The folks at Element Case emailed me a few weeks back to ask me if I wanted to review their new iPhone cases. Why would I want to do that?
Turns out, the company says that their Liquid Case line was "designed for gameplay" in mind. Well, that didn't make much sense, but it certainly intrigued me enough to check one out. (Sorry iPod Touch owners, this one is for the original and 3G iPhone only.)
Can a magnetized case that bolts your iPhone into place between sheets of custom-painted, high-impact polymer really improve your gaming? Let's see.
Grippy: As an increasingly frequent iPhone gamer I was intrigued by the concept of a case designed to make iPhone gaming more enjoyable. Despite my doubts, the case, with its flared corners does make the iPhone much easier to hold during long gaming sessions. It also gives the svelte device a bit of needed heft.
Eye-Catching: The Liquid case may bulk up your iPhone, but man it looks sexy, turning the dainty iPhone into something that looks fit for military operations.
Sturdy: Four nickel-plated screws bolt your iPhone into its acrylic body armor and then a plastic shield snaps into place with the help of four iPhone-safe magnets. I can't think of a better mix of design and function for the iPhone.
Customization: The Liquid case comes in three base colors: Black, grey and white. But you also get a free lid with your purchase. The lids have 22 different graphics to choose from and eight different colors. With all of those options it's pretty easy to come up with a unique look that suits. An extra $25 gets you a custom engraving, like, say, a Kotaku logo.
Plug-N-Problems: A typical problem with iPhones and iPods is that the cases often make docking a device or plugging a cable into it difficult or impossible. And the Liquid Case didn't dodge that bullet. Not only can I not dock with it on, but at least one of my peripherals can't seat itself correctly, so it just doesn't work when the case is on. I am told they're working on a line of accessories to fix that and you can charge and dock if you use the cable and not the stand.
Camera Distorting Lid: Maybe a minor nit, but when you pull off your lid you can snap it on the back. Which is great. But when you want to take pictures you're going to have to slip the lid in a pocket or find somewhere else to put it if you don't want color-tinted, blurry snaps. Not so great.
Lid For Life: The biggest issue I have with the case is that it requires an allen wrench and removing two to four bolts to put it on. You're not going to be slipping your iPhone in and out of this baby. Which isn't a big deal, unless you can't dock with it or use certain accessories.
Pricey: It's $100. Sure, nice things don't come cheap. But we're still talking half to a third of the price of the thing it's meant to protect.
I don't know if I could convince myself to drop $100 to $125 on a custom case. Maybe once they come out with those accessories meant to ease the pain of docking issues I could. While the case is certainly well designed for gaming, giving you something to sort of grip as you play, the main attraction for me is still the look and heft of the thing.
The Liquid Case was developed and manufactured by Element Case for the iPhone (original or 3G). Retails for $99.99. Used case to plays multiple games, kept it on iPhone for a week.
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