Review: Seidio Innocase Active for iPhone 4

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Accessories, iPhone Accessories

This case is the third of three Seidio cases we have reviewed. Our review of the Rugged and Surface cases for the iPhone 4 can be found here.  The Innocase Active case is Seidio’s offering in the mid-level hybrid case category. This simple, two-part design incorporates a flexible rubber inner layer and a hard plastic outer layer. The subtle metallic-looking finish of the outer layer nicely highlights the molded design on the back of the case. The Active model we reviewed featured a dark burgandy overlay, making it a two-tone case.

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Installation was fairly easy, but slightly more difficult than the Surface or Rugged cases. The cutout for the camera and flash (which isolates those two components) mirrors the brilliant design of the Rugged and Surface cases. The cutout for the headphone and microphone also works well. The rubber underpart allows for easy operation of the volume rocker buttons, but makes for difficult operation of the sleep/wake button. For some reason, the sleep/wake button area is much less responsive, possibly due to too much rubber over that button.. The silent mode switch on the side of the phone is exposed through a cutout in both layers, but is a bit difficult to access without the help of a fingernail. If you keep your fingernails fairly short, or if your fingers aren’t narrow or dainty, you might have trouble as well. The universally undesirable feature of most two-part cases is the floppy part of rubber just below the home screen button on the botton front of the case. We found the grippy rubber would easily catch on things and pull away from the phone, temporarily exposing that area of the phone.

The Inncoase Active model I reviewed came with a belt clip holster. Personally, we’d never use or transport this case without utilizing the holster. That’s because the rubber attracts lint, grabs onto clothing, and therefore makes it very impractical for storing in a pocket. The grippy quality that protects the phone and keeps the screen from getting scratched (when lying face down on a flat surface) makes this case overly grippy for our liking. We even found the rubber on the top of the phone to be so grippy that the spring-loaded clip of the holster would often get stuck on it, requiring a little creative finger-work when inserting or removing the iphone from the holster. The Surface case (while not as protective as a two-layer design) offers enough drop protection for our daily needs and enough grip to keep it from sliding on most surfaces, yet allows easy insert-removal for pocketed use. Again, not so with the Innocase Active.

Aside from the slightly unresponsive wake/sleep button, the hard to access silent mode switch, and the floppy rubber lip on the front bottom of the case, the only glaring design issue we encountered involved the actual finish of the rubber underpart. The model we reviewed may have been a manufacturing anomaly, but after just a few days of use, the matte surface of the  rubber started to wear off along the edges of the phone, only to reveal a shiny black rubber underneath.

It’s almost as if the underpart is made of a shiny rubber with a matte rubber  treatment on top. Regardless, what resulted was a very unattractive half-shiny and half-matte effect on the edge of the case.While some may not be bothered by this, we would not use a case in this condition unless Seidio replaced it with a rubber underpart that remained matte-likewith use. We did not request a replacement underpart for this review.

Final thoughts, we originally thought we would like the Active-style case the best (of all the Seidio iPhone 4 case designs) but it turned out to be our least favorite of the three. If you aren’t bothered by the overly grippy nature of the underpart, if you have smaller fingers, and if you don’t mind pushing a little harder to sleep or wake your iPhone, then you might really like this case. One thing is for certain, this case offers exceptional camera/flash performance, wonderful excellent protection for your phone and will likely prevent any scratches or damage from your phone, even if it sustained a drop from five or six feet (based on our best guess…not from a scientific drop test).

You can buy the Seidio Innocase Active for iPhone 4 here for $29.95 (optional belt clip for $29.95 also available)

iPhone911 Rating: 3 out of 5

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