Though we’ve almost had our fill of iPhone 4 cases at this point, a small developer named Proof Cases has managed to deliver something just a little different with Duo ($30). Duo is a slider, but not in the way most users have come to expect: rather than having an inch-long section of the case slide off the bottom, leaving a portion of the device’s glass face and body exposed, Duo has a pop-open bottom compartment for iPhone 4 insertion. Available in opaque black or translucent “smoke” gray colors, the case includes one piece of anti-glare screen film and a cleaning cloth.
Right off the bat, we were impressed with the construction of Duo. Composed of a hard polycarbonate plastic, it has a soft touch rubber finish, similar to Speck’s SeeThru Satin.
It feels quite sturdy without a lot of give. There are grooves on the inside edges of the case matching the steel frame of the iPhone 4, so sliding the device inside the case is quite easy. The bottom compartment is held in place with depressable tabs on Duo’s sides. When they are pushed in, you can pull the bottom off; at that point, you just slide the iPhone 4 in, replace the compartment, and that’s it.
Once the case is assembled, the back and edges are mostly covered, although openings remain for the top and bottom ports, microphone, ringer switch, buttons, and rear camera.
While Speck’s SeeThru Satin provides button coverage that’s missing here, Proof compensates by offering full screen protection that Speck leaves out. Additionally, Duo provides a solid lip along the edges of the glass face of the phone, which provides a bit more protection from drops than many rival products we’ve tested. Removing the iPhone 4 is somewhat more difficult, requiring you to push through either the Sleep/Wake button hole or the headphone port.
We like Duo for a number of reasons.