iPhone Case Reviews – InCase, Clarifi & The Naked Case

Got a quickie post this evening. I’ve had my iPhone for a few months now, and given the delicate nature of the phone, I’ve sampled many a case for protection. Tonight I’m highlighting three cases, all of which are excellent, but two fall short based on the same design flaw.

First up the Naked Case by Case Mate.

What attracted me to this case was the premise of the iPhone being fully enclosed within a protective shell. It helped that a friend already uses the case, and mentioned she dropped her phone twice with no ill effects. I looked through various reports, and the only negative comment I could find about the case was condensation that sometimes appeared on the iPhone’s screen. Reports of this weren’t widespread, and my friends who have the case said it really wasn’t an issue. I happened to catch the case on special, and dropped $20 to have one shipped. The case arrived, and my experience was just as advertised by Case Mate. Overall a sturdy case, and the touch screen worked through the front cover as expected. Unfortunately, the case was REALLY slick. The hard plastic was quickly covered with finger oils (and some of you are laughing because you know I’m an OCD handwasher), and the screen was quickly covered in finger prints. The finger prints I could deal with as the iPhone screen was really quite good, but I just couldn’t hold the phone without worrying about it slipping out of my hand.

Second entry the Clarifi case by Griffin Technology.

Clarifi Case for iPhone 3G

I discovered this case because I currently use Evernote on my iPhone. The Clarifi case comes with a sliding macro lens to help improve closeup images taken with your iPhone. In fact, it improves the close range to about 4 inches. This lens is extremely useful for things like snapping books, CDs, DVDs, or in my case business cards. <off topic>Evernote has OCR search functions for images, so I can take a picture of a business card, but search the text in it later.</off topic>  After the disappointment with the Naked Case, I was pretty excited about this one just based on everyday usefulness. The case cost more $34.99, but arrived within short order. Functionally, getting the iPhone in the case was similar to the Naked Case. Essentially, two pieces, one that slides over the length of the phone, and a bottom piece that slides and locks into position. The macro lens slides back & forth and I noticed quite a difference when taking closeup photos. The product worked as advertised. Unfortunately, the Clarifi case suffered from the same design flaw as the Naked Case. The polycarbonate material while sturdy was also slick. The case had rubberized grips on the side, but still felt a bit slippery. The other thing I noticed after a few days of use, dust gathered pretty quickly on the lens, which was hard to clean without a tool of some kind. In my case, a Q-tip worked well, but the point was to have immediate access to the lens as required.

Third entry, and current case, the Slider Case by Incase.

I purchased this case at an Apple Store for one reason only – the rubberized grip. While the case is plastic like others listed above, the outside surface has a bit of grip, and doesn’t absorb any oils from hands & fingers. There isn’t any screen protection so I use a Power Support anti-glare screen cover. While my iPhone screen is not as bright, I have found this screen cover works amazingly well simply because it doesn’t hold finger prints.

In closing, the downside of online ordering is the lack of immediate user experience. If I had spent more time with the Clarifi or Naked Case prior to purchase, I probably would have held off buying at all. Now, my experience may be different from yours. For me, the slick feel of the polycarbonate cases lowered my confidence in what daily use would be like, but the Naked Case excels in overall protection, and I really need the macro lens feature of the Clarifi case. For now, I’m using the Slider Case daily, and grabbing the Clarifi simply when I’m in the office to snap closeup images.