Case-Mate is a manufacturer of cases and accessories for several devices, including iPhone, iPad, HTC, and Blackberry devices. When it comes to their iPhone 4 case catalog, I was met with 136 results during a recent search on their website. I’ve never been met with a bigger library than Case-Mate’s. It’s hard to imagine 136 unique iPhone 4 cases from one company. How do you offer so many cases for one device? Be innovative. Case-Mate sent me their iPhone 4 Stacks case for review, and believe me, innovative is written all over this thing.
Read on after the break for my thoughts.
The Stacks is a customizable case for your iPhone 4 that includes six separate plastic pieces. Each piece of plastic is colored slightly differently, which when combined with the whole, comes together as a hue-centric shade of complimentary colors. The innovation in this case stems from the fact that customers are able to arrange the middle three pieces to match their preference. The bottom, top, and second from top pieces cannot be arranged, as the top and bottom cutouts are here, along with the method to remove the case and side cutouts. Don’t fret though, Case-Mate also includes four separate pieces that act as replacements for these essential pieces. The best part is that their not copies of the ones included in the original case, they’re different colors. It’s apparent that the customization potential of the Stacks case was main point during development.
The front of the case offers no lay-on-the-table design, but plays nice with screen shields, which is nice. Personally, I think the case shines in this area, as the border of the phone is decorated with the different hues of each color. It gives the phone a nice decorative look.
The bottom of the case possesses a single cutout for the 30-pin port, speaker, and microphone. Although this potentially sacrifices some protection, it allows for virtually any third-party dock connector compatibility. In testing, I had no problems with any dock connectors.
Like the bottom, the top of the case offers a single cutout for the sleep/wake button, 3.5mm headphone jack port, and secondary microphone. Again, while this sacrifices little protection, I was able to use most headphones with big 3.5mm plugs. The only problem I ever encountered was with a cheap, 3rd party auxiliary cable I use to connect my iPhone to my car stereo. The plug on this cable is absurdly big, so I don’t expect most people to run into this problem.
The side of the case has two separate cutouts for the vibrate on/off switch and volume buttons. The volume buttons are easily accessed, but such is not the case for the vibrate on/off switch. I have to dig my thumb in the cutout to reach the switch. However, it’s not as severe as other cases I’ve tried. Furthermore, a deep cutout ensures protection of the switch during drops. If I have one gripe with this case, this is it.
The back of the case is eye-catching. As I mentioned above, the back is composed of several hues of complimentary colors. I’ve noticed several people examining my case when use in public. Near the top of the case is the method for removal. Simply separate the two pieces and continually slide each part off. Running up the back of the case is a plastic “beam” of sorts, which acts as a tract for the pieces of the case to prevent rubbing on your phone. The camera cutout is lined with a black plastic ring, which enables great pictures with no flash “bleeding”. Lastly, the Case-Mate logo is embossed in the bottom-right of the case, which is hardly noticeable.
This is perhaps the most innovative and unique case I’ve had the chance to use. It offers ample protection while creating an artistic statement of sorts. If you’re tired of solid, one-piece cases for your iPhone, be sure to check out the Stacks case here. Make sure you check those out, because Case-Mate has provided two of these cases for giveaway for you faithful Run Around Tech readers! The colors of the cases will be the “Mechanica” and “Passion Play”, so be sure to check out Case-Mate’s website to see those colors.
Giveaway: To enter this giveaway, you must do two things. Firstly, you must leave a comment on this article; make sure to mention your color preference. Secondly, you must follow Run Around Tech on Twitter. Twitter is the best way to be notified when a post on the site is published, and also offers notifications of future giveaways. You can find Run Around Tech on Twitter here. I’ll pick two winners at random on August 31st. I will be in contact with the winners via Twitter.
PROS: Unique case, good protection, sturdy design.
CONS: Deep vibrate on/off switch cutout.