Those looking for a stylish iPhone case might want to check out the Speck Fitted Tan Houndstooth Plaid case ($30), a good-looking two-piece hard shell for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It’s a snap-together case made of two pieces of hard plastic covered in a nice houndstooth-style fabric. The case is somewhat bulky, yet only offers subpar protection for accidental drops. Overall, the case is more fashion than function. There is one particular design flaw around the iPhone’s sleep button that leads us to dock a few points and give the Speck a rating of 7.8 out of 10, recommended mainly for iPhone fashionistas.
The most striking aspect of the Speck Fitted case is its looks. Covering the hard-shell plastic is a heavy upholstery-like fabric with a fashionable tan houndstooth pattern that goes far in altering the iPhone’s sleek-modern-glossy style. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we found the case to have a general look of quality and sophistication.
The houndstooth fabric covering has the nice benefit of adding texture and grip to the iPhone, helping to prevent drops. A downside is that the fabric is susceptible to absorbing dirt and oils over time, leaving the case likely to wear out faster than silicone and plastic cases.
In terms of size, the case adds about two centimeters of bulk to the iPhone, which really didn’t affect it fitting into my jeans pocket. It is lightweight, so there was no discernible difference in weight.
The case has openings for all the iPhone’s major ports and buttons and is generally well-designed in this area with one major exception: the sleep button. The ridge of the case around the sleep button (probably the second most-used button on the iPhone) is set too close and makes it somewhat uncomfortable to press the button (but still functional).
The case underperforms when it comes to shock absorption, which is disappointing for its bulky hardshell case. Its major flaw is that way the case fits together. The two sections snap together easily, but this design lends itself to breaking apart when the iPhone is dropped. We can only recommend this case for scratch protection, not protection from falls.
The Speck Fitted Tan Houndstooth Plaid ($30) case’s standout features is its looks. It offers good scratch protection thanks to full coverage and decent accessibility to all the iPhone’s ports except the sleep button, which is uncomfortable to use with the case on. Overall, the Speck case is a solid choice for the fashion conscious.