Review: Artwizz SeeJacket Crystal for iPhone 3G
As we're now dealing with a huge influx of hundreds of cases and other accessories, we've opted to issue abbreviated reviews of a number of late case arrivals for the iPhone 3G -- ones that are substantially similar to cases we've previously reviewed. This review looks at Artwizz's SeeJacket Crystal ($30), the sequel to the original iPhone product of the same name.
The original SeeJacket Crystal was the largely clear plastic iPhone case that launched a half-dozen clones, some with permission from this German developer. What was so novel? Its approach to nearly complete front and back coverage involved a plastic screen protector that didn’t require adhesive or separate application; instead, the protector is built into the case and allows touch-through use of the iPhone’s screen. We liked this design, but noted that the prior case was a little below ideal on looks and pricing.
This year’s version carries the same price, and the same general design traits, but has made a couple of improvements. Home button coverage is incorporated into the design—something missing from many competing cases. Less impressively, last year’s slightly odd front facade has given way to a different, still slightly odd replacement, with a plain black border all around the iPhone 3G’s screen, interrupted by an odd sensor hole off to the left of the ear speaker.
While we’re not totally fond of SeeJacket Crystal’s look from the front, there’s no doubt that it does a comparatively strong job in the back, and in protecting the iPhone 3G. Everything that can be covered is, except for the side and top buttons, and the top and bottom ports. Due to a redesigned back assembly, the case is a little less bulky than before, as well as easier to put together and take apart than last year’s version; it also shows more of Apple’s back design without as much interruption. Oversized headphones and Universal Dock accessories work without any issue.
Pricing is the only other area in which SeeJacket Crystal is a little short of ideal. Cases such as Griffin’s iClear and DLO’s VideoShell sell for $20, or $10 less, offering only a little less protection and in DLO’s case better functionality. However, there are many iPhone 3G clear plastic cases, including Contour Design’s iSee and Case-Mate’s Naked Case, that offer less protection at the same or higher prices. From where we stand, the protection and size improvements to this year’s SeeJacket Crystal make it as as highly recommendable as its predecessor was last year; you’ll need to decide whether to trade off its protection for price, better looks, or other features.