Over the last week, we’ve been checking out seven different leather iPhone 3G cases, almost all of them highly familiar based on earlier versions we’ve seen for the original iPhone. We’re giving each only a brief review, with a short description and opinions below. This review covers Noreve’s Tradition Leather Case for iPhone 3G ($50-60).
Two factors that have long distinguished France’s Noreve from its many competitors are its use of higher-quality materials and its occasional odd inattention to certain important details when releasing new cases. For instance, the original iPhone’s Tradition Leather Case was a flip-style case made from a wraparound piece of nice-looking leather that completely covered the device’s headphone port and camera.
Noreve has sort of learned from those mistakes, but made another doozy in the iPhone 3G version.
Once again, what you get is a plain flip case made with better than typical quality leather. The suede-styled “Vintage” leather shown here is the more expensive version, and there are 15 total colors to select from. Each of the Tradition cases comes with a detachable rear belt clip, a metal nub, and a screwdriver for installation, each of these parts a little nicer than the ones we see from most companies. In keeping with the flip case tradition, the closed Tradition precludes access to the iPhone 3G’s screen and speakerphone functionality, a design we really don’t like, though it can be opened to use these features.
This time, both the headphone port and camera are more than generously exposed—the camera with a too-big hole, actually—as are the iPhone 3G’s corners, making this case somewhat less protective than the best-designed flip cases we’ve yet seen. A small magnetic clasp on the top back, which for some reason isn’t supposed to be used in the iPhone 3G, holds the case closed.
The magnet isn’t Tradition’s big problem: rather, the aforementioned “doozy” was Noreve’s decision to use a hard metal shell this for its rear casing. When we put the plastic-bodied iPhone 3G in Tradition, we saw reception take a one-bar and sometimes more significant hit, enough to take a marginal to good signal and make it unreliable. As literally the only flip case we’ve seen to date with metal inside, a material that Apple intentionally opted to avoid for signal strength reasons, Tradition strikes us as a tough sell unless you’re using the iPhone 3G in an extremely strong reception area and really need the unique sueded leather the company uses for its pricier cases.