18 Comments

Summary:

Unlike most hard protective cases that typically consist of separate front and back parts, the Power Support Air Jacket for iPhone 3G is a single plastic case for only the back of an iPhone 3G. Available in either black or clear, the black version is notable […]

Unlike most hard protective cases that typically consist of separate front and back parts, the Power Support Air Jacket for iPhone 3G is a single plastic case for only the back of an iPhone 3G.

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Available in either black or clear, the black version is notable for its rubberized finish. Two screen protection films — “Crystal” (glossy) and “Anti Glare” (matte) — are provided with the Air Jacket.

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With a thickness of only 0.7 mm, the Air Jacket appeals to iPhone 3G owners who seek some protection for their phones without the bulk. To that end, the Air Jacket is a sexy piece of accessory designed to show off the iPhone. Once attached, the Air Jacket is almost indiscernible unless one looks hard enough, and its rubberized finish adds a lot more grip to the otherwise slippery plastic back of the iPhone.

But, in the one week I had the Air Jacket on my iPhone, I quickly discovered a couple of major design flaws about the product.

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Five days in, I detached it from my iPhone and saw, to my displeasure, that the Air Jacket had left numerous scratches along the sides of the chrome bezel. The scratches were located at the left and right sides of the chrome bezel where one’s fingers would be while holding the phone. It would seem that handling the phone has shifted the Air Jacket enough for its inner edges to scratch the bezel. And they were not light nicks; the scratches were deep and numerous enough that only a thorough buffing with Brasso could remove.

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Also, the rubberized finish proved to be quite susceptible to be scratched off, and is simply a coating over what is really a clear Air Jacket. After only five days, the rubberized finish had chipped off at all four corners of the Air Jacket.

For a $34.95 product, the build quality of the Air Jacket is simply disappointing, which is unusual considering how Power Support can, and do, produce innovative and excellent products; its Anti Glare Film, with its silky smooth texture, is the best screen protector I have ever used on any device. Having used PDAs for a decade, and having tried just about every brand of screen protectors, this is high praise from me.

I really wanted to like the Air Jacket. But it is absurd that an accessory designed to protect your device ends up marring it cosmetically after merely a week of use. Power Support should have lined the inner surface of the Air Jacket with some kind of soft material. The shortcomings of this product reflects poor product design and, more glaringly, inadequate product testing. Surely this would have been caught during the testing cycle (if one was even done). Power Support should consider going back to the drawing board; the idea behind this product is great, but is marred in execution.

Until it does so, steer clear of the Air Jacket and get just the Crystal Film or Anti Glare Film Set instead, available separately for $14.95.

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Each set contains two pieces, so you can share a set with a loved one or friend. If you constantly find yourself wiping fingerprints off the screen of your iPhone, I strongly recommend the Anti Glare Film; its matte finish masks smears and fingerprints better than its glossy counterpart.

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  1. Am I the only one who feels that a thin protective iPhone skin is akin to having a plastic covering on your sofa? I’ve been using an “unprotected” iPhone 3G since July and have had absolutely no scratches on the front, and only some minor nicks on the back.

    Just like you don’t put a thin invisible protective “skin” on a Tag Heuer (watch) cyrstal, the iPhone front has held up beautifully on its own. I’m not sure who it is that conned everyone into thinking they need a case for their iPhone. The iPhone is incredibly well built and in my experience (keeping the iPhone in separate pockets from keys and loose change in my pocket) I’ve had no problems going caseless. And it’s a lot thinner and lighter that way too!!

    Live a little people… go caseless for a day and let your iPhone breathe a little… The world won’t end.

  2. I agree with Dan, naked iPhones are the way to go.

    What’s the point of having the latest cool gadget which is cool *because* of it’s design, and then covering that design up with a cheap rubber bumper? Many people don’t realise, but you don’t even have to worry about your keys. The iPhone has been especially designed to be chucked in your key pocket. You can even forcibly attack the glass with a set of keys and it will cause no damage.

    I also think this reviewer was way too kind to these case manufacturers. This sounds like a horrible product and borderline fraud to sell a “protector” that actually mars the device. It’s clear they did no testing at all, and should be held accountable for this POS product. The reviewer talks about the product being “disappointing” etc., but if it was me, I would be asking not only for my money back, but for the cost of a new back for my iPhone.

    Having had portable devices for many years, from Palm to WinCE through Pocket PC and now the iPhone, my experience is that accessory suppliers are just in it for the fast buck. The “silky smooth” anti-glare film the author talks about is just a bulk plastic product bought wholesale for less than a dollar a square yard and then sold to device owners for a hundred times that amount in tiny squares. The fact that this company once had a product like that would make me stay away from them, not praise them.

  3. BuyGrowthHormone Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    I Had one of those, its really effective !!

  4. I looked at the air jacket but thought it was a little too flimsy and wouldn’t be much help if you drop the iphone on concrete or the like. I picked the Incase Slider and love it. Completely protects the phone and isn’t too bulky. That plus the Power Support AntiGlare is a perfect combination.

    I don’t agree with not having a case or screen cover. For one, the antiglare film is awesome because you never have screen smudges. Good enough reason right there. Now the crystal screen cover is pretty stupid, don’t know why anyone would want that over the antiglare one.

    And as far as not using a case…what the hell do you do when you accidentally drop your phone? End up with a huge scratches on it? No thanks. Maybe I’m clumsy, but every phone I’ve had before the iPhone, I’ve gone caseless and they look like they’ve been through a garbage disposal. I for one, want my iPhone to be fully protected…especially in case I ever end up needing to sell it on ebay or something.

  5. Power down your “naked” iPhone (or lock it) so the screen is off. Now, take your finger and glide it around the screen. Unless you’ve just eaten a McRib sandwich, you won’t leave any smudges on the iPhone screen. So, the anti-smudge covers are a joke. They don’t do anything that the iPhone doesn’t do already on its own. And anti-glare? Just increase the screen brightness or stop looking at your iPhone from obtuse angles. I’ve never had glare problems with a naked iPhone. It’s not like there’s a major design flaw with the iPhone hardware or anything. This whole notion that iPhones needto be covered is ridiculous.

    I never drop my iPhone.

    Are your hands made of butter???

    1. Every time I put my phone to my ear I get smudges from hair product, and maybe it’s because I’m female and use hand cream, but I almost always get smudges after using my iPhone! This anti-glare screen protection is fantastic for smudging but obviously not everyone can see a need.

  6. I have this case, and my wife has one, and it absolutely rocks, I highly recommend it.

    First, it’s not flimsy. It fits very snugly to your phone and the phone gives it the rigidity it needs.

    Second, they provide small adhesive dots to put on your phone at the crash points. I have no marring on my phone from this case in 6 months of use.

    Third, because it is so thin, your phone feels as sleek as it does without a case. And the plastic allows it to slide easily in and out of your pocket.

    I use the glossy screen cover and there is no loss of sensitivity. My wife tried the matte one and it required a firmer touch, so she switched.

    A+++++

  7. I have the Air Jacket for my 3G and really like it.

    I agree with Chad, the case is SO slim, and fits snugly. it feels almost like no case, yet still provides reasonable protection. basically it’s like the best of both worlds (case vs none)

    unfortunately I’ve dropped my phone twice accidentally from about waist height (to pavement, and to a tile floor) and it survived without a scratch, using this case.

    It’s true there are some spots along left edge of the case where the color has worn off a bit but only on the VERY edge, so yeah that’s a bit annoying. There’s zero wear of the case color anywhere else after 5 months, on the back etc – so I think it’s something to do with my thumb rubbing on the very thin left edge, by the volume rocker. To me it’s not that big a deal and doesn’t reduce the appeal of this case.

    In retrospect maybe I should have chosen the clear Air Jacket over the black, I think that would look _really_ good over a black iPhone.

    unlike bulkier silicone cases, you can still easily slip the phone in and out of your jeans pocket. this is a huge advantage IMO. my old silicone case also collected lots of lint and dust between it and the iPhone.

    the crystal film is the easiest to apply without bubbles/dust of ones I’ve tried and absolutely no loss of the touch sensitivity. I have their matte cover for my old iPod Touch and you lose a bit of feel with that – you may or may not like that. but it’s nice they give you both kinds with the case.

    I bought my Air Jacket in Japan – Power Support is Japanese company – it didn’t come with the small adhesive dots mentioned above. but it was cheaper there than back home. I have yet to find a case I like better than the Air Jacket.

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  9. Dan,

    Apparently you have magical hands if you don’t ever leave any finger prints on a glass screen. And good for you for not every dropping your phone. I haven’t dropped it yet, but I don’t want to gamble and end up with scratches or a dent in the corner should I ever do.

  10. I wouldn’t say “ever”. But, fingerprints are not an issue. I rarely see them. Besides, if fingerprints were a such major issue for the iPhone, everybody would clamoring to get these protective films. They aren’t really that essential.

    Keep in mind that every time you place a naked iPhone in your cotton-lined pocket, your pocket wipes the screen clean on its own. Problem solved.

    I understand your concern with gambling with gravity. But, to me…that’s no different from the individual who puts plastic covers on their couch.

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