Incipio Le Deux for iPhone 4/4S
Over the years, we've generally been fans of Incipio's cases. They're almost always well thought out, simple yet effective designs that appeal to a wide array of iPad, iPhone, and iPod users. At first glance, it may seem that the company's new Le Deux for iPhone 4/4S ($30) follows that pattern but unfortunately, that's not the case. Instead, it combines one rather nice looking design element with another of far lower quality, resulting in an option that doesn't live up to our expectations.
The case is made up of two parts, not counting the complimentary screen protector kit. It’s not immediately clear which to install first, but after playing around with them or watching the instructional video on Incipio’s website, it becomes clear that putting on the brushed stainless steel backplate is meant to be the initial step. Lined with silicone rubber to prevent the metal from rubbing directly against the iPhone, it fits around the rear glass panel with just a little bit of wiggle room and without adding any real bulk. Admittedly, it looks quite nice and although we’re usually wary of metal components in cases because of how they might effect antenna performance, we saw no attenuation of the signal.
After the plate is set, it’s time to install the thin polycarbonate bumper, which feels light and cheap in comparison to the materials Incipio normally uses. It takes a bit of work to maneuver it into place, as it’s somewhat flexible but doesn’t stretch too far. We worried about scratching the iPhone’s steel band and while that didn’t happen, we did begin to see some stress marks in the plastic after a handful of installations. Once it has been positioned properly, the bumper snaps into the metal plate, holding it in place. Unfortunately, that’s about all it does. Le Deux doesn’t provide any button coverage, and limits accessory compatibility due to tight openings for the headphone and Dock Connector ports. It also has an all but negligible lip, relying solely on the screen protector film for protection. Altogether the solution is at least slim, and easily slides in and out of a pocket for into a Universal Dock.
The concept behind Le Deux isn’t necessarily a bad one, but we’re not very fond of the execution. While the metal plate looks neat and, thankfully, doesn’t effect reception, the process of attaching the bumper and the bumper itself aren’t as elegant. Incipio has a history of revising its cases over generations, making real improvements one step at a time. We hope that that trend continues with this one, as it could ultimately be pretty cool. However, we can’t can’t recommend Le Deux in it’s current state.