I have always been a fan of the Apple iPod case that came with my 3G iPod when I bought it over 4 years (you remember, those cheap fabric cases that you just slide the ipod into). In fact, I still use the iPod and the case. So, when I received the JLab iPhone case, which is basically the same form factor as that classic iPod case, I thought I would have a winner. The case itself is made from “Deluxe MicroSued” which somewhat resembles leather. Sandwiched between the “MicroSued” is a harder material (probably cardboard or a thin plastic sheet). The case is definitely made exactly for the iPhone, as the iPhone slips right in and fits snugly in the case. It also has your standard belt clip on the back, again, covered in
pleather “MicroSued” which you can clip to your belt for the ultimate “I’m a geek that works in IT” look right next to your beeper.
Overall, there isn’t much to complain about when it comes to the actual product itself. It seems to be made with decent materials and the construction/manufacturing quality seems high. In my brief usage testing the product, it showed no signs of wear and came clean when I got some food on it (ketchup). However, looks can be deceiving, and when it came to actually using the case, I discovered some major problems (for me personally).
The first major problem I have with the the case relates to it’s form factor. If you have an iPhone, you know that the speaker that handles all the audio output, including the ringer, is located along the bottom edge of the phone. And if you have ever put your finger over those speaker holes, you know that it’s pretty easy to cover them up, and when they are covered up, there is almost no sound output. Well, what happens when you put your iPhone in the case, and smoosh (remember how tight I said it fit above) those speaker holes up against 2 layers of “MicroSued” and cardboard/plastic? You get an EXTREME decrease in volume. Couple that with having the phone in your pocket and it’s basically impossible to hear your ringer. I “received” 4 calls in the time I was reviewing the product and I missed all 4 because I couldn’t hear them.
The second, and more minor beef I have with the case is it’s thickness. It feels like it doubles the thickness of the iPhone, and for someone that LOVES the thinness of the iPhone, this increase in thickness just doesn’t cut it for me. However, if you were going to keep this bad boy hanging on your belt, this probably isn’t a problem for you. I, however, am a front pocket guy and I just couldn’t handle it.
All in all, the JLabs iPhone case is not “bad” per-se, but I certainly can’t recommend it to anyone, because if your buying a phone case, you’ve got to be able to hear your phone ring.