Ah that never ending journey some of us take through life. Trying to find the raddest iPhone case.
When it comes to a hard shell type case, I think I found the ultimate. I used it for a long time and found it to be strong, protective and not bulky enough to be obtrusive. The case I was using was the SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel for iPhone 4. It looks rad and did a great job protecting my phone for ages and during this time I never found myself needing to look for another case. It was perfect.
Anyway, I started to feel the urge to consolidate my phone and my wallet so I started looking at leather (or fake leather) wallet style cases. This is where my problem started.
First of all I ordered a case from a leading group buy website, who have failed me so miserably the last few times I purchased from them I’m not even going to bother writing their name here, even to shame them. Even that’s too much publicity to give. So all was going well with that one, my cards fit in ok, there was a small pouch type area for putting money and another card (space is at a premium) and my phone slipped in behind a (fake) leather frame that held it in. It was alright, not ideal, but it did the job.
It did the job until I’d had it for about six days and the fake leather started peeling off of the plastic it was made of. What the hell? Nice quality control. But what can I expect really from a website known for selling cheap shit.
The search went on. Now I knew what I wanted in this sort of case I figured that I could make a bit more considered judgments when purchasing. At least I thought I could. I looked at what was on offer through the Apple store and while some of them look OK, I feel that most of them are configured in a strange way or look like they don’t have enough pockets. Or some of them have pockets on the outside, or in one cases case, it looked fantastic until you close it up and realise that it’s supposed to look like a mini book. Huh? I don’t want my phone to look like a mini book! Who the hell wants their phone to look like a mini book? It also had no hole for the camera, so you had to lift the phone out of the case to take a picture. This defeats the whole purpose of it being in a case.
I found a website called Mobile Mate who do phone accessories and had a look at what they had on offer. I saw this case and figured it looked pretty cool. Nice white stitch detail, has pockets, looks pretty sturdy, has a camera hole. Also, it closes with magnets! Magnets are cool. So I ordered it. Now while my journey with this case doesn’t have a happy ending, Mobile Mate were AWESOME at getting me the case. I ordered it in the afternoon on the 21st of Feb and it arrived to my office on the 22nd of Feb. So fast, so awesome. Every online store should be that efficient.
Anyway, I got my phone in the case and put my cards in. The first thing I discovered was that as soon as you have cards in the case, it becomes so fat that the magnets no longer get close enough to attract and it doesn’t close. That was strike one. Secondly, the leather trim around the front of the phone is so thick that when you try and type on the on-screen keyboard the edge of the leather is so high that you can’t get your finger to touch the edge of the screen making typing accurately basically impossible. Strike two. I know traditionally it’s three strikes and your out, but I’m a picky bastard and i don’t want my phone case to have ANY strikes, so I considered this one a failure too.
Don’t hold this against Mobile Mate though, they have a huge range of cases and their delivery was amazing.
So I decided to trek down to Westfield North Lakes after work on Thursday night and go on a bit of a wallet case quest. I visited the stores for the major telcos and phone dealers but nobody really had anything that stood out as being nearly what I was looking for. I decided I’d expand my search to flip cases as I’ve seen a few that looked like they doubled as wallets.
Sometimes as a customer I really hate feeling like I’m being a burden on a person who works in a store. Whenever I get asked if I need any assistance I usually just say I’m browsing, even if I’m there for something specific, it’s part not wanting to be a pain and part not wanting to be bothered. There’s nothing worse than being talked to in a shop by someone who thinks they’re an expert on something that you’ve already done your homework on. I’m not a big enough prick to call someone out at a store as talking shit, so I try and avoid that sort of confrontation whenever I can.
At Westfield I ended up feeling kinda bad because I went to one of those floating island type shops that sold cases and being that there was nowhere really to go, when I was confronted by the very cute curly red haired short skirt wearing shop assistant asking what I was after, I spilled the beans and told her. She grabbed a whole bunch of cases out of their locked cabinet to show me, opening the packaging on them all so I could check them out. When I realised that the products they were selling looked even cheaper and dodgier than the first wallet case I bought (seriously, they looked like the flimsiest fake leather laminated onto cardboard…sorry sweetheart but your store sells shit) I felt kinda bad saying “OK thanks for your help!” and walking off leaving her to repackage everything and put it away. If by some strange twist of fate you read this, cute red headed chick, I’m sorry for being a pain.
Anyway, there were some flip cases that looked alright, but didn’t have many pockets and just flapped down closed, they didn’t really secure shut. My enthusiasm levels were running low.
On the drive home I decided to stop in at WOW Sight and Sound at Rothwell and see what they had on offer as I’ve bought a couple of cases from there in the past. They had the usual fair, but then Kylie spotted a case by Ben Sherman called the Gents Club. The name insta-sold me, so I grabbed it down and opened it up to have a look. It’s a black leather number with a union jack type lining motif. It looks quite snazzy actually. It has three card slots but no multi purpose type pouch, but it’s stud closing latch, and snazzy looks were enough to sell me on it. So I forked over my cash.
First thing I noticed was that the card slots are VERY tight. I’m sure they’ll probably stretch, but I had to really jam my cards in. I thought my bank card was about to break actually, it did a big flex as I was putting it in. They have loosened a bit with use though.
Now. Here comes the kicker. The way the case is designed, when the phone is in place, the leather that securely keeps the phone in place covers the proximity sensor. So you make a call and your screen instantly goes black and you can’t do anything. You can’t even hang up the call without bending the leather face forward so the phone thinks it’s away from your face and the screen comes back on. Who green lit this thing? In discovering this, I bent the leather part forward too far, and it decided to stay bent out at an acute angle from the phone. Damn it!
This made me have a brainwave though. I thought “fuck it! I don’t need that top part!” so I cut the top section of the leather off where it had bent out. I thought for sure I was on the brink of having customised this case to be perfect. Then disaster struck. Without that top piece of leather, the side leather parts lost all of their structural integrity and no longer hold the phone in place. Nooo!!!
Well, it’s safe to say I was less than happy. My third case purchase was a failure.
Rather than just go back out and buy yet another case I thought that I’d take action into my own hands. It was time to get more custom than just snipping a small part of leather out.
Game on. First thing I did was rip off all of that leather front piece that was “designed” to hold the phone in place. Got rid of it all so all I essentially had was a checker lined flap of leather with some card slots in it.
Next I took a failed earlier shell type case purchase I had made, which was a brown Mossimo trendy looking case that I didn’t like because the sides didn’t come higher than the screen, which I don’t like for face down placement of the phone.
Anyway I took that case and SUPERGLUED THE SHIT OUT OF IT into the inside of the lined leather remains of the Ben Sherman case. Got it all in place, put it under some weight and left it overnight.
This is the result! I’ve only really had it for a day and haven’t been out with it, but the case holding it in isn’t at all intrusive to use of the phone or access to the screen, and the leather flap that holds my cards folds down nicely over the screen and clips securely via the stud closure. It’s not ideal, but it’s taken the snazziest of the cases that I probably liked the best, and made it usable for me.
Will I keep searching for the perfect wallet case? Probably, but not for much longer. I think if I have to go back to a phone and a wallet, I’ll get a Griffin Survivor case, just for the hell of it. I mean seriously, look at the sort of punishment it can take -