Review: SwitchEasy Melt for iPhone 4/4S
After a rollout of cases that included a new model almost every week towards the end of last year, SwitchEasy seems to have let up for the time being. With so many different models, unique designs are key, and the company is no stranger to out of the box ideas. It was even able to put a distinctive spin on the otherwise stale plastic slider-style case with Melt for iPhone 4/4S ($35). Like most of SwitchEasy's cases, it's available in a number of colors; in this instance, they're questionable two-tone combinations.
Like most sliders, Melt is made up of two well-machined pieces: one that fits over the top and covers most of the body, and a bottom cap that’s just over 1.5” long. The former is very glossy, while the latter has a smooth matte finish. They smoothly slide together around the phone, with a thin oval of cork inside the top piece providing some protection and keeping the plastic from grinding against the glass. What sets these pieces apart from other sliders is their shape. Melt’s gimmick is that, well, it looks like it’s melting. There are a series of 3-D “drips” on the back of the longer piece, with the lower edge overlapping the cap. This design even extends to the front, where Melt provides some added style and a bit of extra protection around the camera, light sensor, and earpiece. It’s a cool design that definitely stands out from the crowd.
The level of protection Melt provides is just about on par with most sliders, but a little bit less than we have come to expect from SwitchEasy. There’s no button coverage, and the relative thickness makes it easy to miss a press of the volume controls. Both the headphone and Dock Connector port openings are quite tight; you won’t be able to use connectors any larger than those that Apple ships. Thankfully the case does support docking in Universal Docks, making a full electronic connection. The plastic case also comes over the front edge of the iPhone, forming a protective lip. For extra coverage, SwitchEasy includes two screen protector films and the proper application tools, as well as a pair each of headphone and Dock Connector port protectors. In addition, it packs in a stand and two Universal Dock adapters.
We appreciate the neat design that SwitchEasy brought to the table, and as always, the pack-ins too. Unfortunately, it otherwise missed the mark in a few small ways that add up. The lack of button coverage isn’t surprising, but the fact that they’re so far recessed is an issue, as is the tight clearance around the ports. We also find some of the color combinations to be poor choices; pink and blue, neon green and pink, and orange and teal don’t strike us as particularly attractive pairings. We’ll grant that some people may like them though. All things considered, Melt doesn’t fully justify the $35 price, which is high for any slider. It’s especially surprising from the usually budget conscious company, and the only justification we can see is higher manufacturing costs because of the shape. Melt is worthy a limited recommendation, based mostly on the design. A good slider can be had for less, but none of them look like this.