• The battle of the iPhone cases
  • The battle of the iPhone cases
    Written by battye
    Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:01 pm


    Hard case or soft case, which is better when it comes to the iPhone?

    The soft case

    The soft case I have is perhaps not of the highest quality. There are holes for all of the major buttons, but the positioning of the speaker, microphone and camera holes are slightly misaligned, but it is possible that it was made for the old iPhone, and not the iPhone 3G I use. I bought it for $5 from a street vendor in New York so I guess that is was to be expected anyway. Regardless, it does the job and I am quite happy with it.

    My soft case is made of vinyl on the outside, and on the inside is covered with a felt material which is good as it doesn't scratch the back of the iPhone. It also gives it good cushioning. The case is not large enough to have an iPhone in a hard case fit inside of it. Other soft cases may be different, but I think this sort of manufacture would be typical of most.

    The soft case that I use has a clip which keeps the unit closed and secure.

    So what do I like most about the soft case? It gives the phone more protection. Although I've never tested it and hope never to find out, I'm pretty sure that the iPhone would survive a fall from a table or a pocket on to any surface.

    Additionally, there is a small pocket inside it which is useful for inserting a few business cards or some other small pieces of paper into.

    There are a few downsides; it is much bulkier than a hard case. So it isn't ideally pocket sized. Mine does have a clip to attach to your belt, which is useful alternative. If you are constantly using your phone, then unclipping it and flipping the front can be tiresome, but as far as I know all soft cases are like this, so there is no escaping that. If you use the iPhone with the Apple headphones, then using the button on the headphones can come in handy as it can be used to answer calls hands free or for controlling the iPod functions.

    1 press: Play/pause song
    2 presses: Skip forward one song
    3 presses: Skip back to the start of the song (if you are well into it)/skip backwards to the previous song (if you are early into the song)

    Using the speakers, the sound is muffled a bit, but it's not too bad and certainly not unbearable.

    The hard case

    Unlike the soft case, I probably paid more than I should have for the hard case. I got it very shortly after the iPhone 3G was released so there wasn't a large variety, and also I purchased it from the phone store that sold me the iPhone 3G. Now they have come down in price a lot and are widely available.

    So in contrast, this hard case is of very good quality. As you would expect, there has been space left for all of the major buttons and switches.

    The case is a very snug fit to the phone. I'm sure there are different varieties, but mine has a dozen little clips on the outside of the case - which is split into two parts, a top and a bottom, which when pressed "click" together to surround the phone.

    The case has protected the phone from a lot of scratches, because the plastic back does look a little battered. I don't see that as a bad thing though, I think it is doing it's job.

    What I like; with this case on the phone remains very slim, so it is perfect to put in your pocket and also is very quick to whip out. No cover means you can instantly start using the phone. It also feels nice in your hand. Basically, all of the positives come from how thin and streamlined it is.

    The downside is that it doesn't offer the same degree of protection as a soft case. As it is made of plastic, any fall would see the shock transferred to the phone, unlike the soft case which would absorb shock. It is very good at stopping scratches to the back of the phone, but wouldn't be as handy in any brutal collisions.

    The winner?

    Get both! It is hard to pick a winner seeing both have some seriously important advantages and disadvantages, so I switch cases accordingly. Probably the soft case is a wiser investment considering the type of phone it has to protect, so if you find yourself in a store with only $10 not knowing which case to pick, you should probably go for the soft case to start with and get a hard case the next opportunity you have.
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