Gadling Gear Review: SYSTM iPhone Cases

The iPhone is beyond a doubt a beautiful piece of technology. Over the past few years, Apple’s iconic device has set the standard by which all other smartphones are compared. But that beauty comes with a price, as anyone who has ever dropped their iPhone onto a hard surface can attest. A good case can alleviate that heartbreak, however, providing extra protection when you need it most.

Some of the best cases available today are designed and built by a company called SYSTM. They are durable, rugged and provide more protection than just about any other case I’ve found. Better yet, they’re attractive, thin and don’t detract from the look of the iPhone in any way. Here are two unique options that will ensconce your iPhone 4/4S or 5 in a protective shell that will keep it safe from just about any kind of danger.

SYSTM Vise ($49.95)
If you’re looking for the ultimate in iPhone protection then the SYSTM Vise is the case for you. It provides three distinct layers of padding by first wrapping the phone in a soft rubber sheath, which is then covered in two pieces of outer armor that lock tightly into place around the device. This hard external shell is smooth, yet easy to grip, and features access points for the volume buttons and mute switch without obstructing the camera lens in anyway.

The Vise provides a fantastic level of shock absorption, which protects both the front and back of the iPhone, keeping it safe and secure when accidentally dropped, even from a substantial height. The corner and side pads are also reinforced to keep the fragile edge of the smartphone from suffering damage as well. Those areas can be especially susceptible to damage.Considering the level of protection the Vise delivers, the case is actually smaller and lighter than you would expect. It does, however, add a measure of thickness and weight to the iPhone that is undeniable. Still, frequent travelers will probably be willing to give up a bit of size and weight in order to keep their device secure while on the road. This is the kind of case that is equally useful in an urban environment as it is on a backpacking trip into the wilderness, and unlike a lot of other cases, it is easy to remove when you don’t feel it is needed.

It should be noted that the Vise comes with a detachable belt clip, which I’m sure some people will appreciate. While it does do a good job of holding the phone in place, I found it to be a bit larger than I would have liked and didn’t use it much after initial testing.

SYSTM Hammer ($29.95)
There is no denying that the Vise provides unprecedented levels of protection for our favorite smartphone, but not everyone is willing to sacrifice weight and thickness for that level of security. SYSTM has those users covered too however as they offer a thinner, lighter case in the form of the Hammer.

This case consists of a form-fitting, soft rubber sleeve that closely resembles the inner lining that comes with the Vise. Unlike that case however, the Hammer consists of just this single layer of protection and doesn’t include the hard outer shell that makes the Vise so unique. The Hammer does have reinforced corners and is made of shock absorbing materials, which combine to provide an overall excellent level of protection without adding any undue bulk.

Much like the Vise, the Hammer is incredibly easy to add or remove from the iPhone as needed. But unlike its bulkier counterpart, you probably won’t feel the need to take the Hammer off your phone quite so often. Since it is so much thinner, and does an excellent job of enhancing our grip while protecting the device, you’ll probably just want to leave it in place at all times. After a day or two, you’ll come to appreciate the qualities that it delivers and will likely forget that you even have it on the phone anyway.

Both the Vise and Hammer are great products and would make excellent holiday gifts. The Vise provides a high level of protection for those who take their tech toys to demanding environments or are just simply hard on their phones. The Hammer, on the other hand, isn’t quite so rugged and durable, but it still provides plenty of protection in a thinner and lighter package. Either one will keep your smartphone safe from harm and just as beautiful as it was the day it came out of the box.

Scosche announces pre-sales of eight iPhone 4 cases

I’m not entirely sure what kind of overtime is involved in designing not one, but eight cases – but to pull this off a mere 24 hours after Apple announced their newest iPhone is quite impressive.

Scosche were obviously not content with just one case, so they designed a different case for almost any purpose:

  • KickBACK g4 is a glossy case with an integrated kickstand
  • SwitchKASE g4 is a clear silicone skin with removable armband
  • SwitchBACK g4 is a kickstand case with interchangeable covers
  • MetalliKASE g4 is an all metallic case with a mirrored screen protector
  • BeefKASE g4 is made from genuine leather and plastic
  • BandEDGE g4 polycarbonate case offers a rubber bumper edge
  • BandIT g4 is a durable rubber shield
  • GlosSEE g4 is a full rubber case made of a “unique glossy material”

All these new cases are available for pre-order, with an expected shipping date around the end of the month – just in time for the availability of the new iPhone 4. Prices start at $19.99.

Armpocket iPhone case offers storage for more than your phone

IPhone cases are nothing special – and it takes quite a bit of innovation to design a case that can stand out in the already crowded market. The Armpocket case is such a product.

The Armpocket attaches to your arm using a vented memory foam strap. The bag itself has space for your phone, keys, wallet and more. The case is made from recycled materials and soft natural bamboo!

You’ll find the Armpocket case over at their web site, where it is available in six colors, several sizes as well as different front pockets.

The basic version of the Armpocket Sport 20 case ($29.95) has a regular pocket, but they also have versions with a small clear window (for the iPod Nano) and a large clear window for touch screen devices like the iPhone, Blackberry Storm or T-Mobile G1.

The Armpocket lineup starts at $22.95 for the small Aero 10 up to $35.95 for the largest bag, the Xtreme 30.