First Look: Incipio NGP for iPhone 3G/3GS
Hydrocarbon plastic became the next big thing in cases throughout 2009, and Incipio has joined the club with NGP ($25), an extremely plain alternative with none of the design flourishes that have marked otherwise similar products from SwitchEasy, iSkin, and any number of other companies. Though that plainness may turn off some users -- particularly ones who have seen the cool diamond-like designs offered in the backs of some hydrocarbon cases -- it provides a relatively neutral translucent color-shifting effect for the body of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, with all of the advantages of prior silicone cases and none of their grippy, rubbery feel. In addition to protecting most of the top, sides, and back of the iPhone, NGP provides coverage for the top and side buttons, plus the bezel, leaving the headphone port, ringer switch, camera, and bottom substantially open. A screen protector, video stand, and cleaning cloth are included in the package; six colors are available.
As much as we liked NGP’s neutrality, we found that an unexpected issue—its treatment of the iPhone’s top Sleep/Wake switch—limited our actual desire to use it. While it offers welcome protection, the surface of the button is now recessed within the rubber shell to an extent that makes it difficult to push, a possible benefit for users who have had too many accidental pocket activations of the phone, but not for the way we use ours.