Rubber case makers have tried all sorts of tricks to distinguish their designs from the plain jane generics that started flooding the market a few years ago, and though the ideas don’t always work so well, they’re at least interesting. Today, we’re briefly looking at a handful of these cases: two are from Boomwave, four are from ifrogz, and one is from CoverCase. As is generally the case, our reviews evaluate each of these options only modestly on appearance, and instead mostly on the merits of their protection, value, features, and usability; you can decide for yourself whether their looks are a turn-on or a turn-off.
Our last review of the bunch is reserved for the case with the most pack-ins and the lowest price. Sold as a set with a pop-out video stand, belt clip, and armband, CoverCase’s SlimSkin for iPhone ($15) is a silicone rubber case—the company spells it “silicon”—that also includes a film screen protector and cleaning cloth. In fact, by comparison with the Boomwave and ifrogz cases, which sell for slightly higher prices, it’s decidedly well-equipped: with the various parts in here, you can conceivably keep a SlimSkin-coated iPhone on your arm, belt, or table—more than can be said for the single-purpose Boomwave and ifrogz designs.
Unfortunately, as is too often the case with inexpensive multifunction cases, you’re basically getting what you pay for. The base case is molded with ribbed sides that continue through to the back, and wavy lines around the ear speaker and Home button; these parts look cheap but okay. Our gripe is mostly with the number of holes, which include three unnecessary ones on the rear—two for insertion of the armband, one for the belt clip—and all of the expected camera, headphone and Dock Connector port, speaker, microphone, and button holes you’d expect. The only unexpected thing CoverCase covers is the side volume buttons; everything else screams “take the low road.”
Its video stand, armband, and belt clip are all of the same lackluster variety: parts we’ve either seen before or close enough and disliked elsewhere. The belt clip is tiny and cheap, like old Capdase designs; the armband is a low grade, narrower (1-inch versus 1.5-inch) knock-off of Apple’s perforated iPod nano Armband, and the video stand is a bent piece of metal that flips out like a lunch box cup holder from the 1970s. As we’ve said in prior reviews, you can use a cheap case like this with an armband if you want, but comfort and moisture intrusion are major concerns; we’d sooner have a sealed case we could trust without an armband than an open one any day.
Technically, there’s nothing awful about the CoverCase SlimSkin set, but there’s nothing really good about it, either. You can get a more protective case for your iPhone for less, and though we feel obliged to note that you can’t find a set with all of the parts here for as low of a price—the reason for our limited recommendation, rather than a merely “okay” rating—we’d expect that on seeing what’s here, you’d probably not mind spending more for something better.
Company and Price