There are a few compelling reasons to use a flip-style iPhone case, and chief among them are privacy and protection. The cover can hide your iPhone’s screen and any pop-ups or caller IDs that appear. And a flip case’s cover also provides protection to the iPhone’s front screen when stored in a bag or pockets. But there are downsides as well, chief among them added bulk.
The Monaco Flip Style Case ($25) is a good example of both the good and bad of flip-style cases. It’s a well-constructed black leather flip case for the iPhone 4 that impressed up with its professional looks and comfortable feel. But its bulky size also means you’re going to need some type of bag (or really big pockets) to carry the iPhone around in.
For those looking for a flip-style case, the Monaco is a success mostly due to its quality construction. We enjoyed testing the Monaco thanks to a leather exterior that had a pleasant, soft, buttery feel. The case also has a good amount of padding, and generally feels much more comfortable to hold in the hand than a naked iPhone.
But on the downside, all that leather and padding creates a lot of added bulk—it’s thicker, even, than the Otterbox Defender (review), a gargantuan hardshell/silicone combo case we consider the gold standard for iPhone protection. With its padding and flip cover, the Monaco is simply too thick to comfortably fit into most jeans pockets, so you’ll want to carry it in a bag or use the included detachable belt clip.
On the bottom front of the case is a leather button strap that, when fastened, keeps the case closed. We found that the strap was occassionally annoying when not in use, as it had to be bent backward to gain clear access to the iPhone’s home button at certain angles. We wished there was some way to pin the strap to the back of the case.
The Monaco comes with a few nice features. Inside the flip cover of the Monaco are two small pockets big enough to tuck credit cards or IDs. The case can also be worn on a belt thanks to a detachable belt clip accessory that comes with the case.
The Monaco provides good accessibility to all the iPhone’s ports and features with the exception of the iPhone’s rear camera, which is completely covered. You’ll have to remove the iPhone from the case to use it, but since the iPhone slides in and out of the case quickly enough, it’s not a huge problem. The front-facing camera is uncovered and can be used in the case.
The iPhone’s volume buttons, ringer switch, headphone jack, and sleep and home buttons are uncovered and accessible while in the case. The iPhone’s USB docking port is also accessible and the USB connector cord can be used with the case on. The case is too thick to be used with a dock.
In terms of style, the case has a nice, expensive look to it. The black leather is accented by white stitching that runs along all the edges. A Monaco logo is imprinted tastefully on the interior. The only minor aesthetic flaw we found was a circular area where the belt clip can be attached.
Excellent protection is a benefit of having a case that completely covers the iPhone. The Monaco will protect your iPhone better than 90% of the silicone and rubber cases we’ve reviewed. The thick leather and padding along with the front cover should all but guarantee the survival of the iPhone’s glass during drops from regular heights. When stored in purses and bags, the flip cover will protect the iPhone’s screen from scratches from keys and other sharp objects.
The Monaco Flip Style case ($25) is a well-designed, professional-looking case that offers privacy for the iPhone’s front screen as well as exceptional protection for the iPhone as a whole. It’s only major downside is its bulk, which prevents the iPhone from being pocketable. For those looking for a flip case solution, we can recommend the case with a 8.0 out of 10 rating.