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Review: Incipio iPhone 4 Silicrylic Case

When we reviewed the Incipio Silicrylic for the iPhone 3G, we were big fans. The iPhone 4 version of the Silicrylic Case ($15) still impresses us, offering up excellent protection and a stylish design, but the transition created a few new issues, the biggest being with the iPhone 4’s new LED flash.

Incipio’s Silicrylic line of cases takes the popular two-layer approach to protecting the iPhone, offering a soft silicone inner skin reinforced with a hard acrylic outer shell (silicone + acrylic = Silicrylic, get it?). The soft sleeve protects against scrapes and offers shock absorption as well as preventing the harder layer from scratching up the iPhone. And the hard shell provides rigidity and strength.



The Silicrylic impressed us with the amount of protection it offers while not adding much weight (but does significantly expand the iPhone’s dimensions). The hard plastic shell covers most of the phone and its edges, only missing the top and bottom edges and a small area around the volume controls. The case leaves openings for the ringer switch, dock port, headphone slot, camera, and flash — but the area around the flash creates a major problem, which we’ll hit later. Access to all the buttons and ports is excellent. While we had a problem with fitting some headphones into Apple’s Bumper Case, the Silicrylic offered no issues.

In terms of style, we found the Silicrylic to be one of the more appealing cases we’ve seen so far, showing off some slick lines. The case is available in a variety of colors, including black, white, pink, and purple.

The case does come with a few downsides. First, the Silicrylic adds a significant amount of bulk to the “world’s thinnest smartphone.” Sure, that’s not the end of the world, and with the iPhone 4 so slim to start with. But if you want to maintain the iPhone 4’s skinny-jeans aesthetic, look elsewhere.

But perhaps the biggest problem is the case’s interaction with the iPhone 4’s new LED flash. Photos using the iPhone’s flash with the case have a washed out look (see example below). The cause is likely the LED’s light hitting the edge of the case around the camera lens and reflecting back into the camera. Reports about this problem are appearing with a number of cases, so it’s something iPhone 4 case makers are going to have to take into consideration.

Conclusion

The iPhone 4 Silicrylic Case ($15) offers a lot of protection for your iPhone, and looks pretty good doing it. However, if you plan on doing any photography in low light, you’ll have to remove the case in order to optimize the use of the LED flash. Given that the flash is a pretty big selling point on the iPhone 4, obstructing its use is a major black mark. Even with that issue, we can generally recommend the Silicrylic, rating it a 7.3 out of 10.

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