Review: CoverCase Hard Acrylic Case for iPhone
Of all of the CoverCase products we've recently reviewed, its Hard Acrylic Case for iPhone ($17) is the best. Though it initially doesn't seem like a standout design -- it's a two-piece shell made from nondescript glossy black plastic, and has a goofy belt clip permanently grafted to its top -- it otherwise did well enough in various ways to impress us, and merit our high recommendation. Updated: CoverCase has raised the price for this case to $20 following our review, losing our high recommendation in the process. Our review otherwise remains unchanged.
The single most surprising thing about the Hard Acrylic Case is its approach to iPhone protection. Unlike CoverCase’s other designs, which added little to case concepts we’ve seen many times before, this one actually takes a stab at protecting three parts of the iPhone that aren’t always covered: the front Home button, side volume controls, and top Sleep/Wake button. All three have integrated, depressable plastic covers that match the case, and all three work without problems. Combined with the case’s included clear film face protector, the Hard Acrylic Case does a better job of protecting the iPhone than virtually any other hard case we’ve seen: all that’s exposed are the speakers, microphone, proximity sensor, headphone port, camera, and ringer switch.
CoverCase also surprises in a positive way with a back-of-case feature: a flip-out plastic video stand that enables the Hard Acrylic Case to stand up for widescreen use; it also keeps the case vertical if you prefer, albeit not in a position where the bottom Dock Connector, speaker, or microphone will work. We really liked the widescreen video stand functionality, which was achieved in a modest manner that doesn’t make the case unnecessarily thick, though notably, it is not implemented like CoverCase’s site claims, namely as a “transformable kickstand/belt clip for video viewing.” The stand and belt clip are completely separate.
Other than a lack of distinctive styling, the actual belt clip is the case’s only real failing. It’s a cheap-looking piece that juts out of the case’s top, forming an arc around its back, and it can’t be removed. By surgically grafting it onto the case, CoverCase has increased the case’s thickness past any other point on its rear shell, and though it’s not massive, it does make the case less pocketable than it would be without the clip.
Accessory compatibility is slightly better than par for the course. Headphones are no issue, assuming they fit the iPhone’s port, and the Hard Acrylic Case docks in Universal Docks without a problem. Apple-sized cables are fine for the bottom, but larger ones and full-width plastic accessories aren’t because of the way the case’s bottom has been molded. However, speaker and microphone access is in no way impeded by the CoverCase design.
In fact, Hard Acrylic Case’s belt clip is the only major reason this isn’t a flat A rating recipient. It looks neutral enough, offers great protection, includes a video stand, and CoverCase’s $17 asking price is below the levels of virtually all of its major competitors—all factors contributing to our high recommendation. By hard case standards, the Hard Acrylic Case isn’t flashy, but it’s highly affordable and gets the job done. Consider it a top option if you’re on a tight budget and need a good hard iPhone shell.