Review: Contour Design Fusion 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.
Like SwitchEasy’s Capsule Rebel, Fusion is a plastic case that blends glossy and matte textures on its back and sides. Whereas SwitchEasy’s mix of these textures created a spine-like glossy central frame that held the rest of the softer plastic case firmly on the iPhone, Contour has bonded the parts together, with liquid-like glossy strokes that surround the iPhone 3G’s headphone port, camera, ringer switch, and bottom without touching them. Matte-finished plastic is used elsewhere. We’d describe the design as “nice,” basically an alternative to similarly expensive Incase plastic iPhone holders with topographic maps on their backs, but not better. It’s available only in black for now, with additional colors planned.
Contour’s inclusion of integrated volume and Sleep/Wake button covers is the only way in which Fusion offers more protection than iFrogz’ less expensive Luxe. Unfortunately, the ringer, headphone port, and camera holes in Fusion’s shell are rough and uneven, as if they didn’t come properly off of the mold, and the headphone port hole is also on the small side. Most Dock Connecting accessories will work fine, but larger headphone plugs will struggle here. Another oddity in Fusion is that our review case actually bulges outwards at the Volume button point, exposing the chrome bezel there and detracting further from the case’s appearance. It really seems to us as if Fusion was rushed out of production and didn’t receive the fine attention to detail that it would otherwise should have received.
We’ve said it in past Contour Design reviews, and we’ll say it again here: the thing that most detracts from our rating of Fusion is the case’s lack of screen protection at a relatively high price. 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. As nice as the Fusion design is, we wouldn’t pay $30 for a case that covers only half of the iPhone, and has rough edges besides. There are too many other iPhone 3G cases out there that do better and cost less. If you really love this case’s look, consider it anyway.