Ap­ple iphone sil­i­cone case af­ter 4 mnths of use

Get a grip.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY LEIF JOHN­SON

If you’d asked me a lit­tle over a year ago, I might have told you that Ap­ple’s sil­i­cone iphone cases were among the worst prod­ucts on its shelves. Friends who’d bought them for the iphone 6 and be­fore told me hor­ror sto­ries of the sil­i­cone peel­ing as though it had a tragic skin con­di­tion, or how it re­tained grease as en­thu­si­as­ti­cally as a Waf­fle House nap­kin. Oc­ca­sion­ally I even saw the ev­i­dence my­self.

In June, though, I picked up one of the newer ver­sions in a bar on a friend’s iphone X. I im­me­di­ately wanted to take it home. So grippy! So slim! My own third­party case felt like a brick by com­par­i­son.

As the iphone re­fresh that cul­mi­nated in the XS was still a few months away, I

re­solved to make it my pri­mary case for my iphone 8 Plus. I’d sub­ject it to the lit­tle hells of my ev­ery­day life and re­port back with the re­sults. It’s a branded Ap­ple prod­uct, af­ter all, and as such it de­serves Mac­world’s full at­ten­tion.

And now here we are. The hon­ey­moon should be over, but I’m still in love. I’ve even bought an­other one for my new iphone XS Max. What­ever garbage Ap­ple’s sil­i­cone cases may have been in the past, the new ones are wor­thy of the logo they bear on their backs.

SLIM PICK­INGS

I was first drawn to the iphone sil­i­cone case for its slim yet sturdy pro­file, and that’s what con­tin­ues to at­tract me to­day. It al­lows the phone to slip into my pocket al­most as ef­fort­lessly as if it were naked, but with just enough pro­tec­tion to di­min­ish any fears I may have about ac­ci­den­tally drop­ping it in the act.

Plenty of third-party com­pa­nies make thin cases, but few oth­ers do such a good job. So snugly does the case cling to the hard­ware, in fact, that it al­most feels as much a part of the de­vice as the old plas­tic cas­ing for the iphone 5c.

The but­tons align per­fectly. The case wraps around the iphone XS Max cam­era with barely a hair’s width to spare. In fact, I could see how some­one could think it fits so well that it’s a lit­tle tight, but then

I’m not sure why you’d take off the case that of­ten any­way.

It’d be even thin­ner if it weren’t for the gen­tle lip around the edge, which pro­trudes just far enough to keep the $329 OLED dis­play from kiss­ing the pave­ment in a tum­ble. Other cases achieve greater thin­ness by ditch­ing the lip, but its pres­ence here is a wel­come re­minder that Ap­ple keeps the well-be­ing of our wal­lets in mind more than we some­times give it credit for.

And it’s tough. Tough enough, any­way. I ad­mire the sil­i­cone case be­cause it does a good job of pro­tect­ing my phone from the cease­less clum­si­ness of my ev­ery­day life. I drop my phone like Scrillex drops the bass. I toss the $1,100 de­vice in my bag as though it were a year-old Newsweek taken from a den­tist’s of­fice. I ac­ci­den­tally slam it into cor­ners while walk­ing down hall­ways. And through it all the sil­i­cone case’s per­fect thick­ness and bounci­ness shrugs off most of the pain I throw its way.

HOLD ON TIGHT

Fre­quent Mac­world read­ers know that I have a bit of a thing for leather, so I was sur­prised to find my­self pre­fer­ring this case over its leather coun­ter­part. Ap­ple’s leather iphone cases look great, but they feel a touch too slip­pery for my tastes. This case? It feels just right. It’s grippy, but with­out the mil­i­tary-style grooves we see in some com­peti­tors. It’s smooth but not slick, so I don’t worry about drop­ping it when I pull it from my pocket. I greatly miss it when I’m try­ing out ri­vals from other brands.

Of course, the rub­bery sil­i­cone ma­te­rial means it’s not as im­mune to nicks and scratches as some of those ri­vals, but these show up less fre­quently than I would

have imag­ined. Four months af­ter buy­ing my case for the iphone 7 Plus—fol­low­ing nu­mer­ous hikes and con­stant use in an ur­ban set­ting—it still looks rel­a­tively new.

As for grease? I’ve used this phone while gab­bing in pizza par­lors and gob­bling que­sadil­las in seedy taco joints, and rarely have I had to do more be­sides run a cloth over the case to make the stains go away. I’m con­fi­dent enough in say­ing this that I re­cently bought the (Prod­uct) Red sil­i­cone case for my iphone XS Max, and so far it seems as re­silient as the black one I bought for the iphone 8

Plus. That’s a good sign, as it sug­gests Ap­ple has learned to deal with the smudges we used to see in Ap­ple’s lightly col­ored cases ( go.mac­world.com/5scs).

The only true weak spot is the ab­sence of a lip across the bot­tom of the dis­play. This makes it more com­fort­able to do swipe-up ges­tures with your thumb on an iphone X or XS, but it also means your dis­play won’t be pro­tected if it hits the pave­ment at the per­fect an­gle af­ter a fall. Con­sid­er­ing my nor­mally shoddy luck and my many ad­ven­tures in phone drop­ping, I’d say the chances of this hap­pen­ing are min­i­mal. Even so, it’s some­thing to keep in mind.

MAK­ING THE CASE

Yes, it costs $39. Sure, there are plenty of al­ter­na­tives out there that do much the same thing and cost less. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, though, few of them fit an iphone so per­fectly as this, and none man­age to de­liver that per­fect blend of grit­ti­ness and smooth­ness. It’s not the case I would choose if I worked on a con­struc­tion site, but even so, I be­lieve four months is enough time to prove that it’ll likely last the full life­span of my phone un­der nor­mal stress.

Per­haps it doesn’t look as pretty as the leather ver­sion, but I ad­mire the sub­tle Ap­ple logo on the back and I like the way it fits over the but­tons with a pre­ci­sion you rarely see in other cases. Its slim­ness al­lows me to en­joy the el­e­gant parts of Ap­ple’s de­sign with­out the full risk of drop­ping an un­pro­tected de­vice. ■

The case also has a “mi­cro velour” in­te­rior that keeps your iphone even safer from scratches.

See what I mean? If you look closely, you can see a nick, too.

That tiny bit of pad­ding around the screen can make a gi­ant dif­fer­ence when you drop your phone.

The sil­i­cone does have a no­tice­able ten­dency to pick up lint. But it’s never se­vere.

Un­like the iphone XS Max ver­sion, the iphone 8 Plus ver­sion al­lows the cam­era a lit­tle breath­ing room.

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