I’m reviewing an iPhone 4 case from Mivizu called the Sleek Leather Case in Black Stone. It is part of a collection of cases from Mivizu with 11 different finishes, including carbon fiber, that center on a flip cover case design. I spent a week with this as my only case to get a proper feel for using this as someone’s primary iPhone cover, and came away impressed but with a couple slight problems. Read on for my review of the Sleek Leather Case in Black Stone.
The Mivizu Sleek Leather Case in Black Stone is slightly larger than the iPhone 4, covering the phone completely with a flip top that’s covered in soft leather with a slightly spongy padding under the leather. The leather is soft glove leather but tough enough not to tear with keys in your pocket, and it has a great feel with a good grip to ensure it won’t slip out of your hands even when a little sweaty. There’s nice light colored stitching on the edges which contrast beautifully with the deep black leather of the case creating a very good look. The back and sides are covered with soft leather also, but only the cover flap has a plush feel with a slightly spongy material under the leather.
The plastic of the case is hard and surprisingly durable, handling sharp keys and everyday wear with aplomb. It’s flexible yet hard enough to offset a drop from waist level onto a hard wood floor- which was completely accidental. After my heart started again, I checked both the iPhone and Mivizu case: neither had a mark on them. In fact, the leather and underlying case material came through the week without any marks on it at all. The cover has a flap that grips the iPhone when closed, ensuring it doesn’t open accidentally and yet doesn’t offer any real resistance when opening the cover to use the iPhone. Overall the design is simple, elegant, and very functional.
The inside of the case and back of the cover flap has a soft felty material where your iPhone sits, which is nice and soft but does collect lint like nobody’s business. It’s not deep enough to collect sand or dirt, and I always check the inside of a case to ensure it’s clean after a bad beach incident with another case and my 3GS. The top of the case is made of the same hard plastic, covered in that awesome leather of course, and has that felt material on the back of it.
The back of the case is plain except for Mivizu embossed into the leather on the bottom and the camera cutout near the top. The cutout is actually one of the weak points of this case, but most cases that enclose your iPhone 4 have similar problems because of the LED flash. When using the flash in a dark room, the edges of the cutout create a bright washout effect because flash illuminates the sides of the cutout. I took the iPhone out of the case when using the flash in a dark environment to get around this problem, but it’s not a huge issue.
The other issue I found was the cover flap getting in the way when rotating the phone from portrait to landscape. This is not an issue with the Mivizu case, but rather a side-effect of having a cover on the case, so I don’t think it’s a problem with the case itself but it’s something to consider whenever getting a case with a cover flap. I’d certainly not want a removable cover ( I’d lose it in a hour ), and the big plus is that having the cover means my iPhone is completely covered and only very slightly larger than an, uh, naked iPhone.
After the week with this Mivizu case was over, I find myself still using it. The feel of the leather, and the fact it’s only slightly larger than a bare iPhone, has won me over from the bumper that I kept going back to. I think I like the case because the feel screams quality, plus it looks great too. I used to have a leather case for my Treo, and I forgot how much I like the soft grippy-ness of a leather case over plastic. The Mivizu case has good looks and sleek design, but the feel of the case and protection of the flip top cover make it a winner. It’s not perfect, the flip top gets in a way sometimes when rotating the screen and the flash washout of the camera cutout are the two issues I found, but even with that considered this is still my favorite case right now.