Review: Tekkeon Hard Case with Soft Touch for iPhone
As much as we like and expect some form of screen protection in an iPhone case, the two types that make little or no sense to us are fabric flip-style lids, which completely cover the iPhone's face, and clear hard plastic shells that preclude you from using the device's controls. Who wants to further complicate the process of unlocking the phone's main screen to answer and end phone calls, or deal with a lid that impedes your ability to watch videos, use the Safari web browser, or access the iPhone's many other applications?
Though we’ve seen plenty of fabric flip-style lids on iPhone cases, few have included hard plastic screen guards—Tekkeon’s new Hard Case with Soft Touch for iPhone ($30) is one of them. This design features a hard plastic shell that’s highly similar to others we’ve seen from Incipio, Griffin, and others, only coated this time with a soft touch rubberized coating in your choice of five colors, and saddled with a flip-open screen cover.
For no particular reason, the cover is tinted black, dimming the screen if you expected to watch a video on it with the lid closed. Every time you want to use the iPhone’s on-screen controls, you’ll need to flip open the lid with your finger, and hold the iPhone so that it doesn’t flop back down; conversely, every time you want to use the phone as a handset rather than as a speakerphone, you’ll need to open up the lid to dial, then close it so that it doesn’t block the ear speaker, then open it again to end the call. This isn’t a user-optimized design. Unlike Capdase’s similarly misguided Crystal Case for iPhone, the lid isn’t spring-loaded, and the case doesn’t have an integrated video stand, either. A ratcheting, detachable belt clip can prop it up, however, if you want; the black clip is relatively large, but sturdy. For some reason, the nub on the back is non-detachable, which makes the case thicker at its maximum than comparable shells we’ve tested.
Top, bottom, and side coverage is about the same as in most simple hard plastic iPhone cases: the top, left side, and bottom are substantially open, as is the iPhone’s camera, and unlike the Capdase design, the Home button on front is completely exposed as well. It goes without saying that all of the front holes, including the Home button, could better have been covered with a good piece or two of protective film, and that the largely open top could have been sealed more tightly to protect the iPhone’s SIM slot, as well.
Strictly speaking, there’s no good reason that this case had to lose out on our general recommendation: had it been priced reasonably and substituted film for the intrusive front lid, we would have gladly recommended it. But with all of the iPhone hard plastic cases that are out there selling for the same price or less, without impeding easy access to the device’s screen, there’s no reason to prefer the Hard Case with Soft Touch except for its coating—the softish rubber is a little more resilient than GreenEdge’s take on the same idea, which we otherwise preferred for its bolder colors, superior convenience, and smarter approach to top, side, and face button protection. We know Tekkeon can do decidedly better than this, and look forward to seeing that happen in the near future.