The Case for Cases

On July 17, 2007, in Opinion, by Dan Robinson

 


There are two markets for a phone case (the brand of phone is immaterial).

There’s the holster; then there’s the purse model.

If you’re like most men — and don’t carry a purse — you go for the holster type, which is further divided into the horizontal and vertical. As phones get bigger again thanks to increased screen size, the holster orientation becomes a factor.

It is at this point the physiognomy of the wearer comes into play. As much as we hate to admit it, we gots love handles and thighs. This means there is a limited amount of space for a cell phone on our belts. Too far forward and it get squooshed uncomfortably between belly and thigh . . . too far back and it get dislodged by seat belts and chair backs.

Some guys put them in pockets, but they are generally the tight jeans crowd and don’t use a case anyhow. After a month of use their flip phones look like Willy Nelson’s guitar. The scratches add character and are a sign that their phones “is just gettin’ broke in good.”

The urbanite? Phones in shirt and jacket pockets create an unsightly bulge. Just too, too gauche doncha know, so they tend to lay their phones on desks. Kinda defeating the concept of a cell phone.

Right-brained, looks-conscious, purse people tend toward style over substance. Looking good is all-important. The fact that it’s hard to open and clumsy to extract the phone is secondary. Pink leather with contrasting stitching? It is to swoon!

Personally, I am so far to the left, it’s hard to find a decent cell phone case. I require that it be horizontal, and in a quick-draw design reminiscent of the gunfighters of old. When that sucker rings, I want it out of the holster and thumbed to life in two seconds flat . . . or less. I don’t want to fumble putting it back either. The case is ugly and black? Who cares! I actually practice opening the case with index finger while the second finger pushes the phone out via the conveniently placed hole on the underside. This puts the phone in my palm — placed so my thumb is over the screen slider as I whip it up into talk position.

If I could twirl it around my finger like a six-shooter to re-holster . . . I would.

——

All this is to preface a task.

I’ve been asked to review cases and accessories for the iPhone. To fairly point out the features and flaws of each, I’ll grade them on three criteria:

Style, Substance, Utility

Style points will be based on design, looks and workmanship.

Substance will also use workmanship, but will include how well suited a case will be to its task. How well is it made? Does it protect your iPhone? How well? Does it stay on your belt or does it fall on the floor every time you sit down?

Utility will be ease of use. Can you whip it out with a minimum of fuss an bother or must you shake out your phone like ketchup from a long-neck bottle?

The iPhone presents several design challenges as well as removing some others (such as flip phone cases). It will be interesting to see how the cases meet the challenge.




 

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