Having seen so many good to great cases from SwitchEasy in the past, we were a bit surprised when Card for iPhone 4/4S ($30) arrived. It’s a clear departure from the very protective options the company typically releases, with simpler materials and a less exciting design. It does, however, have a trick up its sleeve that may hold a lot of value for some users, especially in certain countries: support for proximity-based payment cards.
Atypically for SwitchEasy, the actual case leaves a lot to be desired. Made from hard plastic—black, white, or purple—that looks and feels almost like an inexpensive, simple rear shell, it offers similarly weak protection. The top and bottom edges are fully exposed, and there’s no lip to protect the glass display, so one wrong drop or fall and your iPhone could be in serious trouble. As it usually does, however, SwitchEasy includes plenty of extras: two screen guards, a microfiber wipe, two Dock Connector port protectors, and two headphone port protectors. These accessories do provide a bit more protection than the case itself.
Card distinguishes itself with added thickness that’s designed to hold a single contact-based smartcard or debit card, and supports direct debit. This is a system that’s common in many countries, and is growing in popularity in the US—large companies such as McDonald’s have already begun to roll out proximity-based readers across the country. You pop the card into the housing and eject it as necessary using a moving SwitchEasy logo. It comes out without any issues. In our testing, the payment process worked perfectly. We were able to simply tap the case atop one of these payment systems at a local supermarket and it quickly registered the smartcard chip, without any need to remove the card.
SwitchEasy’s Card does exactly what it’s supposed to as an accessory for making payments, but falls a little short as a case for the iPhone 4/4S; it’s simply not up to the standards we’re used to from the company. There may be some real value, however, for those who rely on one debit or credit card for frequent payments. Because of this, Card earns a limited recommendation. It’s not SwitchEasy’s best case, but it may come in handy for some people.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhone 4