Materials aside, hard cases for the iPhone fall into three broad categories: ill-conceived, well-intentioned and nice but not great, and thoroughly impressive. Over the next day, we’re going to briefly review eight recent iPod cases that range in price from $20 to $50, and in design from one end of that spectrum to the other: four are made mostly from metal, the other four mostly from plastic. At first, we’re focusing on the plastic cases: JAVOedge’s JavoClearCase ($22) for the iPhone, Speck’s SeeThru for iPhone ($30), JAVOedge’s AlloyVision Crystal Metal Case for Apple iPhone ($36), and Otter Products’ OtterBox for iPhone Defender Series ($50).
JAVOedge’s AlloyVision Crystal Metal Case is an unusual one in this batch—it’s the latest to attempt to integrate metal into the design of an otherwise plastic iPhone case. AlloyVision’s face, bottom, half of its sides, and its black belt clip are made from clear hard plastic, while its screw-on, non-ratcheting belt clip nub is metal, and its back plate is glossy metal in your choice of black, silver, red, or magenta colors. The back plate stops at iPhone’s antenna compartment, which can see its signal hugely reduced by a metallic covering; this design doesn’t noticeably impact iPhone’s signal strength at all.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the color added by the back plate, AlloyVision doesn’t strike us as an especially good iPhone case. It leaves iPhone’s entire top, a third of its left side, its upper right corner, and a big swath of its bottom antenna compartment completely exposed, as well as its full screen and Home button.
Then, in the “why?” category, it also has a circle cut out around iPhone’s rear Apple logo, and a more sensible circle around iPhone’s camera. Neither circle looks especially well-aligned or attractive. Whether it’s judged by plastic or metal case standards, AlloyVision doesn’t do an especially good job of covering the iPhone; it’s more ornamental than anything else, unless you’re looking for a way to belt clip the device, in which case it’s functional, not great.
As we noted in the JavoClearCase review, pricing on JAVOedge products requires a caveat: the company’s listed price of $36 may be lower when you visit the web site, and in fact was down to $23 when we checked. Though you can consider AlloyVision a better purchase when the company offers it substantially cheaper than the standard $36 price, we don’t think it’s a really great case—it’s a novelty with too little protection given the many other hard case options out there.
Company and Price