Best way to sheathe an iPhone?
October 21, 2007 6:07 PM   Subscribe

What's the best lightweight, unobtrusive and form-fitting iPhone case?

I have succumbed to the hype, and purchased one of these uninsurable monstrosities, despite the fact that I am known as a fumbler of cellphones. How can I ensure that my iPhone retains its shiny, flawless Jobs-ian perfection?
posted by killdevil to Technology (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I would avoid the incase protective cover unfortunately.

It seems nice at first, but, even though i never took it off, over time it stretched enough that the little opening for the silence/vibration switch would routinely get tripped by the case sliding around a bit.

Which means that I'd put my phone down and notice far later that it had been in vibrate mode for hours and that I had missed calls from it.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:32 PM on October 21, 2007

Yeah I have the Incase cover, and it's not great. It's ugly as sin, it does get stretched out, and it also traps dust against the metal causing it to rub and scratch and pit. Any case is going to have that problem, actually, and I'm wondering if my iPhone is less likely to get scratched with no case at all.

But the phone slips out of my hands too easily. So I just ordered a leather sleeve from Case-Mate that I'm hoping will work a little better.

What I'd love is a 1mm thick neoprene stretchy tight cover for the back.
posted by Nelson at 6:38 PM on October 21, 2007

Whatever case you end up buying, you should also pickup a screen protector of some sort. I use the Power Support Crystal Film Set available here.

I was skeptical at first, but now that I've had it on for a few months, I can barely tell that it's there, and it's comforting to know that I would have to try *really* hard to scratch the screen with it on.

Also, don't worry, it doesn't leave any residue on your screen if you decide to take it off--it stays attached via static electricity. The only downside is it's a little hard to apply without having a few air bubbles, but if your careful you should be able to do it.
posted by dyslexictraveler at 6:39 PM on October 21, 2007

Avoid the stitched leather InCase cover as well - it fit too tightly, and the stitches started leaving little divots/impressions on my full-body protective skin.

I ended up going with the DLO Jam Jacket, although I used a razor blade to cut off the protrusion on the back that holds earphones.
posted by mrbill at 6:54 PM on October 21, 2007

Thirding the dont-buy-that-inCase cover. My problem isn't the dust and stuff, it's that it's difficult to get in and out of your pocket if youre wearing jeans or some other non-loose-fitting clothing. It was sufficiently annoying enough for me that i got into the bad habit of not putting it on, and one day the phone slipped out of my hand, landed on my tile floor, and turned into a $600 brick

So far i haven't found anything that adequately protects the phone from drop damage, yet doesn't add too much bulk and doesn't look hideously garish at the same time. For now, I'm using the Contour iSee, which is a bit bulkier than I'd like it to be, but at least I feel safe dropping my iPhone in it, and the clear case doesn't hide the beautiful design of the phone itself.

It's a crime/shame that Apple or AT&T doesn't offer insurance for the iPhone, because it's pretty much impossible to protect the unit from breakage without defiling it's beautiful slim form factor with a bulky protective case. That kinda defeats one of the iPhone's greatest features, in my opinion.
posted by melorama at 7:01 PM on October 21, 2007

It's not going to protect it from big drops (no padding), but if it's scratches you're concerned about, I can't recommend the Invisible Shield enough. I've used it on two iPods and a Blackberry, and they have absolutely legendary customer service.
posted by awesomebrad at 7:03 PM on October 21, 2007

I'm not so sure that a screen protector is really necessary, unless you like to always keep your phone in the same pocket that you store your car keys in. I abuse the shit out of my personal electronic devices, and I have to say I'm really impressed by how durable the iPhone screen is. In the 4 months I've owned my iPhone, I've dropped it on the sidewalk, slept on it, scraped the glass on corners of tables, etc, and yet there isn't a single scratch on the surface of the glass. Not even a microscratch. I swear theyre using alien technology in that thing.

I also think the screen protection products also degrade the feel of the smooth glass surface to a sufficient extent that it's not worth the trouble to put them on, considering how insanely scratch resistant the glass is.
posted by melorama at 7:08 PM on October 21, 2007

a colleague of mine makes beautiful handmade leather electronics cases, including iphone cases. they're low-profile and customizable, so you can go classy or funky. their site is a.b. sutton.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:14 PM on October 21, 2007

I would try and go without any cover at all. I had the incase crap case on there for two months and finally decided to leave it in the closet. I haven't had any problems and oddly enough I seem to be more careful with the phone. If you still want one check out this...

The things are tough as nails. I put one of them on my kid's iPod and watched him throw it across the garage. I picked the thing up, stuck the buds in my ears and it was still playing.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:16 PM on October 21, 2007

john kenneth fisher - InCase had a bad batch of rubber in their initial production run of those cases. I had to send mine in for warranty replacement. It's a known issue and InCase has great service so they won't hassle you over a replacement case.

That said, I might trade up to one of Vaja's sleeves.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:42 PM on October 21, 2007

I've been using an Agent 18 case on my iPod for two years and really could not be happier. I bought the case linked by bkeene12 above and have been happy with it as well--it's hard plastic rather than rubber so it won't stretch out, attract lint or get stuck in your pockets. It doesn't make the iPhone that much bigger, either. I haven't dropped it yet but I have to think that any kind of protection is better than nothing.
posted by cosmic osmo at 7:51 PM on October 21, 2007

Seconding Invisible Shield.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:57 PM on October 21, 2007

I've got mine in a Marware Sport Grip. It's cheap ($15), comes with a protective film for the screen, and covers the rest of the iPhone very well. I also like the grip on the sides, which helps me to keep a secure grip on the thing.
posted by hollisimo at 9:00 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Are you sure you need anything at all? I've just been tossing mine in jeans pockets, dropping it clumsily to the pavement, and have suffered nary a scratch or blem.

It's anodized aluminum and tempered glass. Should be no worries.
posted by sourwookie at 11:05 PM on October 21, 2007

And it's no monstrosity. Left naked, It just slides into the pocket of my tightest going-out jeans.
posted by sourwookie at 11:06 PM on October 21, 2007

I use mine with Vaja. I have the holster style case. It is pricy but does not add bulk or get in the way. It holds the phone snugly. The thickness is about 2 mm. I did lot of research and looking around before deciding on Vaja and I don't regret it.
posted by shr1n1 at 6:37 AM on October 22, 2007

How would you feel about a sleeve? Foofpod makes them for iPhones now.
posted by brina at 7:59 AM on October 22, 2007

I could not recommend the Contour iSee any less. It left nasty scratches all over my phone, and it was bulky and awkward. Thumbs down.

I've heard lovely things about the Seidio cases, especially this one.
posted by streetdreams at 11:52 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

john kenneth fisher - InCase had a bad batch of rubber in their initial production run of those cases. I had to send mine in for warranty replacement. It's a known issue and InCase has great service so they won't hassle you over a replacement case.

Yeah, except I need my receipt. From June. When i lived somewhere else. For an iPhone case.

Not likely.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:24 PM on October 22, 2007

i originally started out with the Contour iSee... but I found little specs of dirt and dust got between the case and the phone and i was having to take the case apart and clean it way too often...

so i upgrade to the Countour Showcase... which so far is amazing. I've had it for about a month now. its a little bit slimmer than the iSee and i think it looks A LOT better. also no issues with dirt/dust so far.

posted by hummercash at 11:38 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

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