Review: Case-Mate Signature iPhone Holster
Expanding its series of iPhone case and holster offerings, Case-Mate has recently released two products: the Leather Flip Case (iLounge rating: B, reviewed separately here), and an accessory to that accessory, the Signature iPhone Holster ($25). Since the Signature iPhone Holster can only be used in conjunction with the Leather Flip Case, it's worth starting with that product's review first; the excerpt below discusses their interaction and the Holster's value.
If you’re looking to add another feature to the Leather Flip Case, you can add another component—the optional Signature iPhone Holster—in your choice of matching Nappa or Italian Pebblestone leather options. If you want to buy the Holster alone, it sells for $25; alternately, you can buy it bundled with the Leather Flip Case for a total of $50; that’s a $15 premium when purchased together. Like the Leather Flip Case, it uses a hard reinforced set of side clips, covered by a combination of the aforementioned leather and a soft suede interior, to grip your iPhone.
In short, the Signature iPhone Holster is an oddity: it cannot be used without the Leather Flip Case to hold an unencased iPhone, a la holsters and half-holsters we’ve reviewed from other companies, and basically serves solely to let you belt-mount the Leather Flip Case. However, if you’ve read the Leather Flip Case review, you know that the Leather Flip Case already includes its own detachable belt clip, so a separate holster to perform the same function is not really much of an addition. All that’s actually new is the 360-degree ratcheting belt clip on the back, which twists in 15-degree increments, unlike the loose and less stable ratcheting clip on Leather Flip Case’s rear, and thereby lets you mount your iPhone horizontally or vertically with greater stability.
This wouldn’t even be an enhancement if Case-Mate had followed the lead of most of its competitors, and included a more stable ratcheting belt clip with the main case. Similarly, while the Signature iPhone Holster might have made more sense if it further covered iPhone’s body, it doesn’t; instead, it just adds bulk to the existing design.
It’s ultimately your call as to whether doubling up on the leather is necessary or wise, but in our view, as the combination adds considerable size and little additional functionality to the svelte iPhone, the Holster’s not an especially worthwhile purchase—it’s only okay. Alone, we view the Leather Flip Case as a small step down from the original Targus design based on its lower protectiveness and higher price, but it’s still a pretty good case assuming that you’re willing to live without playthrough access to the iPhone’s screen and controls. We prefer Case-Mate’s Signature Leather Case (iLounge rating: B+), which offers better protection, looks, and play-through convenience for the same price.