A close look at iPhone cases from DLO. (April 2nd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO)
Price: Jam Jacket: $24.99; HipCase: $29.99-$34.99 US
- Jam Jacket: Durable case design. Good fit. Can purchase with or without headset management. HipCase: Exceptional stitching and construction. Soft interior. Solid belt clip. Hidden inner pocket.
- Jam Jacket: Leaves screen exposed. HipCase: Must remove iPhone from case to use it.
The well-known Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, referred to simply as DLO by most of us, sells a variety of well-respected iPod cases. Their stylings include neoprene Action Jackets, silicone Jam Jackets, leather and nylon HipCases, and polycarbonate and metal shells. Every iPod has a choice case in these categories.
I switch between two of their styles to protect my iPhone and here is my assessment of the Jam Jacket and HipCase. The rating above reflects the average between the two styled cases reviewed below, but each one's rating is noted separately.
Jam Jacket for iPhoneSilicone cases are almost as ubiquitous as the iPods and cell phones they enclose. Their popularity is well grounded, because these reliable cases are the least expensive way to protect your electronics on the go. In addition, they rarely harm your device, because unlike hard shell cases, harmful dirt particles fall out easily.
The DLO Jam Jacket for the iPhone offers an impressive amount of protection. In fact, apart from the screen, the only area it doesn't cover is the bottom dock connector. The textured sides of the case make it easy to grip. If you happen to drop your iPhone, the reinforced four corners have a thicker amount of silicone, making the contact points less vulnerable to impact.
There's nothing more frustrating than purchasing a case for your phone, only to find out that portions of the screen are exposed or the dock connector is blocked off. The Jam Jacket fit is superb; like a glove. The design leaves nothing to be desired.
The Jam Jacket lacks a belt clip, which means you have to store it in your pocket or purse. This presents a problem from which all silicone cases suffer - the grippy surface makes the phone hard to slide in and out of a tight pocket. Most silicone cases attract pocket lint in a two-mile radius, but the Jam Jacket reduces this problem with a lint-free coating. This is not one of my favorite cases, so I give it a 3.5 star rating.
HipCase for iPhoneThe DLO HipCase is currently available in three flavors: a brown and black leather case, and a black nylon case. I opted for the black leather and black nylon cases. The cases sit on your belt horizontally for comfortable wear; although they make a vertical case for the iPod touch. The similarly designed versions of the HipCase feature a robust belt clip. Sturdiness is an important factor in holster-style cases, because exposing your phone to the elements makes it prone to falling off or accidentally being bumped against passing objects. The HipCase protects the iPhone's surfaces in all the vital areas, and the leather or nylon covered belt clip should erase your worries of the case falling to the ground. A notched corner allows you to use your headphone without wrestling with the case.
Although it's pretty certain the case itself won't be going anywhere, it's the iPhone you should be worried about. Using any of the iPhone's functions, such as answering a call, requires opening the holster and pulling the iPhone out. The phone's slippery surface make it easy to drop, so make sure you have a firm grip on your phone when sliding it in and out of the HipCase.
I think the slimmer and light leather case is more stylish than the nylon case. Leather cases can be gaudy if improperly manufactured, but DLO's offering is well constructed and looks like it will last for a long time. However, the nylon case is more water-resistant and is the better choice for anybody in an exposed environment. I like these cases, even though they offer no protection once the iPhone is in your hands and give them a 4.5 star rating.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor