The Apple iPhone 3G is probably one of the most accessorized mobile phones in recent history sparking anywhere from an army of fart apps to allegedly "iPhone 3G ready" headphones. Both of which are pretty much useless. One area which isn't useless is a case to protect your precious iPhone 3G, allowing it to survive the minimum 2 year jail term to your service provider (3 years if you live in Canada).
Since there are so many options out there on the marketplace, it's easy to become overwhelmed. When I put out a call to companies for samples, I literally had to say "NO! STOP! NO MORE!". Clearly this is a category where companies make a ton of money off iPhone users and the competition to get you into one of their cases is fierce. Today, Mophie, Proporta, iLuv, ZAGG, Griffin, Scosche and Otterbox will be competing for those hard earned dollars.
In my weeks of testing I found out quite a bit about all the cases we've rounded up for this...err...round up. I've made notes on things like which ones looked like crap after a while and which ones fit like crap. I also noted which ones were particularly hard to take off and on that note, which ones were hardest to put on. All of this was done in the hopes of helping you find that perfect iPhone 3G case an steering you away from those god awful leather holsters and flip cases. Let's giddy up and get on with this round up!
ZAGG's InvisibleSHIELD for the iPhone 3G
The folks at ZAGG have been covering up people's gadgets and gizmos for a few years. Their precision cut coverings tout abrasion resistance, durabiliy, and allows you to parade your iPhone around without covering it up with a "bulky case". That's why ZAGG has literally sold millions of these to Apple iPhone users.
I've included this product first in this round up because using it means that none of the other cases will work due to the semi-permanence of this product. That's also why I saved my evaluation of the product for last because putting it on would make it impossible to test any of the other cases.
Installation of the invisible shield product is probably the most infuriating of all the cases we've taken a look at. All you need to do the job is included which includes a special spray solution, a squeegee, and the precision cut plastic film which is less than 0.2mm thick. It does require a good deal of preparation and patience to properly apply the product.
After positioning the pieces in place, you need to leave it alone so that the spray and bubbles can work themselves out for a minimum of 12 - 24 hrs. I actually screwed up putting on one of the smaller pieces, causing it to peel when I didn't listen to their instructions about letting it set. Expect your iPhone to be out of commission for at least a day if you want the installation to last.
Once fully installed, the InvisibleSHIELD does indeed maintain the look of the iPhone 3G as it is pretty much invisible. Owners who have experienced the "slipper fish" feel of device will like the added grip the product provides to the body of the iPhone 3G and it will do an excellent job of preventing the back of the phone from scratching into ugliness. The only thing that it doesn't do for you is protect your precious iPhone 3G against drops. Hopefully, the fact that it no longer slides out of your hand will prevent a few more of those unthinkable drop scenarios.
I did find the screen cover a very minor impediment to the capacitive touch screen's function, but it also offers some degree of anti-glare. The fact that the InvisibleSHIELD is so thin makes it still able to work with all of your iPhone docks and other similar accessories without removal and the pieces are cut to allow uninterrupted access to the buttons, headphone jack and the dock and speakers.
The full coverage kit I installed covers both the front and the back for $24.95 US, however ZAGG does offer a back only option for $18.95 US or just the screen for $14.95 US. Each kit is backed by a lifetime warranty so it could very well be the last non-case you buy for your iPhone 3G until Steve Jobs decrees that it is no longer worthy.