90655 The Best iPhone 4 Cases Doug Drummond iPhone Life 1528-5456 2011-10-05 2011 Buyers Guide 3 6 38 Accessories Accessories iPhone

imageWhen Apple released the iPhone 4, for the first time in iPhone history, Apple released a case designed specifically for it. The reason behind this was the now infamous "Antenna-gate" issue in which Apple acknowledged a problem with the antenna location. When users held the phone to make a call, the palm of the hand blocked the antenna, which caused many calls to fail. This became known as the "Death Grip." Because of this design flaw, Apple graciously gave every iPhone 4 consumer the option to pick out a third party case besides their Apple bumper. The free cases did the trick, and most issues with call quality and dropped calls were fixed. But something else happened as a result: the iPhone case industry sparked to new life. 


Like its iPhone predecessors, cases have become one of the most popular ways to accessorize your cell phone. Most cell phone consumers buy a case bundled with their new phone to protect it from day one. And who can blame them? Mobile devices have become hugely valuable and expensive items; you want to protect them the best way you can. There are literally hundreds of cases on the market. Let's examine the different options available on the market to help you choose the one that's right for you.


Apple Bumper


($29.99, store.apple.com) 


imageThe Apple bumper is basically a band style case that goes around the steel sides of the iPhone 4. Originally designed to protect the phone from drops on the corners, this case was popularized by the fact that the all glass front and back was completely exposed, showing off the brand new design. This case was the obvious choice for most Apple fans because it was the first official Apple iPhone case. This case also was advertised as improving reception by keeping your hands off the antenna. There have since been many other bumper style cases ranging from plastic to metal like the Vapor 4


iPhone Case ($79.99, elementcase.com).


CaseCrown Lux Glider


($28.95, casecrown.com)

imageThis traditional case offers back and side protection in a two-piece slider style design. This is a very affordable option and allows the bottom section of the case to be removed, so you can still use your iPhone with the Apple iPhone Dock or a larger sync cable. These cases offer adequate protection; they are lined with a felt material that protects your device from scratches and absorbs shock from drops. The exterior is made from a polycarbonate material that does a great job of taking the damage so your phone stays blemish-free.


Otterbox Defender

($49.95, otterbox.com) 


imageFor protection in more harsh work environments, the Otterbox Defender is one of the most popular cases. It is very rugged, has multiple layers of protection, a belt clip that swivels, and a built-in screen shield.  The drawback of this case is its bulkiness; it adds to the slim iPhone 4. There are several other great choices for maximum protection. One great example is Seidio Convert ($49.95, seidioonline.com). It actually converts from the bulky max protection to an elegant slider style in seconds, offering two cases for one price.


SGP Ultra Thin 


($19.99, sgpstore.com) 


image
Snap back cases are also a popular option. They offer back and side protection that comes right up to the screen. These case options are cheap in price, made from a polycarbonate shell, feature a one piece design, and snap to the back of the iPhone. They'll give you moderate drop protection unless your phone falls face down. This is a great choice to keep the iPhone protected while maintaining a slim feel. 


Slick Wraps 


($25, slickwraps.com)


imageIf you're looking for a skin version that actually glows in the dark, check out these cool skins. If flashy isn't your style, Zagg's InvisibleShield ($24.99, zagg.com/invisibleshield) makes a clear full body skin that protects without covering up the iPhone design.


iCarbons 


($24.95, iCarbons.com) 


imageSkins are another top choice among iPhone users. A skin is just like it sounds; it's a type of material that sticks to your phone to protect it from scratches and such, but it offers very little drop protection. This skin from iCarbons.com is made from 3M-quality vinyl. It comes in multiple color options, but carbon fiber is the most popular choice. These decals cover the back, front, top, bottom and the sides of the phone. They can even be applied over a screen shield, which was a popular way to make your iPhone white. Some skins are reusable and remove easily without leaving a sticky residue behind.

Choosing the right case for your iPhone means sorting through an astonishing number of options. You won't know how some cases actually feel until you hold them in your hand and use them. IPhone cases are starting to become an integral part of the iPhone wardrobe, and you need at least a handful of options to properly accessorize.