Due to a huge backlog of iPhone 3G cases that have swamped our offices in the last couple of weeks, we’re reviewing a whole bunch today in abbreviated fashion, starting with eight rubber designs from seven different companies. Though we’ve separated the reviews for their individual products, our top pick of the bunch is linked here: SwitchEasy’s Colors. This review covers Capdase’s Soft Frames ($17).
Though there are certainly many shades of gray in between the extremes of the Chinese case design spectrum, we tend to see some companies—such as SwitchEasy—as detail-obsessed, while others such as Capdase alternate between weird and sloppy. So despite the fact that Capdase’s Soft Frames offer similar protection to SwitchEasy’s Colors, and include even more pack-ins at a similar price point, it’s harder to like them.
The Soft Frames cases are made from black or white rubber that has been textured to look sort of like leather; they also feel a bit flimsy at the front edges, which have a tendency to flop open. Bizarrely, despite their coverage of the iPhone 3G’s top and side buttons, the Soft Frames also have big, not necessarily centered holes in the back for the Apple logo, which you’re supposed to cover with an included clear sticker; this approach looks and feels cheap, and detracts from the case rather than adding to it.
Another unnecessarily weak part of the design is Capdase’s “Magic Glass,” a hard plastic screen protector that can be touched through. The company promotes this screen cover as an impressive feature, but between its lack of adhesion to the iPhone 3G’s face and its so-so looks, Capdase would have been better off including a clear film protector instead. It does work without obstructing the device’s sensors or touch sensitivity, but then, so do less conspicuous film shields.
Similarly, Capdase includes a couple of generic pieces that are designed to add functionality: a neoprene pouch that holds your encased iPhone on your belt, and a frosted plastic clip that attaches to the back to serve as a simple video stand. Both of the pieces do what they’re supposed to do, and we liked that the case includes a video stand for the price, but they both feel like second- or third-rate solutions—toss-ins, rather than more thoughtful add-ons.
Overall, the Soft Frames aren’t bad cases, but they’re not really good cases, either; if they were sold for more than this price, we’d object more. As-is, they’re an okay budget option, but in our view, Capdase really needs to work on improving the look, feel and convenience of its multi-piece offerings.
Company and Price
Model: Soft Frame
Compatible: iPhone 3G