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).
We have reviewed many plastic cases for the iPhone already, and their features and limitations are at this point well established: companies find it easy to cover most of the iPhone’s front, back, and sides, but struggle with what to do with its screen, top, bottom, camera, and button-style controls. JAVOedge doesn’t bring anything new to this equation with JavoClearCase, which just leaves all of these parts exposed, doing so more generously on top than many similar snap-together clear cases we’ve tested, and not providing any screen protection or other rubberized caps to fill them.
To its credit, JavoClearCase comes in two colors—one totally clear and one smoked clear—and includes a clear detachable belt clip and nub if you’re interested in belt mounting it. The nub lets the clip ratchet through 360 degrees of freedom in 45-degree increments, but is designed to mount on the case in a way that puts some pressure on the iPhone’s reflective rear Apple logo. It’s far from a smart design, the major reason this case rates below our flat B level.
As always, pricing on JAVOedge products requires a caveat: the company’s listed price of $22 may be lower when you visit the web site, though it’s been static at $22 when we’ve tested. We rate it at the standard price; consider it a better purchase if the company offers it substantially cheaper.
Company and Price
Model: JAVOClearCase for iPhone