Not that long ago I made the decision to swap cell phone carriers. While my then current provider had less than optimal coverage in the area, I was reluctant to change because of my phone. I had been an early adopter of the Android platform with my HTC G1. However, as the phone aged problems arose which prompted me to part with the phone and its carrier. Feeling the pull of the iOS platform, I opted to buy an iPhone 4S. As I knew people had problems with the back breaking or the screen cracking (even though it was Gorilla Glass), I thought it wise to buy into some protection. On a whim, I took the up sale from the telephone representative for a black case. I ended up with an Incipio Double Cover Shell case.
The name is a little long, but these cases are in Incipio cases in Verizon branded packaging. It is actually an Incipio Silicrylic Dual Pro case without the vanity kit (screen protector,applicator and cloth). Considering that they are exactly the same if one compares the two on the Incipio website, it seems a little odd that they even did it this way. You can bet that Verizon asked specifically for this to happen in the name of the mighty dollar. They try to upsell you on those items for extra money. How silly is that? Considering that I paid less than the retail price from Incipio for the Silicrylic, I think I can do without the screen protector. Looking at the design of it, I thought it looked sleek with its hybrid of component types fitting in with each other. The matte on black created a nice contrast against the slick looking silicone.
Unlike my Case Mate Phantom review, the Double Cover doesn’t have any fancy buzz words for the materials it is constructed out of. It features two layers of phone protection. The first is the silicone core that acts as the first line of protection. This covering helps protect the phone from shock. This squishy covering is found on many of the entry level cases from Incipio. It grips the phone rather well and should protect from those accidental drops while trying to pull it from your pocket. The second snap in layer is plain old polycarbonate. It just pushes into place over the silicone core to provide a little more rigidity to the case and create less friction against surfaces the silicone would catch on.
The construction of the Double Cover shows some thought into the design that most people are looking for in a iPhone case. It is easy to install and remove. It doesn’t even leave any scratches or marks behind on the phone because of the silicone. All of the cutouts allow for easy access to the headphone port, data connector and silence switch. Even the cutout for the camera was done really well. Instead of stacking the material thick, a nice rounded tear shape was molded to give the camera a clear line of sight without compromising the flash capabilities. Unfortunately, there is where the good of the case ends.
There are numerous things that I found lacking in the Double Cover that could have done a little better. The bigger annoyances leave me a little baffled as to why they weren’t addressed. Probably the most important thing that comes up is how insecure I feel with this case on my phone. While it is easy to put on and take off, repeating this action can have an effect on the Double Cover. Within two weeks of use, I started to notice the silicone part stretching out. From there, the silicone skin above the volume control started to catch a little extra wear. The concern also spread to the covering over the home button. It came to the point that I started to think that it would end up tearing at those points since there is no plastic parts to cover it. This to me speaks of a design flaw with the snap on hard piece. Since it is only there to snap onto the back of the phone, many places lack structure you would expect in a case.
Some less concerning issues with the case were apparent as well. I noticed that it caught on many things that it shouldn’t have. Incipio states that the silicone and the hard backing should slide easy in and out of pockets due to the finish that is on them. This is counter to their claim that there was an anti-static coating on the silicone that would prevent just this sort of thing. Numerous times I would catch the corners or the bottom of the phone due to the friction against the silicone. Oddly, I guess the coating works on a solid surface. Then again, it may just be the oil from all the fingerprints the matte part collects. The phone had no problem sliding back and forth on my desk and dining room table. It also collected a good amount of fuzz, hair or other debris while sitting in my pocket. Most wouldn’t raise an questionable eyebrow here, but it is somewhat of a nuisance since there isn’t any coverings over the ports. Nothing like having to pick pocket lint out of the connector port to be able to charge the phone.
Overall, the Incipio Double Cover does little to ease my fears about dropping my phone. This obviously isn’t a ruggedized case, nor does it set out to be one. However, it will protect from scratches and minor shock that may occur from everyday use of your iPhone. I wouldn’t risk dropping it from any extended height, as I would fear the back of it popping off. It just doesn’t feel secure. The silicone just makes the whole thing feel squishy in a bad sort of way. I guess if you are looking for something on the low end of the scale that you won’t pay much cash for, you could pick up the Double Cover case. As this has to be purchased straight from Verizon, I doubt that it’ll be seen on sale many places. There are just too many things wrong with the case to warrant the purchase. This is on top of the fact that it has the extras stripped out of it that you would get with the case if you bought the retail version from Incipio instead. Do yourself a favor and save up for a better case from Incipio or something else altogether.