Recommendations for free iPhone Cases?
August 11, 2010 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend any of the free cases in the iPhone 4 case program? I have a little while left to order, but I haven't seen any of the cases in person (even the bumpers), and I don't know which to get.

I had an iPhone 3G previously, and I kept it in a clear case that probably doubled the phone's thickness--not something I want to repeat with the new phone. However, I would like to protect it from breaks if I happen to drop it. I'd prefer less ornate cases over ornate ones.

I'm only looking to choose from among the cases offered free.

I've been leaning towards the bumpers, but I could probably pick up a knockoff in NYC for a couple of dollars, so perhaps one of the third-party cases would be a better value in terms of opportunity cost--if I don't like the third-party case, I can get a bumper cheap; if I don't like the official bumper, it will cost more to get a third-party case.
posted by dam1975 to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In before anyone else tells you to try this: I was in the Apple store in Chicago last week when a girl came in to ask about the free cases. They didn't have any in the store, hadn't had any for a while, didn't know when to expect them in, and didn't expect them to last long when they come, so to go online. Since I imagine this is probably the case in NYC, too, if someone tells you to go to the store and try them out first, it likely won't be possible.
posted by phunniemee at 6:47 AM on August 11, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, phunniemee--that's worth noting. I've also been told that the stores don't have the cases (and even if an Apple Store had one or two models, in all likelihood, they won't have all the models for me to make a comparison). Assume I can't try the cases out in person.

I do note that there was a previous thread about iPhone cases (not asking which of the free ones to get, but what third-party case to get while waiting for bumpers), and posters responded that the cases are actually being delivered more quickly than the ship dates online suggest--so some MeFites out there may actually have their free cases in hand.
posted by dam1975 at 6:52 AM on August 11, 2010

I have a bumper and it works pretty well for what it is. It doesn't add much thickness to the phone, but that comes at the price of not protecting it as much as a full case might. The rim of it is rubberized and slightly elastic so it just slides on. It stays on well enough but is very easy to take off if you need to for some reason.

I only have two complaints about it; first, the cutout for the mute switch is a little too small, so it's a little difficult to reach in and toggle it. I have to use a fingernail. The headphone jack has a similar problem; I've run into a few headphone plugs that don't easily fit in there.
posted by DMan at 7:08 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just received my case the other day. It's the clear incase snap case. I chose it because I like the look of the phone and don't want to take away from that, but still want something protective. It's hard plastic, so be aware of what the hard vs. soft cases are like for drops, etc. It is a VERY tight fit on the phone. Once I got it on, I couldn't get it off for awhile. I guess that's a good thing? The holes for volume and mute are nice sizes as well as the camera hole. it comes with a "flash ring" on it to prevent glare from the case on pictures. The top and bottom are pretty open, which is kind of a good thing since with some cases, I have had problems getting a headphone jack to sit properly. It's also very smooth (good for pocket in and out), but does show fingerprints. It also came with a separate little stand, which I think is hysterical.

Overall, not a bad decision, I don't think. The bumpers scare me because I don't think they offer enough protection. I usually go with a soft case because the impact to the phone seems lessened if it drops, but this seems pretty solid and has the aesthetic quality I wanted so...
posted by itsacover at 7:18 AM on August 11, 2010

I got the Griffin Reveal Etch in Graphite, and I like it just fine. It's basically a plastic backplate that's textured to look like carbon fiber weave, and then a black bumperlike rim. Also, as a data point, I got mine about ten days after ordering.
posted by mercredi at 7:21 AM on August 11, 2010

I have the Griffin Etch (I think that's what it's called) and I'm pleased with it. Something that surprised me about the case is that the power button and volume buttons are actually covered in the case. There's a small bumpout for each of them so I can clearly see and feel where they are and I've not had any issue using these functions with the case on the phone. This Griffin case is more rubbery than hard plastic, and that was my preference. The pocket-slidiness factor is probably 4 on a 1 to 5 scale; it doesn't slide as well as the hard plastic case mentioned by itsacover but it's far from overly grippy. I have had no problem removing it from my pocket.

The cutouts for the headphone jack, ringer on/off toggle switch, rear-facing camera and the speaker/dock holes along the bottom are well sized. I have no problem with the holes not quite lining up.

It did arrive significantly sooner than initially promised. I was given a late August ship date with arrival scheduled in early September and it arrived last Friday. YMMV.

I'm happy with my free case and as a bonus, it solves that pesky I-can't-hold-the-phone-and-make-or-take-a-call problem I was having. Win/win.
posted by heathergirl at 7:34 AM on August 11, 2010

I picked up the bumper when I got my 4 and got refunded for it. I value the slimness of it. I am (knock wood) not much of a dropper though so if you are you may wish to go in another direction. That being said I did drop my phone while getting out of the car the other day. It was only a couple feet and no harm whatsoever. I have zero problem accessing the mute or headphone jack.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2010

Everything that DMan said. I had a rubber case for my 3GS but I don't think I'll bother with it for the 4G. I got the free black bumper. Oh, and I downloaded the app, clicked and it was here in like four days. The ship time estimates are crazy.
posted by fixedgear at 8:35 AM on August 11, 2010

I also got the Griffin Reveal Etch in Graphite. its nice. I wanted a back on it so i don't scratch it all up. looks nice, and I am pretty happy with it.
posted by Amby72 at 8:51 AM on August 11, 2010

Haven't actually touched the Pixelskin yet but the MacRumors poll weighed pretty heavily on the O.G. bumpers and the Pixelskin. Griffin Etch would have been my next choice but at the time of the initial offer (I have no patience for toys) there was little to no details available about it. Seems nice enough.
posted by cavalier at 9:45 AM on August 11, 2010

For what it's worth, there seem to be significant differences in shipping times for the various cases. I ordered a Pixelskin, and my ship date is listed as late October.
posted by box at 10:25 AM on August 11, 2010

there seem to be significant differences in shipping times for the various cases. I ordered a Pixelskin, and my ship date is listed as late October.

Ditto for me. I ordered the Pixelskin on the first day and the ship date is Sept 3. So, that might be a mark against it if you don't want to wait.
posted by cabingirl at 11:08 AM on August 11, 2010

Also got the Griffin Etch. The back looks pretty awesome and the rubber along the edges feels nice and soft to the touch. The case is extremely easy to put on and remove.

I took advantage of the free case offer even though I had no intention of using a case from the start. That being said, I am a little biased when I offer these opinions: First, while the case only adds a few millimeters of thickness to the phone, remember that the phone's pretty slim to begin with, so the case ends up adding another 33% to the overall thickness. At 12 or 13mm, this made the phone feel too bulky to me. Second, like heathergirl mentions above, the rubber creates a lot of friction with my pockets, so pulling the phone out of my pocket became a slightly more complicated process if I wanted to avoid having turned-out pockets following extraction. Needless to say, these were dealbreakers for me and I'm not using the case right now because I am a picky bastard. Obviously, your experiences may differ, but these would be my only critiques of the case.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:30 PM on August 11, 2010

I'd highly recommend Apple's bumper case. Sure, it doesn't protect the back, but the back is really tough glass. It's probably tougher than plastic by a long shot. Since the bumpers extend above and below the iPhone, they keep the back from touching any flat surface you'd lay it on. I really like the rubber grip texture on the top and bottom edges of the bumpers. The phone doesn't slide. It's great!

Keep in mind, if you drop your phone, the edges are what will hit the ground. Bumpers are great for protecting against a drop.

I bought mine before Apple announced freebies, and I got an email from Apple weeks later saying I'd been given an automatic refund. Sweet!
posted by 2oh1 at 12:33 PM on August 11, 2010

if you haven't seen it, macworld rounded up their reviews of all the free case choices.

also, most if not all of the 3rd party cases come in the older 3G version as well and you can usually find them at apple stores or best buy or whatever. you can always go down there and check them out personally if you want to get a literal feel of the material.
posted by sammich at 1:28 PM on August 11, 2010

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