Review: Incase Box Case for iPhone 4/4S
More often than not, Apple case manufacturers design their products to be thin and contoured to the curves of the device's body. Incase took a decidedly different approach with Box Case for iPhone 4/4S ($30), following in the steps of Power Support and its Square Type mini Silicone Jacket Set from way back in the iPod mini days. Available in black, white, pink, and translucent "frost" -- the latter neatly framing the iPhone as if it's in a block of ice -- the case is a head-turner for sure, generating more discussion and interest than most of the iPhone cases we've tested in recent months.
Box Case is one continuous piece of rubber that almost completely covers the back and sides of the iPhone while leaving the front mostly exposed, save for a lip that holds the device in place. Instead of rounded edges that match the flow of the body, this one is made up of 90° angles—hence the “Box” name. The result is significantly more protection at the corners, and an aesthetic that garners quite a bit of attention. In our testing, friends, family, and strangers all asked about it and wanted to play with it; we also really liked just looking at it.
Box is soft and flexible, which turns out to be good and bad. Inserting the phone into the case takes almost no effort; simply give it a push and the sides wrap right around it, with the material covering about 3/16” of the front’s perimeter. Unfortunately, the inverse is true as well: the sides pull away too easily, which is the case’s biggest downfall. Pull it out of your pocket and there’s a good chance that one of the corners will have popped out. We found ourselves fidgeting with the sides pretty often, pulling them off and then snapping them back in place. Thankfully, the material is quite resilient and doesn’t seem to stretch out.
In addition to the reinforced corners, Box Case offers truly good protection for the iPhone. Not only are the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons covered, but there are extruded symbols over them—the universal power symbol, plus and minus signs—that feel pretty cool and allow the buttons to remain fully tactile. The remaining ports have individual openings. To prevent flash diffusion, there’s a black ring around the camera hole on the back of the case. Larger headphone plugs generally fit without issue thanks to the size of that opening, although the Dock Connector hole is just large enough to support Apple’s official connector and others that are equally narrow. Despite the shape, the case does support Universal Docks.
Although it may seem somewhat unusual at first inspection, it’s hard not to like Box Case once you get your hands on it. The squared-off shape works surprisingly well; it’s quite protective and really feels nice in the hand. Were the soft, pull-away sides not an issue, we’d be ready to highly recommend this case in a heartbeat; some users might be annoyed by this issue. For that reason alone, Box Case earns our strong general recommendation—it’s close to great, and definitely a design you won’t forget any time soon.