The Case-Mate Vroom ($15) for iPhone 4 is an affordable silicone rubber case that sports a masculine tire-tread pattern on its back. While we weren’t impressed with the previous version of the Vroom for the 3G thanks to a loose fit, the iPhone 4 version has improved enough for us to drastically change our opinion. We love the Vroom’s excellent protection at a cheap price, the improved grip, and as a remedy for the iPhone 4’s antenna attenuation problem.
As mentioned, our biggest issue with the previous Vroom was a loose fit that would cause the iPhone to slip out of the case during everyday use. It was so bad, we couldn’t give the case a recommendation. The issue has now been mostly fixed, as the corners fit much tighter, helping to prevent the case from slipping off easily, although there is still a little bit of looseness we’d like to see corrected.
We generally like silicone rubber cases as a protection solution for the iPhone. They provide great shock absorption, are light weight, add improved grip, and are flexible for easy application and removal. Silicone cases tend to be cheap as well. The Case-Mate Vroom exhibits all of these positive characteristics, and at $15, it’s one of the cheapest early iPhone 4 cases available.
Another issue we had with the previous version of the Vroom was how it handled the sleep and volume buttons. For the iPhone 4 version, Case-Mate again chose to cover the buttons with its own simulated buttons (little raised areas), and we again feel they are not raised enough above the surface to give a solid tactile feel. But at least now we no longer experience the case slipping off while pressing the buttons as we did for the 3G version.
The case handles the iPhone 4’s ports for the headphones and docking port well, leaving plenty of room for easy access. We were also impressed that, being an early case, how well the Vroom handles the iPhone 4’s new noise-canceling mic as well as the LED light next to the camera lens. Both are given plenty of room and operate at their full potential with the case on (no LED light backsplash problem).
Silicone rubber offers an innate improvement in grip over the iPhone’s slick, glossy surface, and the right patterned texture can help improve it even more. What’s strange about the Vroom is that although the silicone improves grip, the tire-tread pattern doesn’t seem to add much. But still, an iPhone 4 with a Vroom on is much easier to hold than without.
The Vroom’s biggest added benefit to the iPhone 4 is shock absorption. With the iPhone now covered with glass on both sides, the chances of it shattering have increased (yes, the iPhone 4’s glass is incredibly scratch resistant, but is still capable of breaking from normal drops). The Vroom’s silicone is relatively thick, and it has a nice thick rim that sticks out around the iPhone’s screen that adds shock absorption should the iPhone land flat on that side.
Included with the Vroom are two clear screen protectors and a small cleaning cloth. While we generally don’t recommend screen protectors (the iPhone’s screen is plenty scratch resistant enough), it’s nice that they are included in case you do.
The Case-Mate Vroom ($15) for iPhone 4 is an improved model over the previous 3G version, offering a tighter fit that won’t easily slip off. As with most silicone cases, it offers good shock absorption and better grip for the iPhone. While the tire-tread style is love it or leave it, overall it’s a quality case that deserves a high recommendation. We assign it a 8.3 out of 10.