Timing — and good ideas — are everything. When Griffin Technology’s cork-covered Elan Form case was first shown in public back in January, we scratched our heads at the nichey, oddball design. How could something so unusual look good, we wondered, next to a case such as the simultaneously exhibited Wave ($25), which achieved basically identical protection with a better, smarter design, and a lower price point? The cork Elan Form was given a month’s head start in stores, but it was obvious that Wave was the one worth waiting for.
Available in six different colors, Wave is a unique two-piece translucent plastic case that uses soft curved sides rather than angular clips to remain attached to the iPhone. Interestingly, these sides are actually the namesake design features of the case, giving each of the colored shells a soft, graceful look with novel top, bottom, and side openings.
It’s fair to say that the looks of the Wave cases are their strongest suit; though the appearance and level of “classiness” obviously varies with color and personal preference, they are all amongst the most attractively designed iPhone cases we’ve yet seen, and the colored ones are guaranteed to make even the now-familiar iPhone worthy again of envious attention.
Strictly speaking, Wave’s protectivity is about the same as Elan Form’s—little differences in their fronts exist, thanks to Wave’s more complete face protector and Elan’s attempts to use molded plastic and cork for coverage instead—with neither case attempting the port or button coverage of cases such as Contour Design’s iSee iPhone V3. Since they’re largely open on top, and on the side, these cases are above average in protection, but not ideal. They make up for that somewhat in accessory compatibility: unlike iSee, they work with Universal Docks and most other bottom-mounting accessories.
Protectiveness aside, Griffin’s only misses here are small ones.
The cases, which use a nice-feeling soft touch rubber coating, come only in bright tones or a jet black version—the one we were most excited about until we found that its back was opaque, unlike the translucent others. In black, Wave doesn’t stand out much from other black iPhone cases we’ve seen, except in price; the other colors are cheery and perhaps a little young-skewing for the current, expensive iPhone models.
Additionally, the face protector, which appears at first to offer iPhone Home button coverage, actually doesn’t unless you’re willing to call the loose, guaranteed to fall off Home button cover a feature; clearly it was not designed to stay attached. Few iPhone cases cover the Home button, but every little bit counts; we’d rather see more iPhone protection than a cleaning cloth in the package.
Overall, Wave is one of the nicest-looking iPhone cases we’ve yet seen, and thanks to its innovative styling, reasonable pricing and above-average protection, we think that it’s just worthy of our high recommendation rather than our general level one.