Category: iPhone 4 Case Reviews

Review: Case-Mate Egg for iPhone 4 & 4S

Perhaps the Case-Mate Egg for the iPhone 4 & 4S ($15) wasn’t designed to be a stress relief toy, but that’s exactly what the hundred or so rubber nodules that stick up from the back of the case remind me of. And while this “accidental” functionality is nice, what’s really important is that the Egg is an excellent all-around case that gets all of the basic design elements right while being one of the more affordable iPhone cases out there. Read on for both my video review and text review below.

Video Review

Text Review

Silicone Rubber. The affordable Case-Mate Egg is made entirely of silicone rubber. The elastic material makes the case a cinch to slip on and off. The case fits tight around the iPhone, hugging the corners with no looseness like that found in some other cheap, poorly designed rubber cases. Still, like any slip-on case, when the right amount of force is applied, a corner can still sometimes come undone. Fortunately with the Egg, such occurrences were rare.

The other downside of some silicone cases is the ability to attract lint when stored in pockets. I didn’t notice this problem with the Egg, but it could have been the light blue color of the case hiding the lint.

Protection. Silicone rubber is great for shock absorption, and the more of it, the more shock absorption. The Egg has about medium thickness when relatively compared to other silicone cases I’ve reviewed, and thus supplies about a “medium” amount shock absorption. I felt comfortable dropping the case from a normal waist-level height, but the Egg isn’t exactly a throw-it-against-the wall kind of case.

The Egg has a rim that sticks out above the iPhone’s screen about a millimeter. This provides some protection when the iPhone is laid face-down on a table, preventing the screen from coming into contact with surfaces. The case’s rim may also provide some shock absorption if dropped at the right angle. However, any iPhone case that does’t completely cover the iPhone’s front screen (as most cases don’t) creates a risk of the front screen shattering if the screen catches the edge of a rock or table corner.

Accessibility. The Egg is a well-designed case that doesn’t get in the way of everyday use of the iPhone. All of the iPhone’s ports and switches are accessible when you need them, the camera works fine with the case on, and all buttons work accurately when pressed. There is a large cutout area that leaves the dock connector and bottom speaker and microphone uncovered. Everything you need to plug in or press works with the case on.

Grip and Comfort. Another positive of silicone rubber is improved grip. The rubber material is a lot easier for fingers to hold on to than the iPhone 4’s double-glass sides. The raised nodules also supply added friction, improving grip even further.

In terms of comfort, the case and its rubber nodules remind me of a stress-relief massage toy, making the case quite relaxing to hold on to. I soon found myself running my fingers over the raised rubber nodules unconsciously in a soothing manner. I’m not sure that’s what Case-Mate intended them for, but it worked.

Style. With a bold design like the Egg’s, the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I liked the design, as it’s both functional and unique. The case is also well made, with nice smooth lines and rounded edges. No frayed edges from poor machine cutting here. Stylishly unique without being garrish is how I’d describe the Egg. It’s also available in several colors, including traditional black.

Weight & Thickness. The Egg is a lightweight case, although not the lightest I’ve seen. In terms of thickness and general added bulk, the Egg is of medium thickness relative to other cases I’ve reviewed.


Review Summary

The Case-Mate Egg is an all-around well-designed case that doesn’t get in the way of using the iPhone on a daily basis. The Egg has style too, with its raised rubber nodules and the 3D-rounded-bumps pattern on its back. Medium shock absorption, a good fit, and an affordable $15 price tag combine to make the Egg a case worthy of wrapping around the iPhone. We rate it an 8.5 out 10, highly recommended.


  • All-around, well-designed case.
  • Doesn’t get in the way of using the iPhone on a daily basis.
  • Rubber nodules on the back are relaxing to touch.
  • Inexpensive.


  • For protection-focused buyers, only medium shock absorption.

Review: G-Form X-Protect iPhone 4S & 4 Case

The last thing an iPhone owner wants to see is the iPhone’s pretty glass smashed and splintered. Drop it the wrong way, and that’s exactly what happens. For peace of mind against such damage, there are really only two options: you can buy a thick protection-focused case, or else you can shell out $99 for Apple’s insurance plan, AppleCare+ for iPhone.

One choice for a protective case you might consider is the G-Form X-Protect for iPhone 4 & 4S. The X-Protect is composed of a mushy foam material called Poron XRD that can absorp up to 94% of impact energy from accidental drops. This material is soft to the touch and squeezable, but upon impact, it compresses and stiffens up, eating up the impact’s energy.

While shock absorption is nice, there are many other elements that go into making an excellent iPhone case. Below are my video and text reviews for the G-Form X-Protect Case.

Video Review

Text Review

Protection. In the area of shock absorption, the X-Protect really is one of the better protective cases out there. The foam material is thick, and it’s thick in the right places. A bit of clever design places chunky pads in the iPhone’s four corners, known as the impact points (see below).

If there is one flaw for this case in the area of protection, it’s that it just barely protects the iPhone’s front screen with a raised rim, which sticks out a millimeter high above the screen. The rim is thick and high enough that it takes on some absorption should you drop the iPhone completely flat on that side, but the rim is not made out of the same shock-absorping material. And really, the sad truth of almost all iPhone cases is that if you drop your iPhone’s front screen on a well-placed stone or corner of a coffee table, it’s bye-bye screen. (One exception is the Otterbox Defender, which provides protection for the screen as well).

Design. The X-Protect is composed of two sections of case that interlock with each other to form the whole. One section is the shock-absorbing foam, and the other is a rigid plastic frame that the foam locks into. The frame is made of a slightly bendable plastic and has intersecting, X-shaped bands that provide the case’s unique look. The foam sticks out through these bands, creating unique 3D contours like something from the Aliens movies.

Inner lining. A nice subtle feature of the X-Protect is a soft fabric inner lining that prevents the case itself from scratching the iPhone. Case makers often ignore the inner part of the case when, in fact, the case itself can be a danger to scratching the iPhone.

Accessibility. The X-Protect provides excellent accessibility to all the iPhone’s buttons, switches, and ports. All of the iPhone’s buttons work as expected when pressed, despite being covered up by the X-Protect’s simulated rubber buttons. The iPhone’s camera is likewise unencumbered, as there is a nice large cutout area around the iPhone’s camera to provide plenty of clearance for the flash to do its job (but who uses the iPhone’s flash anyways?). The iPhone’s dock-connector USB cord plugs in with no problem, and the iPhone’s speaker and microphones are uncovered to allow sound to pass through. The only negative in accessibility is that you can’t use a dock with this case.

Weight & Size. While the X-Protect is lightweight, it is quite bulky in size. It nearly doubles the iPhone’s thickness and adds a few millimeters to its width as well. Despite its bulkiness, it was still pocketable in my loose jeans, but wearers of tight jeans might not able to slip this one into their pockets.

Grip & Feel. One of the benefits of the X-Protect’s unique contours is that it dramatically improves grip. It is also a comfortable case to hold once you get used to the mushiness of the foam. And the mushiness does take a little getting used to. At first, it’s like holding a squeezable stress toy. That could be a plus, depending on your stress levels. While the feel is unusual compared with most other cases, I quickly got used it.

Looks. Although the X-Protect’s masculine sci-fi look is love it or leave it, I do have a complaint about its aesthetic construction. The frame around the iPhone’s screen, which ideally would be a perfect rectangle, has a crooked look because it’s made out of bendy hard plastic. It gives the case somewhat of a cheap look when the iPhone is laid on its back.

Image Gallery:

Review Summary

If you’re looking for a unique and highly protective case, the G-Form X-Protect is one of the better protective cases out there thanks to its high-tech foam. Its main downside is its bulk, but the case is otherwise well designed, allowing you to use all the iPhone’s features without obstruction. Thanks to its foam material, the case’s overall mushy feel takes some getting used to, but if you would like to lovably squeeze your iPhone instead of feeling its cold edges dig into your palm, you can get used to it. Rating: 8.5 out of 10.0.


  • Excellent shock absorption thanks to its high-tech “Poron XRD” foam.
  • Good accessibility to all of the iPhone’s buttons and ports.
  • Lightweight for its size.
  • Improves grip.


  • Bulky.
  • Front-screen rim has a saggy look to it.

Review: Ballistic SG Case for iPhone 4

The Ballistic SG ($20) is a thick, protection-focused case for the iPhone 4 that combines hard-plastic and silicone rubber in a bulky profile. With its dual-layers and extra-padded corners, it goes farther than most iPhone cases in providing shock absorption for your iPhone. We found it a well-designed case and one of the better overall choices available for iPhone 4—that is, if you don’t mind a little extra bulk. The Ballistic SG is currently only available for AT&T iPhones, but a Verizon version will be available soon.

The Ballistic SG is a composed of two sections of material that you wrap around the iPhone, one by one, to form the case. The first layer to go on is a silicone rubber sleeve that wraps snugly around the iPhone. Over that goes a hard-plastic exterior that provides rigidity, strength, and shape. By themselves, the layers are not very thick, but together they create a form bulkier than the average case and thus with excellent protective qualities. The four corners of the case are heavily padded with silicone and protrude out from the rest of the case. These corners create impact areas designed to take on the brunt of the force from accidental drops. All things considered, the Ballistic SG offers premium protection for your iPhone 4.
Continue reading…

Review: Scosche Kickback Case for iPhone 4

The Scosche Kickback case for the iPhone 4 ($25) is a combination hard-plastic and silicone-rubber case with a built-in stand capable of holding up the iPhone in landscape orientation. While not the thickest dual-layer case we’ve seen (the silicone rubber layer is very thin), the Kickstand still manages to offer above average protection in a slim, pocketable shape. Overall, the Kickback is a well-designed, functional case, with our only complaint being the single angle provided by the stand. The case is compatible with both the Verizon (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) iPhone 4.

We’ve reviewed several iPhone cases with built-in stands, and the added functionality of a stand can come in handy more than you think. But it’s important that the stand offer a variety of angles for a variety of situations (see the ZeroChroma Teatro as a good example). Unfortunately, the Kickback’s stand only offers one viewing angle, which is in landscape. Attempts to use the stand in portrait caused the iPhone to wobble and fall over. One positive characteristic of the stand is that it lays flat and out of the way when not in use.

Cases that combine hard-plastic with silicone rubber are designed to mine the best qualities of both materials. We wouldn’t consider the Kickback a true combo case, as it’s almost all hard plastic. The case has only the thinnest layer of silicone rubber lining inside. The rubber keeps the case from scratching up the iPhone, but the small quantity means the Kickback is not as strong as we’d like in the area of shock absorption. But that’s not to say the case lacks any protection—we rate it as above average. It’s just not on par with protection-focused cases like those from Otterbox.

The exterior of the case is a high-quality, glossy hard-plastic. Our Kickback was white trimmed with gray, but it’s also available in black and gray versions. Aesthetically, we found the glossy exterior to be modern and attractive, providing a surface similar to the previous generation iPhones (the 3G and 3GS) while maintaining the iPhone 4′s new contours.

To help provide better grip, the Kickback has four triangular strips of silicone near the four corners of the case. When held in one hand, the rubber comes in contact with your fingers and helps prevent the otherwise slick plastic from slipping in sweaty hands. It’s not the most comfortable case we’ve reviewed, but it is generally pleasant to hold.

The case does a good job of staying out of the way of using the iPhone. There is a single wide cutout area for the iPhone’s ringer mute switch and volume buttons. This wide area makes the case compatible with both CDMA and GSM versions of the iPhone 4 (Verizon and AT&T iPhones in the US). For the iPhone’s sleep button, the case covers it with a raised area of silicone rubber that simulates a button. The button works accurately when pressed, but doesn’t feel quite as tactile as the normal button.


The Scosche Kickback ($25) is a good-looking dual-layer case with a built-in stand. Well-designed and offering above-average protection, the case has few faults. Our only complaint is the single angle provided by the stand. We rate the case an 8.0 out of 10, highly recommended.

Review: XtremeMac TuffWrap Case for iPhone 4

The XtremeMac TuffWrap for iPhone 4 ($10) is a cookie-cutter silicone rubber case of the type that anyone with a contact in the world of Chinese manufacturing and a few thousand dollars in capital can have made. We’ve seen a million of this molded rubber cases (and a billion thin hard-plastic cases), and the XtremeMac does little to distinguish itself from the pack. The case is made from the type of silicone rubber that attracts and won’t let go of dust and lint. A loose fit allows the case to accidentally slip off the iPhone much too easily. Otherwise, the TuffWrap is an unobtrusive if average case that doesn’t get in the way of using the iPhone. And it’s available for cheap, only $10 on Amazon (GSM/AT&T iPhone 4 only).

The TuffWrap is a thin case made out of matte-black silicone rubber. The rubber is much too thin to offer good shock absorption for the iPhone. While it’s better in the area of protection than hard-plastic cases of similar thickness, we can’t recommend the TuffWrap as a protective solution, especially with so many better options out there.

One area the TuffWrap performs well in is accessibility. With the case on, the iPhone’s headphone and docking ports are fully accessible for their respective plugs. The case covers up the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons with raised pieces of silicone rubber that simulate buttons, which work properly when pressed.

One common annoyance with silicone rubber is that some versions of the material create a magnetic attraction to lint and dirt. Place one of these rubber cases in your pocket, and out will come a lint-covered mess. The TuffWrap is one of these cases. Even a quick swipe with a sweaty palm or a rub against your jeans is not enough to remove the grime. The case requires a bit of maintenance to keep clean.

Another disappointing aspect of the case is a loose fit. With the iPhone 4 being available for over 8 months now, there’s simply no excuse for a case to not fit right. Yet the TuffWrap will slip off the iPhone with the slightest tug. This can cause many annoying moments when, removing the iPhone from a pocket, the case will slip off a corner of the iPhone.

One of the better properties of silicone rubber is an inherent improvement in grip. The TuffWrap will give you a more secure hold on the iPhone. Its sides are lined with a textured surface that adds even additional non-slip grip.

In terms of looks, the TuffWrap is about as generic as they come. The one positive in this area is that it follows the contours of the iPhone 4, so those with discerning eyes will be able to tell that it’s a 4 and not a 3GS you’re holding. But the matte black coloring is plain and the case has little adornment. If flash and gloss is your thing, you should look elsewhere.


The XtremeMac TuffWrap ($10) is a generic-looking silicone rubber case for the iPhone with an annoyingly loose fit and a penchant for attracting (and holding on to) lint and dirt. It’s not a complete disaster—it generally stays out of the way of using the iPhone. And, it’s inexpensive. But in the world of cookie-cutter silicone cases, there are better choices out there, just check out our reviews for the Case-Mate Vroom ($10) or the Cellet Jelly ($8). We rate the TuffWrap a 6.0 out of 10, average.

Review: Case-Mate Pop! Case for iPhone 4

The CaseMate Pop! for iPhone 4 ($20) is part of a growing pantheon of “dual-layer” iPhone cases that combine two different materials—almost always plastic and rubber—to mine the best qualities of each. With some attention to detail, the combination usually succeeds, as it does with the Pop! The first layer of the Pop! case is a soft rubber lining. This layer not only protects the back of the iPhone from being scratched by the case itself but also takes on shock absorption duties. The second layer is a hard-plastic frame that makes up the majority of the case. The glossy hard plastic adds rigidity and strength while keeping the case lightweight. Also covered in rubber are the left and right sides of the case. The rubber here is textured, adding grip and a comfortable feel. The rim around the iPhone’s screen is rubber as well, sticking out a millimeter above the screen and preventing the glass from touching surfaces while laying flat.

The Pop! is a snap-on case, meaning you push the iPhone into the flexible casing until it clicks into place. The case is quite difficult to take on and off the iPhone, but the upside here is that there is little worry the case will accidentally slip off when handled or dropped. But it is enough to handle everyday drops.

In terms of protection, we’d say the Pop! is much better than average. There is some shock absorption, and it provides good coverage for the iPhone’s surfaces. But the case is still on the thin side, and in terms of shock absorption, it isn’t in the same category as bulkier cases like the Otterbox Defender or Impact.
Continue reading…

Review: iChair iPhone 4 Case

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 sleep button is hard to press in the case.

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.

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.


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

Review: ZeroChroma Teatro iPhone 4 Case With Built-in Stand

The ZeroChroma Teatro for iPhone 4 ($39) is a brilliantly designed, thin, hard-plastic, snap-on case with a flip-out stand that can rotate 360 degrees and prop up the iPhone in portrait, landscape, or anything in between. With a relatively high price tag, the Teatro is a tough sell, but the flexibility and usefulness of the rotating stand on its back makes it worthy of spending a few extra bucks on. It’s also compatible with the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Video Review:

The Teatro’s most impressive and useful feature is a rotating, flip-out stand on its back. The stand is attached to a circular piece of plastic that can be rotated 360 degrees and can hold up the iPhone in both portrait and landscape orientations. It can hold the iPhone at an impressive 42 angles (14 in landscape and 28 in portrait). When not in use, the stand lays perfectly flat in a recess built into the case, so there’s no awkwardness when not in use.

The stand offers impressive sturdiness for being such a small piece of plastic—we experienced no wobble on flat surfaces, even when tapping out notes on the small screen. The bottom tips of the stand are covered with rubber to help prevent slippage.

If you’re looking for heavy protection for your iPhone, the Teatro is not the case for you. Its thin hard plastic is mainly useful for neutralizing everyday wear and tear, but not protecting from accidental drops. The company’s website describes that case as having “interior rubber shock absorption,” but we no sign of rubber on the interior, or that the thin case as a whole has enough material to take on much shock absorption at all.

Another downside of the Teatro is there is no soft lining on the inside of the case. This could mean possible scratches to the iPhone if the case rubs against the iPhone over time. (Update: Teatro has released a revision of the Teatro, the Teatro-S, that added a soft lining.)

The Teatro somewhat improves your grip on the iPhone via two subtle design touches. The first is a dimple on the back that the tip of your index finger fits in to while you’re holding the iPhone one-handed. The second is a series of wavy indentations along the sides for fingers to rest in. A rubber lining framing along the back corners helps to improve grip.

The case offers excellent accessibility to all the iPhone’s ports and buttons. The areas around the volume buttons, headphone jack, sleep button, home button, and docking port are uncovered and left open, creating virtually no restriction of access.

In terms of aesthetics, the Teatro has a utilitarian look. Thin hard plastic cases can sometimes take on a cheap look, but the Teatro has nice build quality and a textured surface that gives it a neutral matte look. The stand on the back does create some awkward lines. It also is off-color gray that stands out against the black casing (the Teatro is also available in white/gray and pink/pink themes). In the end, we feel the the Teatro is a case that should be desired for its functionality, not its looks.


The built-in stand of the ZeroChroma Teatro ($39) is the best iPhone 4 case/stand solution we’ve seen yet. When not in use, the stand rests flat and out of the way. When in use, it offers a versatile range of angles to rest the iPhone at, supporting both portrait and landscape orientations. The downsides of the case are lack of protection due to its thin hard plastic, some awkward aestehtics, and an expensive price tag. But if you’re looking for the best iPhone case/stand combo, the Teatro is it. We rate the Teatro a 9.0 out of 10, highly recommended.

Review Summary

Price: $39

Art of the iPhone’s Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: The best case/stand combo solution for the iPhone 4/4S available due to its rotating stand and versatility. Not the most protective case, however.

Review: Speck CandyShell Case for iPhone 4

The Speck CandyShell ($16) is a glossy, dual-layer case for the iPhone 4 whose surface we found to be so easily scratched and scuffed, it took on a look of several years of wear in just one week of our testing. The case’s durability issues are a shame too, because the case provides otherwise excellent protection for the iPhone 4. But in the end, we can’t recommend this case, even at a bargain price.

The CandyShell had major durability issues.

The CandyShell is the type of case that greatly benefits from glammed-up marketing photos, with its glossy surface and smooth curves. But in real-life usage, we found the case too easily became scratched and scuffed from basic actions like laying it on a table or storing it in pockets. In fact, as if foreshadowing its durability issues, our CandyShell case came “pre-installed” with numerous lines of scratches on its glossy black exterior, right out of the packaging.

If the case could stand up to regular wear and tear, it’d be a good-looking case. Its exterior matches the iPhone 4’s gloss note for note, and the case has stylish trim made of silicone rubber. The silicone rubber also lines the interior of the case to prevent the hard plastic exterior from scratching the iPhone. The silicone peaks through the hard plastic exterior on the corners of the iPhone as well as sticking up a millimeter above the edges iPhone’s screen, adding some protection for the front glass should the iPhone land on that side.

Unfortunately for the CandyShell, it has another disastorous design flaw beyond its durability issues: the case makes the iPhone’s ringer switch nearly impossible to access. I had to jam my fingernail into the narrow opening the case provides to access the switch. And despite my effort (and some pain), I could still just barely flip the switch. When we experience a design element like this, we wonder if some of these manufacturers ever actually use their own cases.

The CandyShell does excel in at least one area: protection. It’s a dual-layer case that combes an interior silicone layer with an exterior hard-plastic layer. We think Speck has achieved the perfect thickness for the necessary compromise between protection and maintaining the iPhone 4’s thinness. Overall, the case offers exellent shock absorption. And, the case has a silicone rubber rim that sticks up a quarter of an inch above the iPhone’s screen, taking on some impact should the iPhone drop on that side.


The Speck CandyShell‘s ($16) glossy hard-plastic exterior is simply the most scratchable surface we’ve seen in an iPhone case. After just a few days of use, the case looked like it had been dragged down the highyway—the amount of scratches and scuffs it gathered from storing it in pockets and on tables was astonishing. Combine that with a major design flaw that limits access to the iPhone’s ringer switch, and even the case’s excellent dual-layer protection can’t lead us to recommend this case. We rate the CandyShell a 4.0 out of 10.