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Review: Splash Cruiser Slim-Fit Case for iPhone 4

The Splash Cruiser Slim-Fit ($25) is a hard-plastic slider case that is compatible with both CDMA and GSM versions of the iPhone 4 (Verizon and AT&T). The case has a convenient removable bottom for those who use iPhone 4 docks or oddly shaped third-party USB cords. Overall, the Cruiser is a comfortable case with a soft surface and attractive matte design, but a few design flaws involving the iPhone’s buttons keep it from being a premium case.

The Splash Cruiser is a slim slider case made out of polycarbonate hard plastic. As a slim case, it’s quite pocketable. But in the world of iPhone cases, thinness sacrifices protection, and the Cruiser lacks shock absorption for true protection from accidental drops. That’s not to say the Cruiser is totally without protection. Inside the case, your iPhone will be spared from everday wear and tear while bouncing around in bags and rubbing against car keys.

My favorite feature of the Cruiser is its remarkably soft touch. Hard plastic cases aren’t known for soft surfaces, but the Cruiser uses a special coating to provide a pleasant velvety feel. We’ve seen this special coating used in a few other hard plastic iPhone cases and have generally liked it a lot.

The Cruiser also offers a convenient feature in the form of a detachable bottom. Simply slide the bottom third of the case off, and you can dock the iPhone in any compatible dock. In our testing, we also noted that some third-party USB cables would not plug into the iPhone with the case on—just remove the bottom of the case and it works. One downside to a detachable bottom is that you’ve got to keep track of it while the iPhone is charging.

In terms of appearance, the Cruiser offers a pleasant matte-black look (it’s also available in red, blue, pink, purple, orange, and green). We liked the case’s smooth round corners that went hand-in-hand with its soft surface, giving the iPhone 4 an overall comfortable look and feel. The slim shape maintains the iPhone 4′s elegant form factor. The only downside is that, with the matte case on, you lose the black glass and silver chrome look of a naked iPhone.

The case does have some problems when it comes to the iPhone’s buttons—in particular, the sleep button. The cutout around the sleep button does not provide enough access for your finger, making the button difficult to press. I often found myself having to reposition the iPhone in my hand so that I could come at the button at an different angle. It even hurts a little to press the button down. There is a similar but not quite as bad problem with pressing the volume buttons as well. The good news is that the long rectangular cutout around the ringer switch and sleep buttons means it’s fully compatible with both the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4′s.

Conclusion

The Splash Cruiser Slim-Fit case for iPhone 4 ($257.1 out of 10, recommended.

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