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iPhone 4 Accessories: Case and Protective Film

July 5th, 2010

Because I’ve heard that the iPhone 4’s “super-tough” glass, now on both sides of the device, may be somewhat prone to shattering when dropped on hard surfaces, I figured it was time to invest in a case. I bought a case for the 3G a few years ago, but immediately discarded it–it was one of those silicon jobs, rubbery to the touch. I hate those–it makes the phone catch on the material in your pockets and makes it a chore to shove the phone in and drag it out. You either have to be super careful, or else taking out your phone will turn your pocket inside out and spill everything else in it. I’d rather risk going without than deal with something that makes just taking out my phone an ordeal. Also, they tend to pick up lint. Seriously, I don’t know how people deal with those things. Another dislike is the massive kind of case, the ones that look like they increase the bulk of the phone by double or better.Tunewear 01

I went in to Ikebukuro to see what I could find. I tried Labi first–despite the huge store, they had a paltry selection, and nothing really very good. I picked up what I figured would be a backup case, a “Rasta Banana” cover (image here) which is a compromise between soft silicon gel and harder plastic. I should have waited for Bic Camera, which had the same case but in more colors. I probably will wind up rarely using it, in any case (or maybe Sachi will want it when she gets her iPhone 4).

I forget where, but I recall someone mentioning that Bic has the best selection–and that’s the case, at least in Ikebukuro. They had every case that Labi had and more. Like Labi, however, they failed to have any samples out. That’s what I hate about these accessories–sellers rarely allow you to see what they look like on the device, making it next to impossible to judge well. But they did have a Tunewear “Carbon Look” case for about ¥2500, and though I couldn’t get at it, it looked like exactly the case I was looking for: slender, just a bit soft, but smooth enough on the outside that it won’t make it any harder to get the phone out of my pocket.

Better, it didn’t overwhelm: it covers the edges and enough of each side so that, if dropped, it will absorb what it will of the impact–but otherwise, it gets out of the way and doesn’t make it hard to press the buttons. The case grips the phone strongly, so there’s no worry about it falling out. Also, it’s form-fitting and thin, making any change in form hardly noticeable.

In fact, it even seems to make holding the phone better: the case is just soft enough to make the phone more comfortable in your hand, dulling the sharp edges as well. In fact, it helps me keep the phone straight: since the iPhone 4 has glass on both sides, it’s very hard to tell which side is the front of the phone just by feeling. Before I got the case, I kept pulling the phone out backwards, missing the power-on button which, by habit, I try to press without looking. While any case would probably resolve that problem, I still appreciate it.

In short, the Tunewear is just the right combination for me, and I highly recommend it. If you can find the brand sold near you and have criteria for cases similar to mine, pick one up.

I also got some screen-protection films. Although the films I tried for the iPad failed miserably, I have been using a film on my 3G for two years and it’s done a great job. Not being able to get the same film now, I knew that it would be a crap shoot buying a new one–without seeing a floor sample, it’s next to impossible to judge how the thing will look. I want one that will simply protect the screen and otherwise get out of the way. It should not be harder for your fingers to slide over than the original screen, nor should it pick up prints more. But what I will absolutely not abide is any film that degrades the image.

Knowing that I might get stuck with a loser, and not wanting to make an extra trip in to Ikebukuro, I decided to pick the two best-looking candidates. From Bic’s wide selection, those were the ASDEC screen-protection film (which claimed to be fingerprint-resistant), and the Buffalo “Super Smooth Touch” film, which promised a relatively frictionless surface. I tried the ASDEC first: it failed. It failed because it created that sparkly-grainy distortion I have seen a lot with matte films. I hated looking at it, so I just tore it off and set it aside. Then I tried the Buffalo product, and liked it well enough. It was easy enough to apply, and had only minimal distortion. As advertised, the surface is very dry and smooth, not rubbery so that it catches your finger; it’s even better than the iPhone’s screen in that respect. And it even resists fingerprints as well as the other film which advertised that out front, though the Buffalo film says nothing about it. It’s hard to notice any prints on it, and when you do (usually in just the right light when the screen is off), it’s a cinch to wipe clean. (I discovered later that the Tunewear case included a screen film; it would have been my third try had the Buffalo product not worked.)

(Not that you can see the protective film…)


As a side note, Bic also excelled in another way: the Ikebukuro mobile branch had rows and rows of iPad cases, with each case model and color having a sample dangling by it. Very nice. The problem: none seem very good. I couldn’t find any that would seem to work better than the case Apple makes. Still, kudos to Bic for making the effort.

Bic Ipad Cases

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  1. July 6th, 2010 at 06:43 | #1

    I have been a fan of the inCase line of protective covers. I like the rubbery aspect of them, because I always thought that the iPhones were too slick and I was much less likely to drop my phone when the grippy case was on it.


    But then, my phone doesn’t ride around in my pocket all the time, either; when I go to work, I just carry it, set it down in my car, and I leave it in the car in the lot when I work.

    (I can’t take phone calls while working, so there’s no sense in bringing it in and being tempted. Reception is weak in our building as well, as it’s shielded against EMP from nukes. Seriously.)

    And you’re right about the lint, they do suck lint to them.

    I really like the look of the Tunewear, though. If it’s truly thin and has a bit of a grip to it (as opposed to the smooth, slick feel of the iPhone itself- haven’t held a new one yet so I don’t know) then I might take a chance and give it a try.

    Biggest issue is exactly what you mention, Luis- the ability to get your hands onto whatever you’re thinking about buying. :(

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