Review: Uniea U-Suit Folio Premium for iPhone 3G
Over the last week, we've been checking out seven different leather iPhone 3G cases, almost all of them highly familiar based on earlier versions we've seen for the original iPhone. We're giving each only a brief review, with a short description and opinions below. This review covers Uniea's U-Suit Folio Premium ($35, aka U-Suit Premium Folio) for iPhone 3G.
Our comments on the Folio Premium need to start very bluntly: Uniea, please do not take our comparatively high rating of this case as a sign that you should make more like it. It’s not that we like the Folio Premium more than the other Uniea leather, plastic, and rubber cases; we don’t. Instead, it’s that the Folio Premium is a pretty good example of how to create this specific type of case—a leather, flip-style hardshell—while the other Uniea iPhone 3G cases don’t represent their genres especially well.
Like other flip-style cases, the U-Suit Folio Premium seals off almost every feature of the iPhone 3G when closed, a design that we really don’t like for practical day-to-day use of the device, but respect in the sense that it protects so much of the plastic body from possible harm. Thus, there are headphone, Sleep/Wake button and camera holes, but none for the speakerphone features, Dock Connector, ringer switch or volume buttons, which all need to be used only when the case is opened. Sold in red or black versions, each of which looks fine for the price and has a subtle Uniea flame logo embossed on the face, U-Suit Folio Premium also comes with a clear screen protector. The inside is lined with inexpensive-feeling velvet.
What’s nice about the Folio Premium is that you have the sense that your iPhone 3G is almost completely safe inside; though the case’s tailoring is a little on the rough side, with small stray edges inside the camera holes and halves that line up just well enough to be “imprecise” rather than “open,” there’s little reason to fear that anything but a little dust might get inside when you toss this into your pocket or a bag. While the headphone port hole is too small for most headphones save Apple’s and similarly small-plugged competitors, it’s OK; opening the enclosure yields access to everything else. The ringer switch is a little hard to toggle out of its vibrate position while fully inside the case, but that’s easy to fix by moving the device outwards a little.
Apart from the lack of a detachable belt clip, which is generally found in flip cases at the $35 asking price, the only bummer in U-Suit Folio Premium is the one common to all of these lid-covered iPhone cases; they preclude you from using most of the device’s functionality unless you open something, and then hang down awkwardly when you want to take a phone call. If that’s a design you like anyway, we wouldn’t discourage you from trying the Folio Premium unless you’re using non-Apple headphones, in which case you might need a case with a more open top port.