To put it mildly, silicone rubber iPhone cases tend to be very similar from company to company, and that trend has only accelerated with the iPhone 3G: everyone has embraced the general idea of covering most of the device’s back and sides with rubber, then leaving the screen open to be protected by film. As a result, the only differences between rubber cases are three in number: the amount of rubber used to cover the iPhone 3G, the way the rubber has been molded, and the price at which the finished product is sold.
Today, we’re looking at five rubber cases from four different companies. Gecko Gear’s iPhone Glove, Incipio’s dermaSHOT for iPhone 3G, JAVOedge’s Indented JAVOSkin ($20), and iFrogz’ Treadz Case for iPhone 3G are all basic rubber cases that fit the above description, while Incipio’s more deluxe Silicrylic adds a hard rear frame to the rubber skin for decorative and shock-absorbant purposes.
Like Incipio’s dermaSHOT, JAVOedge’s Indented JAVOSkin ($20) benefits from improvements to last year’s poor version. First, it’s a couple of dollars less expensive—now roughly par with similarly simple rubber cases—and second, it has wiped out some of the generic aesthetics and frankly embarrassingly awful molding in a cleaner, black or white design. Now there’s a series of grippy horizontal bars on each case’s back, and the holes are precision-cut for all of the iPhone 3G’s controls and features. We liked this design, but noticed that the recessed grooves had a tendency to pick up dust and pocket lint.
Protection is roughly average. There are holes for the headphone port, ringer switch, camera, bottom speaker, bottom microphone, and Dock Connector port, as well as the Sleep/Wake button and volume buttons, the latter of which some other companies have more wisely covered. Most objectionably, JAVOedge leaves the entire face uncovered, including the Home button, with the exception of the chrome bezel. You’re supposed to pay extra for a screen protector, which Incipio offers with its same-priced dermaSHOT, and even then the Indented JAVOSkin still exposes more of the iPhone 3G’s top and bottom surfaces.
Missing from last year’s version are the rear detachable belt clip and nub, which we frankly don’t mind seeing gone; in addition to a lanyard like the prior one, there’s also a cleaning Micro Swipe for the iPhone 3G’s screen. If you don’t want to attach the lanyard—and really, who wants to wear an iPhone around the neck, anyway—you can pop out the hard plastic lanyard attachment pin found in the case’s rear, creating a small hole in the process.
While the Indented JAVOSkin is a big step up from last year’s version, especially in design, the continued lack of included screen protection and average coverage of the iPhone 3G’s body make the case less appealing for the price than similarly low-end competitors. Consider this only if you really like the rear styling and are willing to pay extra for face coverage.
Company and Price
Model: Indented JAVOSkin
Compatible: iPhone 3G