Review: Marware SportGrip for iPhone 3G
Officially less than a week old, Apple's iPhone 3G already has its first collection of protective cases, designed to shield the device against scratch and scuff damage, as well as fingerprints and smudges. Today, we're doing brief reviews of the first dozen iPhone 3G cases, some of which are modestly redesigned versions of original iPhone designs, and others completely new to this device. This review covers Marware's Sport Grip for iPhone 3G ($20).
Unfortunately price bumped from its award-winning iPhone predecessor, the redesigned Sport Grip still includes the same combination of one silicone rubber case, a clear film screen protector, and a cleaning cloth. Three colors, white, black, or pink, are available; each is opaque rather than transparent or translucent. A frosted clear version, originally offered in last year’s model, is unfortunately not yet sold for iPhone 3G.
The premise behind the original Sport Grip was to make the first iPhone more grippy, a great idea that users told us again and again that they appreciated. For whatever reason, perhaps because the iPhone’s curved back is inherently more contoured to one’s hand than before, Marware’s new Sport Grip design really isn’t grippy: this case now features a smoother, ridgeless back that matches iPhone 3G’s natural rear curves rather than augmenting them. Here, the rubber is as smooth as the iPhone 3G’s glossy plastic, and the only ridge you feel is a mold line on the case’s right side.
Otherwise, the new Sport Grip is much like the last one; none of the device’s functionality is impacted by this design. Marware exposes the camera, headphone port, bottom Dock Connector, speakers, and microphone, as well as the ringer switch, screen, ear speaker, and sensors. It covers the Home, volume, and Sleep/Wake buttons, and includes a decent clear film screen protector that covers the iPhone’s entire face, optionally including its three proximity and ambient light sensors. Both the case and the film have somewhat odd-looking sets of holes for these sensors; though they work, one imagines that future designs will avoid individually breaking them out. Additionally, the case has only the slightest bulge around the iPhone 3G’s screen—less than last year’s version.
Ultimately, the major reason Sport Grip misses its predecessor’s high recommendation is pricing: whereas the last version struck us as perfectly priced for a simple, slightly-better-than-commodity-class rubber case, the $20 asking price here is a little high for something that loses a little of the core “grip” functionality and doesn’t really stand out from the rubber case pack. This is still a good and affordable case, but you’ll find many others similar to it for the same or lower prices.