Staggering is the only word we’d use to describe the number of hard plastic iPod and iPhone cases we’re reviewing today — over 20 different models that we’ve been comparing to one another, as well as past cases, over the last few weeks. To help you sort through all the options, we’ve assembled a few statistics that are worth knowing up front. All of the iPod nano cases in this roundup run from $20 to $30, with most at $25 or less, while the two iPod classic cases sell for $25 to $30, iPod touch cases range from $20 to $30, and iPhone 3G cases go for $20 to $35. Virtually every case offers at least partial back and side protection, but they vary widely in front, top, and bottom coverage. Though all use plastic as their base material, they differ considerably in color options and secondary materials. This review covers JAVOedge’s Back Covers for iPhone 3G ($20 each).
Three of the plastic iPhone 3G cases we review today are highly similar to one another: they all rely on the idea of clipping a thin shell to the sides and back of the phone, shifting Apple’s glossy white or black coloration to different colors and textures. They offer something between minimal and minimalist protection, and arguably exist mostly just to change up the device’s appearance; the more they cover, the more like an traditional case they become.
The Back Covers for iPhone 3G sit in the middle of this pack. Unlike their competitors, which are offered only in either flat or matte metallic colors, JAVOedge has gone completely ape wild in adding exterior design and texture options, wrapping the thin plastic in everything from plain fabric colors to textures and art or glittery patterns. One is covered in cork. Others have satiny or glossy textures; with only one exception, there’s something here for everyone.
That exception is class. None of the Back Covers struck us as really gorgeous; they look and feel like someone just took a smorgasboard of options from a catalog and tried all of them to see which people might like. Some, including a satin-like ribbon checkerboard version, look pretty good by cheap case standards. Others—quite a few, actually—unfortunately continue to bear some of the sad traits of other recent JAVOedge products, including sharp, unpolished interior edges and the sort of sloppy finish that suggests that they weren’t given especially rigid quality inspections.
The Back Covers are mid-range in their approach to protection. Unlike United SGP’s design, there’s thankfully no huge hole here in the back for the Apple logo, and these cases snap on in a way that covers bits of the 3G’s chrome bezel. Incipio’s Feather design covers more of the device, leaving less of its plastic and metal exposed to possible scratch damage.
As with United SGP’s similar offerings, JAVOedge sells these either alone for $20, or with an included screen protector for $27. The screen protectors are awkwardly shaped, but do cover more of the iPhone 3G’s glass face, and are more protective than the worst rectangular protectors out there. We’re not hugely enthusiastic about these designs, but if you’re looking for an unusual way to transform the back of your iPhone, you have a better shot of finding something “different” in this collection than you would in the offerings from competitors.
Company and Price
Model: Back Cover
Compatible: iPhone 3G