January 15, 2008

Case-Mate Signature Leather iPhone case

For Christmas, I purchased a Case-Mate Signature Leather iPhone Case for my wife's new iPhone, in Pink, of course. Being the popular item that it was, it was backordered, but at last arrived just prior to Christmas. She's been using the case for a while, so I'm here to report back on this one.

The case is made of handcrafted Napa leather, which is made from sheep skin. The leather is then apparently coated with the appropriate color, after being molded to the shape of the phone. Case-Mate's site indicates that a plastic shell is used for impact protection, I am assuming that this is between the layers of leather. My wife refused to let me disassemble her case... :)

The case does gap slightly around the top where the phone slides in, but this isn't that noticeable. The case has a nice feel in the hand, a slight give, and the phone fits snugly, it won't accidentally slide out of the case.

The iPhone's controls are easily accessible, volume, mute, home, and an opening in the back for the camera lens.

A separate holster is available ($24.95), and is not included, which is unfortunate considering the $34.95 price of the case. The case is designed to slide into the holster and be removed easily, there is no unsightly clip permanently attached to the back of the case.

My wife's observations in using this case is that it is a bit bulky when slid into a pocket, but otherwise works well in protecting the phone. But the lack of an included holster is definitely a sore point with her, so I'll likely be ordering one of those in the near future.


Update: 2/1/08

This case has developed a cosmetic issue, the pink coating on the leather has begun flaking off, revealing a grey undercoat, presumably a primer of some sort to bond to the leather. A call in to Case-Mate indicates that this is a rare, but not unheard of issue, and they have given me instructions on returning the unit for exchange. Unfortunately, they can not just send out a replacement, they need the old one back first, so my wife will be temporarily using my old Speck case.

I'm getting a discount on the holster though, $10 off, so I'm ordering that in for her.


Update: 2/23/08

Holster arrived a few days ago, replacement case now in hand. The holster has a tight fit on the case, the case slides straight down into the holster, curved plastic on both sides of the phone hug it securely, and a bottom lip holds the bottom of the phone in place.

Removing the phone from the holster is fairly easy, but is still very secure, there doesn't seem to be much chance of the phone accidentally being dislodged from the holster.


Update: 3/30/08

Not having a great track record on quality, after a month of use, the holster has broke, the metal spring in the belt clip apparently became unglued and went flying. Simply pressing it back into place isn't working, time for an RMA.


Update: 4/7/08

Replacement holster received, my wife is happy again.

Update: 7/22/08

Was happy. Replacement holder has also broken in exactly the same way. Likewise, the replacement case has had its coating flake off, also in exactly the same way.

Contacting customer service at Case-Mate to resolve the repeat issue has hit a dead end, their claim that their warranty only covered the original purchase, not the replacement items, putting us well out of the warranty period. They deny strongly that they have seen repeat issues such as this, yet still refuse to provide any sort of replacement, despite the fact that the prices on these items have been cut about 75% since these were received here.

Based on the shoddy construction and poor customer service, I would highly advise steering clear of any Case-Mate products.

Posted by Jim at January 15, 2008 12:49 PM | TrackBack