Review: Sena Cases WalletSkin + WalletSlim for iPhone 4/4S
Southern California-based Sena Cases isn't the only leather case maker around -- it's rivaled these days by companies such as Atlanta, Georgia's Mapi Cases -- but it's definitely well-established, as it has been selling leather iPhone wallet cases for years, and we've really liked some of them. We previously looked briefly at the company's WalletSkin ($52) and WalletSlim ($45) in a roundup of cases when they were released for the GSM iPhone 4, and we're taking a deeper look now that they've been updated for the iPhone 4S (and CDMA iPhone 4).
WalletSkin is the more complex of the two designs. A leather playthrough case, the material is as nice as we’ve come to expect from Sena, with a body that offers respectable protection for the back, front, and sides of the iPhone, even though all four corners and most of the top are left exposed. The bezel around the screen is almost completely covered, with the exception of a hole at the top for the camera, earpiece, and light sensor and a scoop at the bottom for the Home button. This design can make pulling up Notification Center and accessing touch points closer to the edges a bit more difficult, but it’s not terrible. On the other hand, we were disappointed by the tailoring of the opening for the volume buttons, a misshapen oval that can partially cover them if not adjusted correctly. It’s a small detail, but one that we’d expect Sena to be on top of.
The case has a back flap that can be snapped in place with a tab that juts out from the top of the front. Opening it reveals credit card holders on the flap itself—including one with a plastic window for an ID—and two slots on the back of the case. Rather than an putting a hole in the leather for the rear camera and flash, Sena chose to leave the corner fully open, exposing a bit more of the glass back than we like when the flap is open. The company also includes a plastic belt clip set that can be attached with a metal clip, if desired.
As its name implies, WalletSlim is the thinner of the two options. The setup is almost exactly the same as WalletSkin, with just two differences. Most noticeably, there’s no back flap. Instead, users must rely on only two credit card holders on the back of the case itself. The other differences are comparatively minor: the snapping tab is relocated from its place centered location, and now set off to the right when looking at the iPhone from behind. There’s a tear drop-shaped hole for the headphone port and noise-canceling microphone. Otherwise, the materials, fit, and openings are identical.
WalletSkin and WalletSlim share a very similar structure with the offerings from Mapi Cases we recently reviewed, with small differences here and there that don’t really affect performance. The most noticeable difference is the lack of Home Button coverage on Sena’s designs. Generally we’d call the lack of coverage a negative, although Mapi’s leather cover can affect button responsiveness, so it really comes down to personal preference. Otherwise, price is the biggest distinguishing factor. WalletSlim costs the same as its flap-less counterpart from Mapi, and earns the same C+ rating. Although the materials are nice, the edges are a bit rough and the the open corner on the back doesn’t help. For the small price differential, WalletSkin merits a limited recommendation. It offers a little more functionality, more protection for your cards, and a belt clip for those who want it. Both cases could benefit from additional device protection—a challenge for leather case makers, but one that’s well worth tackling given the superior coverage offered by less expensive, non-leather alternatives.