Looking for the perfect iPhone 3gs case
July 13, 2010 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Trying to find the perfect case for my iPhone 3gs. I have it narrowed down to 2. Have you used either? Do you have a different recommendation?

The two that I am looking at in particular are the Chrome Case Mate and iSkin Solo.

I used to have a Griffin Elan case and I liked it but the leather would shift if I held it too long in one position.

I'm looking for something lightweight but not "cheap". I don't want silicone or anything that won't mold tightly to the phone.

I also tried an ifrogz luxe case but the bottom corner kept pressing up on my screen protector and creating a small bubble. I ruined two screen protectors and called it quits.

Thanks in advance!
posted by morganannie to Technology (23 answers total)
I liked the incase Slider until I decided I didn't really need a case at all. That's been working out pretty great too.
posted by motorcycles are jets at 7:23 AM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: ...until I decided I didn't really need a case at all

I definitely need/want a case. I don't drop it all the time but it happens every so often and I really dont' want to damage it.

I should also mention that the few time I dropped my 3g the sim card almost always came out somehow even though I had the griffin elan case.
posted by morganannie at 7:31 AM on July 13, 2010

Putting your phone into a case and a screen protector means that when you want to get rid of it, you will be able to. Apple products have tremendous resale value. I just sold an old non-color Nano for $50. That was because I could say that I never used it without a case and had a screen protector from day 1.

I am not impressed with the Griffin cases. I had one and the finish wore off.

InCase are sturdier than I expected them to be (I got one for free) but I wish they had more of a lip.

I wanted an otterbox defender more than anything but I HATE that they have the cutout on the back for the apple. My phone is a tool, not a status symbol, and I don't need to advertise it, not to mention I don't want the dust/wear.

I have the bubbles with the screen protector with the inCase. I have learned to live with it. I
posted by micawber at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2010

I have the iSkin Solo (in red) for my 3GS. It's been fine for the past almost-year, although it's taken some scuffs and isn't quite as sharp looking as it once was (but then, that's why I got it, right?). I think I used the screen protector very briefly; if I recall correctly, I didn't like something about it (maybe the adhesive came off when I had to re-set it?), but otherwise, I'd recommend it.
posted by kimota at 7:55 AM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: I have the bubbles with the screen protector with the inCase...
The inCase pressed the edges of your screen protector and made bubbles?

I think I used the screen protector very briefly...
So you don't use a screen protector, then?

posted by morganannie at 7:58 AM on July 13, 2010

I have the iSkin Solo for my 3gs. I love it, although after a year and a half, it is getting a little grungy. It's nice that I can take it off and wash it off if I need to (guess I should have done that more often, haha). The screen protector however, ugh. Patience is required to put that thing on and I'm just not that patient. I just don't have one on my phone. I would definitely get the case though, it has protected my phone through a bunch of falls.
posted by whitetigereyes at 7:59 AM on July 13, 2010

I previously used the Incase Slider. True to it's name it slid out of my hand A LOT. It also pushed up the edges of my screen protector and caused bubbles.

I'm currently using a case-mate 3G / 3GS Hybrid Tough Custom Case. It provides the toughness of a hardshell with the protection of an interior silicone sheath. The hardshell is lightly textured to be slightly grippy.
posted by Constant Reader at 8:00 AM on July 13, 2010

The metallic incase slider is much less slippery; it's like the surface has some grippy feeling to it.

Yes, the incase also creates a bubble in the screen protector on the bottom left corner. Here's my fix for it: I trimmed off a tiny edge of the bottom left corner so that the screen protector isn't underneath the case at all. I don't miss the tiny sliver of screen protector, since, well, that's not part of the touchscreen anyway. I'm thinking your iFrogz case will work the same way if you trim off a bit of screen protector.

I use the monochrome one myself. This is the only case I've ever used... I've had my phone/case for 8 months. The only complaint is that the metallic-ness is rubbing off in the corners from the face of the phone.
posted by watch out for turtles at 8:13 AM on July 13, 2010

I'd agree with the metallic incase slider not being slippey and providing a lot of protection. I've never used a screen protector -- the only time I've ever noticed anything even vaguely bothering the screen is when I was stupid enough to put my keys in the same pocket as my phone, and even then just barely. Honestly, I think that unless you have something really abrasive near the phone, they're more trouble than they're worth. It's a glass screen, not plastic.

Anecdotal evidence: I was fumbling with too many things last week and dropped my phone a few feet to a rough concrete surface, and it's fine. The case barely scratched or deformed at that spot.
posted by mikeh at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2010

I use an Incase Slider with the hard rubber texture. I find the phone by itself to be too slippery. Got it from BB for a little less than retail. It has the amazing ability to keep pocket lint embedded somewhere in the phone so it's a good idea to take it apart and clean it out with compressed air once a month or so.

No screen protector here either. My 3GS gets gunked up with finger smudges after a lot of use, then I put it in my warm pocket and not long after it's clean. Definitely isolate it from metal objects that could break the screen and you should be fine without a protector.
posted by liquoredonlife at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2010

I got a SwitchEasy Rebel, and I love it. You can choose from various color combinations and they sell other colors as well. It is difficult to get on and off, so keep that in mind. The one problem with it is that the headhone jack hole is not large enough for most audio cables. It's fine for most headphones, but if you want to hook it up to a stereo or car or whatnot, it's a bit too small. I fixed that with a Dremel. :)

It's been extremely durable. I like that it has a hard plastic section and a rubbery section. Best of both types of cases. It's not too bulky or too grippy or too slidey.

I don't use it with a screen protector. When I had Palm Treos, a screen protector was necessary b/c the screen was plastic and you were scraping it with a stylus all of the time. I've had my iPhone for just over a year and
posted by reddot at 9:00 AM on July 13, 2010

I use the iSkin solo and have been extremely happy with it. It's fairly easy to take on and off and has held up well over the past year.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:03 AM on July 13, 2010

Best answer: I really, really like the Speck products CandyShell.
posted by kavasa at 9:20 AM on July 13, 2010

Seconding the Speck Candy Shell. I don't use the screen protector, but the case is protective, durable, and low profile.
posted by charmcityblues at 9:44 AM on July 13, 2010

I have the solo and have been very happy with it, although I also don't use the screen protector.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2010

I gave up on a full case and instead have a Gelaskin, which has been sufficient for my needs. I do drop mine occasionally, but not very often.
posted by immlass at 10:53 AM on July 13, 2010

Uncommon Cases are awesome! You can upload your own photo or artwork, and the quality is fantastic! I get at least one compliment a week on mine (eg. "Where did you get that case??").

I've had mine for 6 months now, and it still looks brand new. I beat the heck out of my cases too, and it shows virtually no wear. They aren't much more than a regular case either.

Check them out! (I am NOT affiliated with them)
posted by xotis at 10:56 AM on July 13, 2010

I use the aforementioned Speck CandyShell along with a Power Support Crystal screen protector.

The case is bulkier than many, but it feels really protected in there. The raised lip around the edge is great for if you drop it screen-side down. The back of my phone looks brand new (some cases scratch the back just from normal use).

The screen protector is more expensive than most, but I'm really happy with it as well. Unless you look at the border of the button or speaker, you can't tell there's one on it at all. I think it actually came in a 2-pack, but I put one on the first day I had it and haven't had to remove it since.
posted by Tu13es at 11:58 AM on July 13, 2010

Response by poster: For those of you who use the CandyShell - does it create a bubble in the corners if you use it with a screen protector?
posted by morganannie at 12:45 PM on July 13, 2010

My husband and I have Otterbox Defenders. My baby threw the phone out of the stroller while I was running. I then ran over the phone with the stroller. It's fine. It's fallen about a million other times. It may, on one other occasion, have fallen into the toilet for a second with no ill effects, but I don't admit that that actually happened. Once, though, I went for a run and it started storming. The case had a bit of water on it, but the phone was fine. On both occasions, I dried the phone as quickly as possible, although in the storm it got less wet but stayed wet longer as there was nowhere to go to dry it or anything dry to dry it with until I was done running.

That said, it makes the phone annoyingly ginormous and the opening for the charger is sort of small. A few generic ebay $1.00 iPhone chargers didn't fit through the hole and it's a pain to take the phone out of the case to charge it in the car. I did sand one of the charger's edges a bit and now it fits and still works. (I lose and break chargers a lot.)
posted by artychoke at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2010

Love the iSkin solo. No complaints.
posted by CwgrlUp at 5:11 PM on July 13, 2010

I'm actually really fond of Monoprice's battery-cases. They're under $30 apiece and have a hard plastic back with a leather flap that comes around the front, and it contains an external battery with twice the charge of the iPhone's internal battery. It's pretty great, if you're okay with the moderately increased thickness.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:02 AM on July 14, 2010

Best answer: I've used the following:

Griffin Elan: Same problem as the original poster. I keep it as a backup, but don't like using it since the leather glue is so poor.

SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel: I had the black one. Nice in theory, and with a good grip, but the the rubber tends to stretch over time, especially around the bottom. Also tended to collect and trap skin oils. Ick.

Speck CandyShell: Nice case, has a combo rubberized interior and glossy hard outer shell. It adds a little bulk. Inserting it and removing it without damaging the case takes skill. They actually have specific instructions.

Otterbox Defender: I got this as an alternate case, and it works well enough, aside from the extremely tight hole for the dock connector. I looked around, and CableJive has a dock extender cable and dock extender which appear to fit. I do wonder why Otterbox didn't bundle in either.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:34 AM on July 18, 2010

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