SGP sells a wide range of mobile device cases and protectors, with a focus on style. At least, that’s the message delivered from their web site. I received a white Valencia Swarovski Series leather iPhone 4 case for review, and immediately turned it over to my resident bling expert, my 14 year old daughter. I’ll walk you through the technical evaluation, and then pass along her “coolness” assessment at the end.
I’m not a style guy, I’m an engineer. I’d like my cases to do just two things – protect my phone, and give me as much access as possible to the device without a lot of extra fiddling around. SGP adds the Style for sure, but does it actually do what a case should do?
Let’s take a quick spin around the case and then I’ll give you my impressions on how well it works for all three. As you can see from the opening shot and the shot below, this is a full cover for the iPhone 4, that flips open.
The hinge actually sits on the bottom of the phone, and snaps shut just with pressure along the top. I wonder about the longevity of both the hinge and the top tab, but they both seemed to hold up well with a couple weeks of teen-level hard use. The exterior is white, pink, or black leather with an embossed design and a crystal which managed to stay attached through the whole review.
The interior is microfiber, and provides cushioning and a snug fit, along with a bit of a quote from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes and some sufficiently mystical graphics. Handy if you’re a budding Alchemist, I suppose!
Full marks for protection. The case is light, and finger friendly (not too slippery, not to sticky) thanks to that leather, and it still slips in and out of a jeans pocket, should you be caught dead wearing jeans.
Alas, that protection comes at a great cost. You must open the flap to get at your phone, which one would assume would happen fairly often. Also, with the hinge at the bottom, you end up with a weird flapping tongue of leather, or you fold it back and expose that microfiber to your not likely to be spotlessly clean hands.
Obviously you won’t be putting your phone in any docks without removing it fully from the case, although you can plug in the dock cable with it flipped open. Setting aside the hinge issue, the rest of the buttons and controls, along with the camera and flash, are accessable:
Camera hole, check!
Volume, Mute buttons, check!
Power, headphones… yep!
Speaker, Noise canceling mic, check! Dock connector? Nope.
Now for the style report, direct from the front likes of the styles wars: High School. My daughter liked the look of the case right off the bat, and was actually also initially happy with the full coverage idea, since she tends to toss her phone into the dreaded backpack of doom where it grinds into everything else she carries around. She’s also a fan of all things that sparkle, so the crystal on the front worked for her. Off she took it to school, and the initial reports over the first few days were very positive. It has the coolness, without doubt.
What it doesn’t have is practicality, especially for someone who goes through 6k to 10k text messages a month. That’s a lot of flipping open and close every day. Also, she docks her phone at home to play music, and that meant it came out of the case every evening, and went back in every morning. It lasted a week on her phone.
The Coolness vs The Usable
Is this perhaps the ultimate triumph of cool over function? I somehow think not. If you’re accessorizing that perfect white (or black, or pink) dress or power suit for the fund-raising dinner or after election party, this baby is perfect. You’ll put up with flipping it open once or twice, and you’ll look fabulous doing it. Your iPhone will even be well protected while it’s looking marvelous. Would this be my only case? No. For every day use I’d want something a lot more practical. But for those times when I don’t want to look like a total gear head, this would surly do the trick.