The iLuv Fusion for the iPhone 4 ($15) is a great idea, in theory, at least. It’s an integrated stand built into an iPhone case so that, wherever you go, you can conveniently prop up the iPhone. But while we found the Fusion makes for a great stand, its awkward shape and design flaws make it a less than ideal everyday iPhone case.
The iLuv Fusion case is made of two sections (featuring two different materials) that snap together to give you the case/stand combo. The first section is a soft rubber silicone casing that fits around the iPhone, giving it protection and shock absorption, and which can be used on its own without the stand. The second section is a hard-plastic stand that snaps into grooves built into the silicone case.
The stand section of the case features a hinge that allows the stand to unfold and prop up the iPhone in both landscape and portrait orientation. In portrait, the stand offers only 1 viewing angle. But in landscape, it supports a much wider range. One important feature we discovered is that the case can be turned “upside down,” with the stand’s hinge supplying enough friction to hold up the iPhone for another set of angles. As a stand, we enjoyed the Fusion’s versatility and portability. Who knows when you’ll want to prop up the iPhone, and it was nice to always have the ability to do so.
But the iLuv Fusion’s flaws become evident when used as an everyday case. One annoyance is that the stand along with its hinge sticks out from the rest of the case, creating an awkward, uneven shape. When laid flat on a table, the iPhone will wobble and sit at a slight angle. When held in the hand, the hinge digs into the palm and generally feels awkward.
It’s possible to separate the hard-plastic stand section from the silicone case, which alleviates the awkward shape, allowing the iPhone to lay flat. But even the silicone case section has its own set of problems. First, it has a loose fit that causes the case to frequently slip off when taking it out of pockets. Second, the cutouts for the iPhone’s buttons are not wide enough, and their rims are too high, which makes pressing the iPhone’s sleep and volumes buttons difficult.
The Fusion does a better than average job of protecting the iPhone. The silicone provides good shock absorption, and the combination of the hard-plastic stand on the back means extra protection, although it’s likely the stand will break when dropped with enough force. And the case provides a nice high rim around the iPhone’s screen, which should take on most of the impact should the iPhone fall on that side and protect the iPhone’s precious glass.
Despite the stand, we found the case to be surprisingly pocketable. After putting it through everyday use for a few weeks, we never experienced the stand catching itself on a pocket or bag.
We do have some concerns of the case’s durability. Most worrisome is the hard-plastic stand. The fact that it sticks out from the rest of the case means it will take the brunt of impacts. We feel that, if used roughly, the stand will likely break at some point. We also noted that after just 2 weeks of testing, large, noticeable scratches appeared in its plastic.
As a stand, the iLuv Fusion case for iPhone 4 ($15) is extremely portable and offers a good range of viewing angles, and we can see travelers in particular putting it to good use. But as an everyday iPhone case, the Fusion is a bit too awkward, and the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons a bit too hard to press, for us to give it a full recommendation. But overall, the functionality of the case/stand combo is compelling—I was kind of sad to move on to next review case and lose the portable stand. Despite its flaws, we can give the iLuv Fusion a weak recommendation, assigning it a 7.0 out of 10 rating.