We’ve probably received more leather iPod cases in the past two months than in the past two years, so in an effort to cover as many as possible, we’re writing only brief reviews today for all but the most interesting ones. This is our review of DLO’s SlimCase Protective Leather Shell for iPhone ($40). [Updated January, 2008: This review applies only to the version of SlimCase released in 2007. In early 2008, DLO unexpectedly replaced the SlimCase with a new version that has an unattractive rear cut-out for the Apple logo, which has been the subject of reader complaints.]
Five months ago, Case Mate released its Signature Leather Case for the iPhone, immediately filling the “playthrough design” gap in the iPhone’s leather case category. DLO’s SlimCase is basically the same product, with a slightly different shape, higher price, and a missing feature.
Like Signature Leather Case and the many leather-wrapped iPod hardshells that preceded it, SlimCase offers a combination of fairly substantial and nice-feeling black leather side and back coverage for iPhone, with front framing, plus a clear film face protector (hidden in the package) and a detachable wrist strap for easy carrying. As the name suggests, SlimCase provides iPhone coverage with minimal added thickness; it is also capable of working inside a Universal Dock, and doesn’t preclude you from using any of the iPhone’s many functions.
While we wish we could say that SlimCase—benefitting from months of additional development time and lessons learned from earlier designs—is better than the Signature Leather Case, it’s not. Though DLO does a little better on top and corner coverage, it unnecessarily exposes more of the iPhone’s sides than Case Mate did. DLO also does a bit better on face coverage, with a cleaner shape and a full face protector rather than just a screen cover like Case Mate’s, but leaves out the belt clip and nub options in favor of the wrist strap.
Given the choice between the SlimCase and the Signature Leather Case, we’d pick DLO’s design first, but the price difference and various tradeoffs the companies picked make both options essentially equivalent. Case Mate offers more color options and a perforated black texture option that we’ve really come to like, and you’ll pay less for it. Pick the SlimCase if you prefer its curves, don’t mind paying more, and prefer either a clipless case or one with a wrist strap.
Company and Price
Company: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)