case

Review: Spigen Exact-Fit iPhone Case

A few months back I wrote up a review on the BookBook case for iPhone, and in that review I concluded that the case just wasn't quite right for me. It didn't fit well with how I used my iPhone. Since then I had to go out and find a case that did fit my needs. I really loved the slim case that came as part of the BookBook case, so I ended up searching for a slim case that was similar. I found one I really like...

I did quite a bit of searching and these were the features that I really wanted:

  • Slim case, needed to add almost no thickness to the phone
  • Slightly raised edges to the case to provide some drop protection to the screen
  • Didn't cover up the base of the phone (easy access to the lighting connector)
  • Provide more "grip" than the naked iPhone to keep the phone in my hand

You would think that the above criteria would describe a huge number of iPhone cases out there, but surprisingly that wasn't the case. There was always one of the features a given case would be missing. But I finally found a case that has all of these features, the Spigen Exact-Fit iPhone case. I bought the iPhone 6 Plus version, but there is also a version for the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s, and for the iPhone 6s Plus. There is just enough of a thickness difference between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s that you will most likely need to get the correct case (this is a very tight fitting case with it being so thin).

I've been using this case for several months now and I love it! It is amazingly thin, feels great in the hand and provides that little bit of extra protection that I wanted. If there is one drawback to the case it would be the recessed mute switch and volume buttons. It does make it a little harder to access these buttons, but it also protects them in case of a drop. can't really complain too much there and honestly I don't access these buttons often enough for it to be an issue.

If you are looking for a very slim iPhone case you can't beat the price on these cases and based on my experience with the case I don't think you will be disappointed.

Review: iPhone 6 Plus BookBook Case by Twelve South

I am a big fan of Twelve South products. I owned a BookBook case for my iPad mini (see my review )and it was absolutely the perfect case for me for that device. My wife also uses a BookBook for her 13" MacBook Air and used to use a BookBook for her iPad as well and she loved both of these products. So it was a pretty easy decision for me to make when I got my iPhone 6 Plus to go ahead and go with a BookBook case.

Quality

The quality on the iPhone 6 Plus BookBook case is what I expected from Twelve South...exceptional. One of my co-workers has a BookBook knock-off for his work provided iPhone and it is not real leather and is wearing very poorly. The BookBook wears like a champ. The more you use and carry the case the better it looks. The material used for this case really is similar to that of the old-school leather bound books. In fact, I would argue that the look and value of the BookBook case actually increases over time. This is one case where you might actually want to consider buying the case used, much like you would pay extra when purchasing a baseball glove that has already been broken in.

New Design

Twelve South recently updated the design of the BookBook cases with these new cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. These new design changes include:

  • Re-designed removable plastic outer snap-on case for the phone (used to be integrated directly into the case and non-removable). Now it acts like its own stand alone case.
  • New softer non-leather inner material that is more pliable and works better for holding credit cards in place

Functionality

The case worked perfectly as advertised. Credit cards and my drivers license were easily accessible from the card slots on the inside flap of the case. There was more than enough room to carry all the cards I could possibly need, but that might not be the case for everyone. If you have a George Costanza wallet...

...then you might have more items to carry on your wallet than I do. As you put more cards in the BookBook, the case expands outward and becomes more bulky. I have also noticed that if you later reduce the number of cards you carry that the slots, which stretched to accommodate more than one card per slot, may be a little too loose for just carrying one card in a single slot. It is possible for a card to accidentally slide out under certain conditions, so I would recommend against keeping more than a single card in a slot unless you ALWAYS intend to carry 2 cards in that slot.

The black outer mold case that snaps onto your phone is my favorite part of this case. In fact, if I could purchase just this black shell case and use it I would (more on this later). I don't know how Twelve South did it, but they managed to make a very thin profile case that has a substantial feel with very good grip. I can't say enough good things about this black shell case. The only negative to this part of the case is that the finish is starting to wear off in spots.

Side view of the snap-on case. Some of the finish is starting to wear off.

Side view of the snap-on case. Some of the finish is starting to wear off.

Knowing the excellent Twelve South customer support, I have no doubt that they will fix this issue for me. The most important feature of this black shell case is that is contains a locking mechanism that allows you to not only fully remove your phone from the BookBook case but to also partially unattached the case from the book portion to allow the phone to be tilted away from the case and held in the landscape position so it can be used to watch videos or to make it easier to display when using it with a Bluetooth keyboard.

Case shown in the landscape holder mode

Case shown in the landscape holder mode

It does take a certain touch in order to slide the case in and out of the BookBook so you can either partially detach or fully remove the phone. Even after doing it many times I still find myself having to make several attempts to fully remove the iPhone from the BookBook. Although, I would much rather have this issue rather than having it too easily come free from the case. At least this way I know my iPhone isn't coming out of the case unless I want it to.

The last major feature of the case is the pouch behind the credit card slots that you can use to store cash and receipts. The pouch is not long enough to keep an unfolded bill, you must fold cash in order for it to fit length-wise. I have found that if I am carrying a lot of cash it is better to fold the cash in thirds only s few bills at a time and arrange the stacks of folded bills vertically along the pouch as to minimize the thickness.

Verdict

This may surprise you, but I won't be keeping the bookbook case. It's not the fault of the case design of quality, but this case just doesn't fit well with how I like to carry my phone. I really like to carry my iPhone 6 Plus in mY front pants pocket and this case is just too bulky to do that with (unless you are wearing really loose jeans or baggy shorts). I knew going in that this might end up being the case, but I wanted to see if having such a nice book-style case like this might change how I carry my iPhone. It didn't. 90% of the time I carry my iPhone around with only the black outer shell case and I leave the book portion of the case in my "man purse"

So now I'm in the market for a really good thin profile shell case for my iPhone 6 Plus. Too bad Twelve South doesn't sell a standalone version of their snap-on case...

The Naked iPad Experiment

I am currently conducting a highly scientific experiment involving my iPad and nudity. Ok, that sounds really bad. Let me start over... I am attempting to use and carry around my new iPad Air without a case. This is a pretty terrifying prospect for me because I take my iPad EVERYWHERE. However, when you think about it, that is even more of a reason to consider going "caseless: with an iPad...especially with incredibly light and thin iPad Air or iPad mini. Apple has gone the extra mile to take every millimeter and ounce out of these devices and what do we do? We slap a case on this new gorgeous device from a manafacuturer than in many cases did not take the same care in design that Apple did (don't get me wrong there are some amazing quality cases out there).

So what drove me to make this decision? The biggest driver for me was the purchase of a new messenger bag (or "man purse/murse), the Muzetto Leather from Waterfield . I've been drooling over these leather messenger style bags for a couple of years now and I finally bit the bullet and used my birthday cash this year and bought me one. I'll be writing a review on this bag soon, but in summary this is an amazing bag. However, there are certain compromises. The best design feature of this bag is that it is very slim...minimalist. So it really forced you to filter out all the stuff you would normally carry in a larger bag and carry just those things you really need to carry. Since I pretty much have to carry my work issued MacBook Air at all times this didn't leave a lot of room for me to have much of a case on my iPad and have it still fit in my Muzetto. But, since the Muzetto has a really nice padded pocket in the front specifically for tablets I kinda already have a built-in case for my iPad...my Muzetto bag. So when I bought my iPad Air last month I bought it without a case and have been using it this way ever since.

The Results

I've been going ceaseless with the iPad Air for over a month now and so far it is working out fine. My previous iPad was the iPad mini and I used the BookBook case from TwelveSouth and loved it. I would by lying if I told you I didn't miss the study feel of carrying around an iPad as an old-style leather book. It was really nice knowing I could literally take my iPad with me anywhere and know it wasn't going to be damaged and most people didn't even know it was an iPad. But by giving up the leather book form factor case I gained a lot more portability in that the iPad is quite a bit lighter and easier to hold for long periods and much less bulky. I haven't hesitated one bit in taking my iPad everywhere with me, even without a case and it still looks just as new now as it did the day I took it out of the box. Granted I am pretty careful with my devices). If I leave the house or am going from meeting to meeting at work I always have my Muzetto bag with me anyway, so in that sense my iPad is being carried around in a protective case (the bag). I did just purchase a skin, the Bodyguardz Armor. It hasn't arrived yet as of this writing as I bought it on sale over the weeknd of Thanksgiving. I bought this because I wanted some added texture (grip) on the back of the iPad and som scratch/scuff protection. The Bodyguardz Armor also comes with an anti-glare screen protector, and while these can degrade the image quality some they also significantly cutback on the glare and reduce fingerprints (which in my opinion reduce image quality even more).

The other aspect of going ceaseless is not having a built-in stand for my iPad. This one really had me concerned. I liked being able to take out my iPad mini and use the BookBook to prop it up on my lap and be able to take notes. Now that I don't have a case I can't do that...or can I? I now find myself thumb typing in portrait mode more often than not and for the times I need to type a large amount of text I just lay the iPad down on my lap flat and it works just fine. So surprisingly I have not missed my case in that respect. It was really handy using the case to watch movies on an airplane or even for reading because that would free up my hands to hold a drink or hold food. Now I end up typing on a flat tray table when doing work or just holding the iPad when watching a movie or reading. Not having a built-in case hasn't been a problem on my frequent airplane trips either. The other main iPad stand use I have is at my desk at work and home or at the dining room table. Several years ago I made some solid wood iPad stands and I am now getting much more use out of those now that I don't have a case on my iPad. I keep one stand at home and one at work and the work great for when I need a stand at these locations. So far I haven't had a need to carry any kind of a portable stand with me and I'm hoping it stays that way.

Conclusions

My naked iPad experiment so far has been a success. Apple designed the iPad to be touched and held and depending on how you use your iPad a case may do nothing but get between you and a beautifully designed product. Apple has literally spent millions in R&D to make the iPad as thin and light as possible and if you add a case to the iPad you counteract some of that design. Like anything deciding to use or not use a case has its benefits and compromises. I've told you what seems to work well for me, now it's your turn. Post a comment me below and tell me your thoughts on using a case or going caseless, I would really love to hear what other people are doing!

BookBook Case for iPad mini Review

This is my review of the BookBook case for iPad mini. I have taken WAY too long to post this review. So instead of writing 1000+ words on how much I love this case I thought I would try something different. Below is a mind map I did to prepare for this post, and rather than write a typical review in text form I figured I'd change things up a bit and just publish my mind map and a gallery of photos instead. So enjoy! In case you are wondering, I used iThoughtsHD to creae this mind map on my iPad mini.

Bottom Line...This case works beautifully for me, but may not be the right case for you. I like being able to take my iPad mini with me everywhere I go and the protection and comfort in the hand of this case allows me to do just that and more!

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