There are some people who are able to have their phone totally unprotected and show it off in the way manufacturers intended, in all their ‘industrial design’ glory. I’m not one of those people. Having some sort of protection on my phone is a prerequisite, especially since I’ve seen the way these cases look once I use them for a month or two. The battering these cases get when most of the time the phone is in my pocket or on my desk is phenomenal, but at the same time I do miss the chance to show my phone off and the extra bulk doesn’t help. So the Case Mate Barely There range sounded like a good option for safety without increasing the size of the phone. This one was from gearzap for £16.95.
- slim, doesn’t add bulk
- matt feel helps holding the phone
- easy access to the phone buttons and ports
- it’s a case: the phone is a little bit bigger
- case may be a little too easy to snap on or off when you flex it
Design and feel
It’s the second generation of the range, so the hope is when the cover tells me the case is impact resistant, has an ultra slim profile and a soft inner liner on the back of the case, they’ll have it right this time around.
It’s a matt-black one piece type of case. There’s quite a lot of flex in the case when I put it on, which should mean it won’t break
when if the phone gets dropped to the floor. No, this is not one of those reviews. I did not do a drop-to-the-floor test.
The material on the outside of the case has a lovely matte finish which is hard to explain. Its still smooth to the touch, but there’s no drag when I dragged my finger across it. The inside has a series of curved ridges which probably doesn’t help the safety of the iPhone in any form, but I figured it’ll mean less surface area in contact with the Barely There case and therefore less accidental rubbing between case and phone. Nice touch. The Case Mate logo is inset on the bottom right hand side of the phone, which breaks up the unbroken border on that side and add another subtle detail.
The case has a few cut-outs. The entire top end and bottom ends of the case where the power button lives is covered at the edges is free, and there’s a window for the mute and volume buttons. The case does not impede getting to to the power button or the volume buttons, but you will need a little practice to press that extra millimeter or two. The last window is for the camera and the flash.
Putting the iPhone in the Barely There case is an easy affair, and it fits in with a comfortable snap. Once in, the phone does get a little bigger in the hand, but you tend to find its a more secure grip in the hand meaning those screen shattering drops are less likely to happen.
The entire case has rounded corners which really helps to break up the more severe lines of the phone itself, and I found myself stroking the phone absently once the case was on. This isn’t something I ever used to do with my previous case. My only caveat with the case is that it feels like it may slip off the phone a little too easily. I would have liked for the fit to be a little more snug. I don’t know how confident I’d be for the phone to be scratch free on a straight face down impact.
After a week of using the case on the phone and playing with it in a lot of environments, the case has stood up to the test. I get the feeling that the outer cover will adapt and lost that flat rubbery look to have a more personalised feeling. A bit like when you wear in a leather satchel and it gets better with age.
That grippy feeling is still there and in full effect. It just doesn’t overdo it, but I wouldn’t be too worried about popping this on the dashboard in the car.
Overall, I really like this case. It’s compact, gives the phone some always recommended shielding with no feeling that the case will stretch over time and it softens the harder edges of the iPhone which I actually quite liked. The black on black makes the case very unobtrusive as I don’t want to scream Hello Kitty when I sit the phone down in the middle of a meeting and yet – its still an iPhone. Nobody is likely to mistake it for anything else.
Thanks to Gearzap for the loan of the case. The direct link for the case is right… here.