Review: Contour Design Flick for iPhone 3G
After looking at five rubber iPhone 3G cases yesterday, we wanted to look at three additional hard plastic cases today, two from Contour Design called Fusion ($30) and Flick for iPhone 3G ($35), and one from iFrogz called Luxe ($20). While none of these cases is fantastic in the grand scheme of things, they differ in two major ways: iFrogz' case sells for much less than the other two while offering greater protection. As such, our ratings differ a fair amount.
While we’re generally fans of Contour Design’s cases, we will admit up front to being really disappointed with the latest two items in its arsenal, Fusion and Flick. It’s not that these are unattractive cases, or that they’re useless; they’re just really overpriced considering that all you’re getting in each case is a single semi-flexible piece of plastic, and that once again, Contour has made no effort to include iPhone 3G screen protection in these packages. For the prices, users should expect more, and typically get more in competing options.
By contrast with Fusion, Flick is apparently a response to Incase’s minimalist, overpriced Slider cases for the original iPhone—ones that separated into two pieces for accessory compatibility. Unfortunately, rather than saying “look at how much better we can do for less,” Flick’s response is, “hey, I can charge just as much for something as simple!” Consequently, you get to choose from a white or black glossy hard plastic shell with a rubberized hinge at the back. That’s it; there’s no screen protector, belt clip, or other item in the box. As a result, all that differentiates Flick from other plastic cases we’ve seen is its moderate thinness and its different approach to accessory connection.
Flick has a hugely open bottom to begin with, large enough to let the iPhone 3G work with basically any docking accessory out there, but Contour’s hinge takes compatibility a step further. If the hinge is used, a bottom flap on Flick’s back opens to provide compatibility with the iPhone 3G Dock, presently the only accessory that requires a bare or virtually bare iPhone 3G to work. Whereas compatibility with Apple’s dock was potentially a big deal for original iPhone users who received docks with their phones, the iPhone 3G Dock is now sold separately, so you’ll have to decide whether this feature matters to you. If not, there’s no reason to prefer Flick over the many cases that work just fine with Apple’s more common Universal Dock standard.
Because Contour doesn’t use rubber or plastic anywhere near as aggressively here as it has on its other cases, there’s a huge amount of the iPhone 3G that’s left unprotected. In addition to the bottom, there’s a similarly large uncovered swath on the left hand side. Headphone port and camera holes are more tightly tailored—the headphone port again a little too small for the largest plugs—and there’s a rubber integrated cover for the Sleep/Wake button, which is appreciated, though the chrome bezel is sadly left uncovered on the iPhone 3G’s face.
Collectively, this is literally all a step or two back from the company’s earlier iSee, which offered more and smarter protection at a lower price. Like iSee, Flick has dimples at its side center points for easier holding, but Flick’s inherent slipperiness is higher because of the glossy plastic here. It’s also worth a small note that the ultra pure white colored Flick doesn’t quite match the iPhone 3G’s slightly creamier tone; apart from Flick’s iPhone 3G Dock-compatible bottom, white iPhone 3G users will be much better served both in aesthetics and protection with iSee.
However, as we noted in our review of Fusion, and have mentioned in past reviews, the single biggest pain point in buying this and other Contour iPhone cases is their lack of screen protection. While the iPhone 3G’s glass screen is resistant to some forms of damage, we’ve already seen one scratched, and we know from the prior iPhone and iPod touch that chips and cracks are also serious possibilities. Shelling out $35 for a case that only does half a job of protecting the iPhone 3G strikes us as unreasonable; we will be thrilled when the day comes that Contour decides that the iPhone’s face is as deserving of protection as those of all of the past iPods it has more wisely covered. For now, consider Flick only if you’re an iPhone 3G Dock user and you don’t mind giving up a lot of protection—and dollars—for the convenience of easier docking access.