover could give added battery life is really really cool.

    JD (692c5d)

  19. FWIW, I settled on the soft-gel type cover. The friction keeps the phone from sliding around in my purse or popping out of my grip at the wrong moment. There is no clip on this type of case, and it really wouldn’t work inside a pants pocket, either. Friction–sometimes it’s a feature, sometimes it’s a bug.

    My main complaint about the clear plastic case that snaps around the phone was the gathered lint and grot that showed *perfectly* against the black phone. Facial-oil smears are bad enough, but lint and purse/pocket fuzz were the deal breaker. Also, break is what you will do to your fingernails trying to pop that case on and off for regular cleanings.

    That’s just my experience. I seem to be unusual among iPhone users in that I rarely put it in my pocket. Also, be advised that there are several types of cases (notably those with magnetic closures) that cause known issues with iPhone function. Even ones sold by the Mac Store, believe it or not.

    Sierra Nevada (62121b)

  20. Location will be suit jacket pocket during workday, shorts pocket at all other times.

    I have an OtterBox for the iPod and love it. I’ll seriously consider one for the iPhone. Because I know I will drop it, many times.

    Patterico (64318f)

  21. just get a plain, simple, not much to go wrong phone, and don’t worry about it.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  22. redc1c4: How dare you tell him to get a phone that won’t let him blog! If he has to be rich enough to have gadgets I can no longer afford, he had better get the gadgets that lets me read his wise words.

    He has a duty to his online commune to provide his online commune with his information and wisdom. Telling him to turn his back on his commune is very un-BHO of you!

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  23. I have a Sena leather case, and like it a lot. It is good quality leather, has a flap to protect the face, which I need since I carry the phone in a purse, and has lasted about 9 months so far without showing much wear at all. The seams on the case give me something to hang onto while talking on the phone. I find talking into a bare iphone like talking into a fish, it is so slippery. If you search ebay on “sena iphone” you will see a choice of styles.

    nadine (9a45f2)

  24. I have a hot pink soft rubber Incase cover for my iPhone (I have a clear protective cling overlay on the front). the Bruce is right; the grip and non-skid factor is great but it’s very tough getting into and out of pockets, purse pockets, etc. It’s a trade-off. My hubby has a leather case that clips on his belt and he loves it.

    OTOH we are not at all happy with the iPhone in general and are ditching them as soon as the contract is up in Dec. We’ve both had charging and locking up issues and my first one died after 8 months, taking all my pics and music with it. I don’t trust it anymore. Further, I cannot use mine for conference calls as it causes an intolerable echo on the call for everyone else. (Not sure if that is related to the VOIP conferencing system now used by my company, which is also TERRIBLE.) We can’t get rid of our phones soon enough. Everyone who admires my phone gets a long story on my trials and tribulations with it.

    OTOH we love our iPods, just got a video Nano, and are about to add a MacBook Pro to this Windows laptop household.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  25. redc1c4, when I ditch my iPhone I’m getting something very cheap and getting a netbook for mobile surfing. Mostly I use my iPhone for texting and surfing as it is – using it for actual phone calls is a royal pita. The volume sucks and AT&T leaves a lot to be desired in some areas.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  26. Not sure the Otterbox was available when I got my phone. Would have liked that! Beware with the plastic or metallic clamshell cases sold at accessories carts at malls – you can’t open them without breaking them, and I got mine the day I got my phone and it immediately disabled my SIM card. Had to have Apple reactivate it. Many of those mall cart accessories are JUNK.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  27. For scratch protection, go with ZAAG. It is a urethane film, the same stuff they use to protect helicopter blades. Very thin, it adds virtually no thickness/weight to the phone. It comes 3 ways: 1) just for the front, 2) just for the back, or 3) entire phone. Slides in/out of pockets very easily. Incredibly scratch-proof, look at their videos.

    Not much for drop protection, but the screen protector will probably last forever (and has a lifetime warranty), so for about $20, you never have to replace the film.

    I also use a belt pouch I found at some music store at the mall. They were getting rid of their cell phone accessories, and the magnetic flap case was downright cheap at $0.89.

    Dr. K (eca563)


    Dr. K (eca563)

  29. Otterbox. Use ’em on iPod Touch.

    Roger B (9c47f9)

  30. I use a Griffin model. Had it for about a year now, and it works fantastic.

    SaveFarris (9ab684)

  31. If dropping is the problem, then you should get Apple’s wrap-around, specifically made for it. Any holster type, pocket or belt, won’t really help.

    But it’s such a pretty, curvaliceous, little thing, why ruin it? The salesman threw in three cases for my Blackberry, and I could not stand any of them. I just throw it in my pocket with my loose change. I’ve dropped it and it’s got some scratches. So what? Nothing lasts forever. I like the way it looks and feels the way it is.

    nk (df76d4)

  32. nk:

    Next phone, check out the InvisiShield from zagg.

    Dr. K (eca563)

  33. BTW, as wonderful as iPhones are, up here in Illinois at least, AT&T sucks.

    nk (df76d4)

  34. I have a Belkin soft gel case because I wanted my iPhone to stay as sleek as possible.
    I did have an InCase soft-gel case, but my son had picked it out for me and it was kind of a Nintendo Green. I felt like I was playing Gameboy when I had it out.

    I dropped my phone this very morning onto our wood floor, and it survived just fine.

    MayBee (48424e)

  35. I have a case that says “Contour” on the back. I’ve had it at least a year and am satisfied. I also got an adhesive scratch protector for the screen. I can’t remember if they came together. I tend to carry it in my pocket and the case is not slick but not difficult to get in and out of a pocket. This seems to be the company and I see my case there. It is the black one with the dull finish.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  36. I’ve had this:

    for about a month. It gives some grip, protects the back from scratches, and still lets me slip it in and out of my purse/pocket. How it defends against falls, I don’t know. From my research, I determined that anything that would protect it from falls would make it too bulky and defeat the sleek design. The plastic and rubber railing gives it some protection, but not great. It’s a trade off.

    I don’t use a screen cover. I watched a guy at the apple store scratch his screen with a pair of keys pretty hard and it didn’t leave a mark. I’ve had it tossed in my purse with change, keys, etc., and no scratches yet on the screen.

    M (d13356)

  37. They should make sapphire crystal screens for BlackBerry and I-phones, like they do for watches.

    JD (9d8cb8)

  38. Your iPhone’s fate (as well as yours) was written by the All-Father at the beginning of time and it will not survive a minute longer than fated were you to hide it in the strongest vault.

    nk (df76d4)

  39. Duct-tape it to your forearm.

    Then it will be there when you need it.

    JayC (876deb)

  40. Pretty sure mine’s an Agent18. It has survived a number of drops. Since it replaced a rubber cover, it took me a few months to get used to how (comparatively) slippery it is.

    theBruce (e99bfb)

  41. I don’t have a case recommendation, but I want to warn you about dropping your iPhone. I dropped mine from about 2 feet. It landed face down on asphalt, shattering the glass touch screen. That was when I learned that Apple charges $200 to replace the glass. So I agree with the poster who recommends that you duct tape it to your arm.

    I wanted to add that I have not had any of Peg C’s experiences. My iPhones (both of them, since I replaced the one I dropped with a new 3GS) have been reliable and awesome. I hope you enjoy yours.

    grs (b9e726)

  42. My old Treo had a hard case/housing, and I dropped it quite a lot–very slippery and would fly out of a pocket almost by itself.

    When I got my iPhone, I got a silicone rubber case. In a year and a half, I have not dropped it once. Is it a bit harder to get out of a pocket? Yes–but to me, that is a feature, not a bug. I use a belt case most of the time, so I don’t have it in my pocket much.

    Andrew (117564)

  43. I have the Griffin that SaveFarris (30) suggested. Since I keep my phone in my pocket I wanted something that added as little bulk as possible and would slide easily. Plastic screen cover that comes with the case is essential.

    rb (2e7fd1)

  44. are you a man?

    by the time it gets too scuffed up it’ll be time to upgrade.

    do you use a plastic pocket protector for your pens?

    cts22 (837a16)

  45. Screw the case get the invisisheild by Zagg-

    Seriously, it adds no bulk and when the phone is in my pocket it’s as invisible as my panty-line. Whoops…did I just say that out loud?!

    Steve (e5c232)

  46. I recently bought an iPhone 3GS after buying a case (yes, I am that paranoid). After lots of research, I bought an iSkin Revo 2 from Amazon, and ordered a belt holster directly from the manufacturer. The Revo is a soft silicone case with two unusual features – a clear, hard plastic screen cover and hinged flaps covering all the ports. You have to remove the screen cover to use the iPhone touch screen (it clips onto the back) which can be awkward, but I’ve found it manageable.

    The port covers are insurance against Apple’s absurdly sensitive moisture detectors. Several colleagues have had problems with the sensor near the headphone jack tripping just from being carried around in light rain.

    The Otterbox is the gold standard for protection, but it’s bulky and doesn’t have a very secure holster – the Revo is not ideal, but a good all around choice for my purposes.

    Paul in BarneyFrankistan (b391ac)

  47. I like this one really well after trying another.

    I purchased it in two colors. The thing I like about it is that it easily slips in and out of my jeans pockets. I looked around and read reviews and this one seemed the best fit for me.

    I’ll say this and curse myself, but I haven’t dropped my phone yet and I’ve had it for over 6 months (I know I will eventually). There is something about it that is easier to hang on to than a regular cell phone, which I dropped all the time.

    Hope that helps.

    Shari (90af0e)

  48. Whoops, this is the one I purchased.|IP3GSoftTouch

    Shari (90af0e)

  49. cts22,

    This is an iphone, with a glass screen. It could get badly scratched or damaged in ten seconds. It’s not a typical phone with a superhard composite screen that is resistant to keys. It’s unmanly to worry what your phone looks like to the point where you let it get broken. The guys you know who care what their phones and shirt pockets look like might not be supermen after all.

    Juan (0bdb72)

  50. juan,

    you shove the iphone in your pants pocket and when you need it you yank it out. hopefully, you have enough common sense to segregate potentially harmful substances from your iphone including keys, change, nail files, open bottles of nail polish, coarse sandpaper, environmentally approved toilet paper, or an unshaven george michael. if you’re lucky, you’ll have an attractive woman ask you if you’re happy to see her or if you’re packing an iphone.

    cts22 (dd6e0b)

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