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Review: Four iPhone 4 Cases in the $30 range

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

In a perfect world, the iPhone 4 would not need a case. It would instead generate its own force-field and ward off dust pocket lint. In a perfect world, fingerprints and facial smudges would be absorbed by the glass and turned into stored energy to be used by the phone later on. Since this is not yet the case, iPhone 4 owners need to consider spending for  overpriced cases to protect their smartphone investment. Here are four cases available today around the $30 price range.

The Apple retail store does not yet stock any cases, this may be because of their current free case program for iPhone 4 cases, and because they need to fulfill all the backlogged orders. For those who can't wait for Apple to send them a free case or who aren't satisfied by the options offered, then heading over to Best Buy or Future Shop is the next best thing. We've seen a number of cases for the iPhone 4, most retail for $30 and most are not worth the money. Let's look at some of the ones we tested.

Case Mate iPhone 4 Vroom Case

$29.99 - Best Buy Canada

Silicone Cases for iPhones have always had the problem of attracting a lot of dust and pocket lint. Sure, these rubber cases are snug and offer all around protection without being too bulky. Being made of rubber gives you the confidence that they can give an added level of protection.

Case Mate's iPhone 4 Vroom case is your typical rubber iPhone case but with an unusual and rather novel tire-tread rear design.

While the rubber is soft and makes the iPhone feel protected, it does attract dust. Rubber cases like this one also warp and tend to get bent out of shape sooner than later.

We'd skip this, keep your $30 and spare yourself the disappointment.

Rating: 2 out of 5


Incipio Feather Hard Shell Case

$24.99 Best Buy

Incipio has been known to make great value slim cases for iPhones and iPod Touches. We've had a similar feather case for our iPod Touch that's protected the device's shiny rear end suprisingly well.

For the iPhone 4, the Incipio Feather Hard Shell Case provides the best lightweight partial protection for a good price. It snaps firmly around the body of the iPhone 4. All the ports and the volume keys  are, however, exposed.

While installing the case is easy, removing it is a bit of a chore as you need to unclasp it carefully and this requires a bit of force. 

The soft-touch mate finish, the reassuring clasps that hold the case in place and the overall finish of the Incipio Feather make it a great case for those looking for minimal protection that covers the entire rear.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Griffin Elan 4 for New iPhone

$29.00 from Future Shop

Griffin's Elan line is legendary for offering reasonable protection and well-designed and finished cases that protect the iPhone's rear and sides while managing to add much needed grip to the device by way of a faux-leather rear. This is really the best case you can get for the iPhone 4 for $30.00. 

The Griffin Elan 4 comes in two parts, the rear case that carefully nestles the iPhone and a slim front case seals it in. The Griffin Elan 4 gives the iPhone 4 a sleek yet quality look thanks to the leather backing which also adds substantial grip to the device. Overall, the case doesn't add too much bulk or weight to the iPhone 4.

Next to the Incipio Feather Hard Shell Case, the Griffin Elan spent the most time on our test iPhone 4. It is a good all-day option and may be the only case you need to buy for the iPhone 4. We liked its thoughtful design, great finish and the ease of installation. It does manage to gather up pocket lint and dust, at least in the area and where the rubber protectors meet the screen.

Rating: 4 out of 5


iFrogz Luxe Lean for iPhone 4

 $24.99 - Best Buy Canada

Another snap-type rear case, the iFrogz Luxe Lean for the iPhone 4 is available in most Best Buy stores. It is offered in a variety of colours and is the sort of case you'd use if you need protection but want to keep things light. The rubberized plastic material is substantially grippy.

The Luxe Lean case snaps solidly onto the the iPhone 4's stainless steel band. It is very snug and takes a bit of work to remove since one wrong move makes you feel like you could scratch the iPhone 4.

There are a series of vents on the left and right side corners where the antennas are which was possibly designed for optimum reception. The cutouts for the rear camera and LED flash are nicely beveled. The iFrogz Luxe Lean is not bad but it does feel a bit rough around the edges.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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I think few iphone users need this device. it is small and uncomfortable ! if you want to type long article ,you can use a PC , if you like to use phone with keyboard , you can choice a blackberry . as for me , i will not buy a ipone keyboard ! i maily use my iphone 4 watching movies combining my Aneesoft iphone video converter .
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December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenteriPhone 3GS

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