Review: Marware C.E.O. Flip Vue for iPhone
As we've noted many times over the past year, we find it impossible to get excited about flip-style leather PDA cases for iPods and iPhones. The design, repeated over and over again with only minor variations in features, is tiresome and outdated, with a face-covering lid that prevents you from using the screen or controls unless you open it up -- an inconvenience that's less sufferable on Apple's video-friendly devices than their music-only predecessors. For that reason, and as much as we generally like Marware's cases, we're not enthusiastic about the new C.E.O. Flip Vue ($30) or C.E.O. Cover Vue ($30) for iPhone, though we were slightly more pleased by the C.E.O. Slim Fold for iPod nano ($25), and then again by the lid-less C.E.O. Slim for iPod nano ($20).
Flip Vue and Cover Vue for iPhone are almost identical flip-style cases, with one twist a piece. Flip Vue has a visually stylized but otherwise plain magnetic-clasped front lid with a wave-style groove in its leather front, which exposes the suede surface that’s used on its interior. Cover Vue’s main lid also uses magnets, but mounts them on the outside, connecting to a bottom lid that’s supposed to fold open to serve as a vertical display stand. For those keeping score, a vertical stand would not be useful for videos, but rather to present the iPhone’s main menus and other features. Both of these cases come with a plastic detachable belt clip and nub, and can be had in brown or black versions. The brown versions have brown suede inside, while the black versions have gray suede instead.
The nicest thing we can say about both of these cases is that they look fine and do a better than average job of protecting the iPhone. Marware covers virtually all of the iPhone’s sides, except for the ringer switch, leaving only the two top corners open in both cases; the headphone port and camera are also exposed. Flip Vue has an open Dock Connector with mesh vents for the iPhone’s speaker and microphone, while Cover Vue covers the same three components with the aforementioned mini bottom lid. Flip Vue’s better if you’re an iPhone speakerphone user; Cover Vue better if you want full-time bottom-of-iPhone protection for pocketing.
Unfortunately, there are other considerations here. Cover Vue’s stand functionality did not work at all in our testing, and its bottom flap only impedes the iPhone’s speakerphone features. Flip Vue adds little that we haven’t already seen to the flip-style case genre, which does less for us on the iPhone than it did on prior iPods. Apart from their coverage of the iPhone’s side volume controls, neither of these cases does anything we haven’t seen before in a leather case, and we wouldn’t rush to use either with the touchscreen-dependent phone.
Overall, though none of the flip-style cases rises to our “excited” A level of recommendability, none is awful for its asking price, either, and the standard Slim is a legitimately great option for its $20 tag. Cover Vue rates lowest because its bottom flap, while adding a little in protectivity, detracts from usability and doesn’t accomplish the stand-up mounting purpose it was intended for, while the more stylish and practical Flip Vue rates a little better for the same price. Slim Fold is even better as its slender design is well-suited to the nano’s, and the lid-less Slim offers the best functionality and pricing of the bunch.