Apple currently offers eight different cases, including its own bumper, through it’s free iPhone 4 case program. But which one should you choose? Here’s a quick rundown of descriptions and reviews for each case:
Apple iPhone 4 Bumper
Description: A simple, rubber band that snaps around the edge of the iPhone. Apple’s description states “made of durable rubber and molded plastic […] it’s a fun way to personalize your iPhone 4.”
Review: But iLounge’s review is mixed “There’s no protection for the front or rear glass of the iPhone, save for the extra millimeters of depth added to the device. To Apple’s credit, metallic button covers are built into the ‘case,’ and rubber is used to line the headphone and Dock Connector ports — making them incompatible with some third-party connectors — but there’s no question that this case feels radically overpriced relative to any earlier Apple case offering”
Compatibility problems: The iPhone 4 may not fit in Apple’s own dock or some speaker docks and other devices while the bumper is on.
Incase Snap Case (clear and smoke) for iPhone 4
Description: This is a hard plastic case that snaps onto the iPhone 4 and covers the sides and back of the device.
Review: Because the iPhone 4 edition of this case is not yet available, neither are reviews. However, a poster to the MacRumors forums was none-too-pleased with the 3GS edition’s fit:
“First impression, terrible! I can hold the phone and wiggle the case so much that is makes a clicking sound against the back of the iphone. The fit on this case is horrific.”
A YouTube review notes a similarly poor fit.
Compatibility problems: Most users have not reported problems using the 3GS edition with a variety of speaker docks and other accessories.
Belkin Shield Micra for iPhone 4
Description: Belkin describes this case as “flexible, touchable.” Touted features include “camera lens cutout” and “slim form fitting design.”
Review: A MacRumors forums poster writes: “it is definitely a flexible case not a hardshell. It covers the entire phone, except the screen obviously. There are cut outs for the headphone jack and second mic on the top, the plug and speakers on the bottom, the Camera and flash on the back, and mute switch on the side. The power and volume buttons are actually covered by the case but it does not mess with your ability to turn the phone on or off. The only issue I see with this case would be if you have a screen protector on your phone. The case does come up onto the screen on the phone and when I purchased this case I also purchased a zagg screen protector (which was horrible btw, returned the same day) and when I put the case on it will certainly interfere with the screen protector. So if your like me and can’t stand bubbles on the screen I would not choose this case if you also want a screen protector.”
Compatibility problems: As aforementioned, you may experience problems with this case if you are using a screen protector.
Griffin Motif iPhone 4 Diamonds/Smoke
Description: Griffin says this case is “Durable, flexible, scuff- and tear-resistant […] stiffer than our silicone-based FlexGrip cases, but more flexible than our hard polycarbonate cases.
Review: We couldn’t find any viable reviews of this case.
Griffin Reveal Etch iPhone 4
Description: This is a semi-soft rubber band with a hard plastic back.
Review: ArtOfTheiPhone offers a positive review of this case: “
“The Etch does cover the sleep button and volume controls with its own rubber simulated buttons, but they respond accurately when pressed. But what we most like about the Etch over the Reveal is its looks and durability. Sure, the Reveal’s clear plastic allowed you to see the Apple logo and all that, but it also was easily scratched, and hairs and other dirt were easily visible.”
Compatibility problems: Because this case uses a rubber band similar to Apple’s bumper, you may experience problems with speaker docks and some other accessories
Speck Fitted Case iPhone 4
Description: This is a hard-shell case with matte soft-touch coating.
Review: Insanely Great Mac writes: “seems a bit of a mix between the Fitted from the iPhone 3G/3GS and the iPad. We were fans of the revised Fitted for the iPhone 3G/3GS and this appears to be yet another step in the evolution of one of the company’s more popular case models. The case features the signature fabric backing with two-piece rubber sides. The edges and face of the case are nice soft to the touch that’s great for grip, but still easy to get out of pockets.”
Speck PixelSkin HD iPhone 4
Description: A thick, soft rubber case that covers the sides and back with a blocky texture that is designed to enhance grip.
Review: iGadgetLife writes: “The PixelSkin should protect the iPhone 4 from minor bumps and dings but I would not recommend dropping the iPhone 4 from a height even with the case on. The screen is exposed but does have some protection by the raised bezel. The PixelSkin is a nice looking case and seems to have a lower profile despite having nearly the same dimensions as the iPhone 3G version. The new material gives it a smooth yet gripable texture. With the Tiled Texture the PixelSkin feels very secure in the user’s hand. One drawback to the material is that it does attract dust especially with the black version.”
Compatibility problems. The headphone jack becomes slightly recessed with this case, so you may have problems with shorter audio connectors.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.