The iChair for the iPhone 4 ($30) is a slim, hard-plastic slider case that comes with a built-in, flip-out stand capable of holding up the iPhone in both portrait and landscape orientations. The iChair offers surprisingly good protection for a slim case and is a highly functional case with only a few minor flaws. It’s compatible with the CDMA (Verizon) and GSM (AT&T) iPhone 4.
The manufacturer describes the iChair as a dual-layer case—it has an inner TPU layer (polyurethane) and an outer polycarbonate layer. But for our purposes, we wouldn’t describe it as a true dual-layer. The two layers feel like just like every other hard plastic case we’ve reviewed, and we see little benefit from the combination. More useful are dual-layer cases that combine hard plastic with silicone rubber to offer the best of both worlds.
The iChair is composed of two sections that slide together over the iPhone. In a unique twist, there are two top halves included in the packaging—one in black and one in white (or blue, if you choose). The extra top half is purely for aesthetics, and we didn’t the look of the mismatched halves, but each to his own.
The case comes with a built-in integrated stand that, thanks to it triangular-shaped tip, can hold the iPhone up in both landscape and portrait. When not in use, the stand lays perfectly flat inside the back of the case, so the iPhone won’t wobble when resting on tables (a problem with seen with other case/stand combos). The stand works well, holding the iPhone up firmly so you can tap away with worry of tipping. But we do have one gripe. The iChair only supports 1 angle for both portrait and landscape orientations (see our review for the ZeroChroma Teatro case for an example of a case/stand that supports several angles). This can limit the utility of the stand somewhat.
The iChair offers excellent protection, something rare in slim hard-plastic cases. The plastic is thickest in the corners and around the sides where the iPhone’s impact points are located. The case also has a nice high rim around the screen in case you accidentally drop it on that side. While its shock absorption is still not quite on par with rubber or dual-layer cases, the protection is nevertheless better than the majority of hard-plastic cases out there. And the iChair will protect against the regular everyday wear-and-tear from sliding around in bags and rubbing against keys in pockets.
The case offers excellent accessibility to the iPhone’s ports and buttons with the exception of the sleep button. The cutout area around the sleep button is not quite wide enough for thicker fingers to access easily. It’s not quite as bad as we’ve seen in some cases, but still annoying nonetheless. The case uses a single large cutout for the iPhone’s volume buttons and ringer switch, making them easily accessible as well as compatible with both the Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4. While you can’t use the iPhone in a dock while the case is on, you can slide off the bottom half, then dock it, although we found that the iChair’s design does not make this process quite as easy as with other slider cases.
Included with the iChair are two clear plastic screen protectors with a squegee board for application, a small dust cloth, and the extra white top.
The iChair for iPhone 4 ($30) is an all-around well-designed, functional, and attractive case. It does have a few minor flaws in the form of a hard-to-press sleep button and limited angles for the stand, but overall, we enjoyed using the iChair in our week-long testing, and assign it a rating of 8.0 out of 10, highly recommended.