Leverage ($50) is the first iPhone 4/4S case from newcomer Graft Concepts, and it’s an interesting take on the bumper-style design we’re generally wary of. We immediately thought of the word “bionic” when we first saw it, and the details only reiterated that view. The frame is available in glossy white or matte black plastic, but the star component here is the distinctive metal latch.
The case looks like a lot of the inexpensive bumpers we’ve seen: it has the appropriate openings for the ports and buttons, including particularly tight ones around the headphone and Dock Connector ports, so you won’t be able to use anything bigger than Apple’s connectors. At the top right corner you’ll find the latch, which is there for more than just looks. The mechanized component lifts up to create the give necessary for an iPhone to be inserted or removed from the frame. It then snaps shut and clicks in place, holding the whole thing together. Sleep/Wake button protection is built into the metal and is quite clicky. Thankfully, the company includes a thin backplate that can be inserted by users who prefer fuller protection; you just insert it when the frame is being installed, and it will sit flush inside the frame’s edge. If for whatever reason you prefer an open back, Leverage can be used that way as well.
Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumpers never struck us as good values, as protecting only the least easily damaged part of the glass devices made little sense, apart from aesthetic considerations. Leverage improves on Bumpers, but at an added cost that is similarly hard to justify. The $50 price tag gets you little more than an interesting-looking metal latch and a simple backplate, which don’t come close to justifying the expense. While Leverage provides respectable scratch and drop protection with the backplate in place, it does so with more complexity and a higher price than most one-piece iPhone 4 cases, including ones that offer superior protection. Overall, Leverage merits a C+ rating; it demonstrates that Graft has potential as a developer of iPhone accessories, though we’d sooner see it iterate upon a better initial concept.
Company and Price
Company: Graft Concepts
Compatible: iPhone 4/4S