• A review of the Mactalk prizes: silicon iPhone cover and USB drive
  • A review of the Mactalk prizes: silicon iPhone cover and USB drive
    Written by battye
    Thu May 21, 2009 9:00 am

    First up, thanks to decryption and the crew at Mactalk.com.au for choosing my suggestions to improve their podcast (which were "Play a short audio jingle whenever a recurring section comes up" and "Re-enact a forum thread"). I recently received a package in the mail with my prizes; a 4GB USB flash drive and an iPhone 3G silicon case.



    The USB drive was a Minitar 4GB USB thumb drive. There's not much to say about a thumb drive - it looks very nice with its cross between metallic silver and blue. It's very light and nice to use (it came with a lanyard which is also handy). A nice feature of it is a physical switch you can toggle if you want to protect your data from being deleted or overwritten.

    Overall, a nice USB drive and at 4GB something I desperately needed as I have only had 2GB drives until now.


    This was very exciting to receive, as I now have the full collection of iPhone cases. My existing cases are the hard plastic cover and the "leather" soft case, which I reviewed previously in The Battle of the iPhone cases. So I was looking forward to trying out the silicon variety.

    Front of the phone with the case on

    I like my regular soft case, but I decided in order to review the silicon case properly I'd have to forgo the soft case for one day.

    The silicon case is an "Exo two-tone" model. It is made by XSKN, who make cases for many different mobile devices. In the packet was also earcaps and a thin plastic screen protector, which I have yet to use.

    Straight up, the case is very nice to hold as it is made of a good material. I used to have a silicon case for an iPod, but unfortunately it broke, so with this new one I have been very careful taking it on and off! It is well manufactured, with holes for the touch screen, silent button, headphone jack, phone speaker and the USB connection/speaker/microphone combination at the bottom. There is no hole for the home button, instead there is an indent to press down on. Similarly, the sleep button and the volume controls are no visible but have been slightly indented.

    The buttons are still easy to use, although it was slightly harder to know when the home button had been pressed in enough.

    In the car, unfortunately the 3.5mm jack which I use to connect to my car CD player would not fit snugly into the iPhone headphone jack with the silicon case on. This is not a problem with the leather case, but the hole given on the silicon case was slightly smaller. It is worth noting that it still did work, but because it was not completely connected anytime I hit a bump in the road there was a loud "crackle crackle" emanating from the car speakers!

    Throughout the day, it was much easier to use the silicon case than the soft case - simply because it is quicker. There was no need for that second step of opening the cover. The camera was also easier to use as the hole matched perfectly with the lens, which cannot be said for my leather case (probably because it cost $5 on a New York streetside!).

    Back of the iPhone with the silicon case on

    I think subconciously I was more concerned about dropping the phone than I normally am. For example, normally I unplug the earphones and put them in my pocket in a few seconds. But with the silicon case on the phone doesn't have that extra protection, so while I was holding clutching the phone with one hand I was folding the earphones up with the other.

    On that matter, because the screen is exposed in the silicon case I put my earphones in my opposite pocket to the phone.

    On a desktop the silcon case seems very secure, simply because it doesn't slide. But it is six of one, half a dozen of the other. It has less chance of being hit off a desk in a silicon case, but if it did happen it might not survive a fall. The soft case doesn't have the same degree of friction on a desktop, but might handle a crash landing better.

    Overall, a nice case. While it's not ideal for everyday use for me, I do think this will come in very handy in situations where I was regularly using the phone without moving around too much (such as on a flight, when using the iPod function) or if there was an extended period of time where I was not going to use the iPod in the car.
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