We all want to protect our gadgets, especially the expensive ones. It is a good thing so many companies make so many different kinds of protective cases. Yep, that’s what I’m talking about today. Specifically, this review is for “Naked”, an iPhone 3G+3GS case by Case Mate. As with anything, there are pros and cons to owning this case. Unfortunately for “Naked”, the cons far outweigh the pros. That’s not a good thing when the product has a $29.99 price tag. As usual, here’s the short version first and then I’ll cover the details. Simply, this case is terrible. In fact, I’ll go as far to say it’s the worst cell phone case I’ve owned. Ever.
Here are the facts about the case according to the literature included with the product. While they are few, here they are all the same. 1) Case is built for iPhone 3G+3GS. 2) Built in semi-rigid screen protection. 3) Two-piece sturdy click snap case. 4) Access to all ports and buttons.
I’ll go over the pros of this case first. Again, not many but I try to be as fair as I can with reviews as often as humanly possible. So, here we go. Shock absorption is a good thing because it’s one of the many reasons the public buys cases to begin with, right? The public wants to know that if they drop their phone it will be protected. I am by no means a klutz but accidents do happen and I’d be lying if I said I never drop my belongings. I bring this up because just the other day I dropped my iPhone for the first time. I dropped it from countertop level onto a linoleum floor. The phone landed on one of its corners before it settled to the ground.
After I recovered from the minor stroke caused by the drop, I picked up the phone and removed the case. I inspected every inch of my phone (though I admit I don’t know what I was looking for) and everything was intact. I did a few tests: sent a text, pulled up a web page and so on to make sure the phone’s operation wasn’t compromised. While I admit I’m not a techie, every thing seemed fine and in working order. Apparently, the case had done one of the jobs I hired it for correctly. Though this is in the pros section, there is a con to this part of the story as well which I will get into later.
Next on the pros list is the case allows for access to all buttons and ports. As simple and stupidly obvious as this is, it’s very good. I am amazed at how many cases I’ve seen over the years that didn’t allow for access to the charging port without having to remove the case. So, again this simple feature is very nice. There is plenty of space to fiddle with the buttons on the side of the phone, the camera is not obscured, the speakers on the bottom are open and the headphone and charging ports are as easy to access as on a case-less phone.
Another big point in favor of this case is the fact that it comes with a built-in screen protector. Buying a case at $29.99 doesn’t hurt as bad when a screen protector is part of the package. The screen protector stood up to everything one would expect. I never found any scratches or dings on the phone. Though the screen protector was a good thing, it too has a con. I’ll get into that later. I suppose what I’m most in favor of with this pro is that I didn’t have to buy an extra screen protector; it was just built into the case. It’s important to note the difference between what makes me happy with this pro. More so than the screen protector being effective, it was there and I didn’t have to spend extra money. I hope that makes sense to someone other than me.
Sadly the above are all the nice things I could think of about this case. As I said, they’re not many but at least there are a few. They’re not enough for me to want to buy this case again but at least the case isn’t irredeemable. Now, it’s time for the cons. I have plenty more of these.
As I mentioned in the pros section, I dropped my phone and it was protected. However, there’s a hefty con that rounds off the rest of that story. Here it is. Probably the most disappointing thing about this case is though the packaging claims the case is “durable” it’s not quite the same definition of “durable” I have. Once again, I’m not a clumsy person but accidents happen with everyone. After a mere one drop the case broke and no longer gripped my phone the way it was designed to do. Certainly having the case break is a much better outcome than having the phone break. In that regard I suppose the case did what it was made for but to become nearly useless after one drop is rather ridiculous in my silly little opinion.
I mentioned before this case is made of two separate pieces: a front and a back. The case fits around the phone by sliding the back into the front in a kind of “tab A into slot B” fashion. I didn’t like this design from the beginning. The corners of the case (near the ear piece) didn’t fit together properly. In fact, they didn’t fit together at all. There was a gap left between the top and bottom pieces. The gap is such that it caused the case to be very flimsy as opposed to sturdy. Also, the gap allowed all kinds of dirt and crud to get inside thus dirtying my phone. My phone would get so dirty I’d have to clean it at least twice a week. That might not be a big deal to some but I’m the kind of guy who wants to buy a case and leave it be. A feature I want on a case is it should keep most dirt out. This didn’t keep anything out except screen commands from my fingers.
“What? The screen wouldn’t respond to your fingers because of the case?” Sadly, yes. While I applauded this case for having a built-in screen protector I must say it could have been tested a bit better in Case Mate’s R&D; department. Other than protecting the physical screen the screen protector was a complete nuisance. It made my screen so unresponsive at times I would have to whack the damn thing with two fingers just to get enough pressure for a response. On occasion I’d have to press buttons two or three times to get done what I needed. The screen also became rather inaccurate when texting. I’d press a button for one letter but get a different letter on the screen. And yes, I tested the phone without the case to make sure the phone wasn’t the problem. The problem isn’t the phone nor is it my fat fingers. The screen is plenty accurate and responsive without the case. A screen protector that makes a screen unresponsive on a product known for its accurate touch sensitivity and capability isn’t a good thing.
A few final notes: appearance wise the case is rather unsightly. It’s not sleek, it’s not attractive. It’s quite bulky which makes the phone surprisingly heavy. The case made taking the phone from my pocket rather cumbersome. All together the product feels rather shoddy. After about a month with this thing the screen protector began to tear away from the rest of the case (this was before I dropped it). This happened during normal use. I text, talk, play games and do the normal use stuff. For this case to begin breaking so quickly is well… kind of laughable.
While I can’t comment on any other products by Case Mate I can say quite safely, everyone should stay away from “Naked”. Happy case hunting.