When I first reviewed the Caudabe Stealth for the iPhone 6/S (link), it was a case that looked good but was a pain-in- the neck getting on and off the iPhone. The fit and finish of that first generation case was good but I had issues with alignment of the holes for the camera and flash with the red version of the case which improved with the gray version I ordered a couple months later the second time around. The one thing I do know about Caudabe is that they listen to their customers and evidence of that attention shows in their new, improved Sheath case for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. This review is for the black Sheath case for the iPhone 7. Caudabe was also kind enough to provide a grey case as well but this review will focus primarily on the black version.
The changes for the Sheath for iPhone 7 are subtle but overall they combine to make a good case even better. The first thing Caudabe did to improve the user experience getting the case on to the device was to actually include an instruction insert in the packaging. Putting the case on was a non-issue, unlike my first go around. I wonder if Caudabe included these instructions with the earlier version of the cases whether or not I would've had issues putting the case on, or did Caudabe improve something in the manufacturing process to assist the process with these new versions? Regardless, installation was pain-free.
If you didn't read my initial review of The Sheath, the case is a svelte .90mm thick, full coverage case. Caudabe calls the material ShockLite, a soft gel-like flexible polymer with shock protection. It's not quite silicone in feel, as opposed to the sticky Apple Silicone offering, but it does add relatively good grip to the iPhone when it's on. The grip has actually been improved since the first model of the case. Caudable modified the manufacturing process to make the case feel a bit more "grittier" in the hand. It's the best way I know of to explain the difference between the older and newer Sheath. I actually prefer the new feel over the older one and am glad Caudabe made this change. As an added bonus, the material, even in black, seems to resist fingerprint smudges. That's certainly a good thing! In terms of overall look of the Sheath the accent faux antenna lines on the first generation have been reduced to one on the top part of the newercase. The area around the camera and flash have also been redesigned and have accent lines as well. The new patterns makes for a much cleaner,classier look to the overall design. The bottom of the Sheath now includes dual speaker cutouts and eliminates the headphone jack area to accommodate the newer iPhone 7 design. The area around the lighting port is reinforced to reduce the amount of wear and tear on the case from plugging in charging cables and docks. I had no issues with the Apple stock lighting cable nor the several charging docks I have both at home and at work. The volume and sleep buttons are easily pressed and have excellent tactile feedback. The side mute switch is also easily accessed as well. The Sheath offers a lay-on-table design that allows for putting the iPhone 7 face down without the screen touching the surface you are placing it on. If you plan on using The Sheath with a tempered glass or other screen protector, I would recommend getting in touch with Caudabe customer support prior to purchase and verifying that the protector will work with it.
Besides Black, The Sheath is also offered in Gray, Navy Blue, and Red. Having a (matte) black iPhone 7, the black version of the Sheath looks spectacular on my phone. Combine that with the quality of this case, the slimness, and the overall fit and finish, I highly recommend this case to anyone looking for the aforementioned qualities in a great looking iPhone case. I struggle to find anything negative to say about this case. It might just be the perfect combo of protection and feel out there in the market. The Sheath has become my everyday case and I think it will be for the forseeable future.
Oh, btw, did I mention how great the black case looks on a black iPhone? :)
Caudabe The Sheath (iPhone 7) - $19.95 USD
They say "second time's a charm", and in the case (no pun intended) of Caudabe's newest Sheath Case for the iPhone 6/S it is indeed. I have always been a fan of Caudabe's products, especially of the razor thin Veil and Veil XT cases. Caudabe's newest case, the Sheath, is aimed at iPhone 6/S owners who want a thin case with some measure of drop protection and a bit of grip thrown in for good measure.
When the Sheath was first made available, I placed an order for the red version. Upon the receiving the case, I found it very difficult to put on and no matter how I tried to adjust the fit, was unable to get the camera and flash to align properly. I have included snap shots of the red case in this review along with the gray version. In addition, I was using a metal plate on the back of my phone for a magnetic mounting in my car so the plate would cause a bit of a hump in the back of my phone. I have since ditched the magnetic mount in my car and have gone with a clasp-type holder so a plate is no longer necessary. Obviously, having the plate present wasn't a issue with the case itself, but rather my own. Even though I am a fan of red cases, especially for the silver/white iPhone, I wasn't a fan of the red color offering for the Sheath so I ended up returning it for a refund. However, I did like how thin case was and the level of protection it offered so after getting a different car mount I decided to pick up the gray version of the case, and let me tell you, I am glad that I did.
The Sheath is a svelte .99mm thick full coverage case. Caudabe calls the material ShockLite, a soft gel-like, flexible polymer with shock protection. It's not quite silicone in feel, as opposed to the sticky Apple Silicone case but it does offer a relatively good grip to the iPhone when it's on. Getting the case on presented some problems and a bit of frustration. Even following the directions that come with the case, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get on. Inserting the top of the iPhone first and then working your way down to the corner of the phone with the audio jack was pretty easy. Getting the opposite lower corner into the case took me awhile. It required me stretching out the case while slipping the corner in. After several attempts I was able to get the case fully installed. As opposed to the red case, the gray was on-point and precise when it came to all cutouts around the case. Once the Sheath is on, it's REALLY on, offering no give in either the sides or top/bottom of the iPhone.
One of really nice features of this case is the individual cutouts for both the rear camera and flash. Most cases have a large, single cutout which has open space for both the camera and flash. The individual cutouts, when aligned properly give the case a polished look. The back and sides of the Sheath have simulated antenna lines in a darker color than the rest of the case that match those of the iPhone. Whether or not you are a fan of the iPhone antenna lines, the addition of this small touch separates the Sheath in terms of look from other cases on the market. In essence, the Sheath looks like it belongs on the iPhone 6/S. The red version of the case is barely translucent, showing the Apple logo in the back but the darker colors like the gray and black are not. On the front, the Sheath offers a ever-so-slight lip offering a lay-on-the-table design. I suspect the lip will support 3rd party tempered glass protectors without issue. All buttons are covered and offer great tactile response. Caudabe claims it has reinforced the area around the iPhone lightning port and from what I can tell, it does seems seem sturdy and able to stand up to long-term use. Due to the thinness of the case, there should be no problems with docks and most lightning charging cables.
Overall, I am enjoying the gray Sheath on my iPhone 6s. It meets all my criteria for a slim case, while providing more protection and lay-on-table design over the thinner Veil XT. Six Plus owners fear not, Caudabe claims a version for the larger phone is coming. But for now iPhone 6/S owners should take a look at this new Caudabe offering. The case is offered in black, gray, blue, and red. I am glad I gave the Sheath a second chance. Aside from the difficulty of getting the case on initially, the Sheath is worthy addition to my iPhone 6s case collection and one that I will continue to enjoy using.
Caudabe The Sheath_ - $19.95
I had a craving to put a leather case on my 2 month old iPhone 6S, knowing full well that the iPhone 6 form factor will most likely change with the release of the iPhone 7 next fall. After my experience with the Product (RED) leather case for the 5S and a black Apple Leather for the 6S, Apple's offerings left me underwhelmed and looking elsewhere. Enter Bellroy.
Mostly known for their product line of thin leather wallets (one of which I own), Bellroy now.offers a variety of smartphone cases with and without storage for items such as cash and plastic cards. Since I already own a separate iPhone 6/s wallet case, I decided to purchase the basic iPhone 6 case in a shade of red Bellroy calls Tamarillo. Bellroy also offers the case in Black, Blue Steel, Java (Brown), and Charcoal.
The case is a basic snap on that covers the top and both sides of the iPhone, leaving the bottom exposed to accommodate various plugs, chargers, docks, etc. The case feels very good in the hand (I'll get to the leather below). Compared to the Apple offerings, the Bellroy case feels and looks thinner. Even on a 6S, which is slightly thicker than the 6, there is a very slight lip which provides just enough lay-on-the-table protection to allow putting the phone down without worry of the screen touching the surface. The lip is not intrusive when touching the edges of the iPhone.
Being a leather case, the quality of the leather used and it's durability certainly come into play over the long term when using the case. As I mentioned above, I had purchased an Apple leather case for the 5S in Product(RED), and the aniline leather and coloring wore really badly, even after a couple of weeks. Some people like a "worn" look when it comes to leather, but in the situation with the Apple leather case, over the span of a couple of weeks, it became downright nasty looking. Even the Black leather Apple case I have for the iPhone 6, after several months became course and rough looking. It's the nature of leather, I get it. The leather used on the Bellroy case is very soft and feels good to the touch (even a little slippery). It should be noted that the back of the case is leather with the sides being a similar colored polycarbonate (plastic). One can hardly notice the transition from the leather back to the polycarbonate sides. Only a seam in case that runs the length of the sides can really identify where the leather ends and the polycarbonate begins. Overall, the look is very clean and classy. Bellroy states in their product specifications that the leather used is "vegetable tanned" which doesn't say much for its durability over the long haul. Only time will tell how this case holds up with daily use.
In terms of control access, the power, volume buttons, and mute switch are easily accessible. Not a surprise given the thinness of the case. The camera opening also includes a black out ring border to help minimize flash issues.
In summary, the Bellroy case for the iPhone 6/S is a quality leather case that is nice to hold and looks great. As with most snap on cases, there is a trade off between convenience and bulk versus the amount of protection the case offers. I plan on using the Bellroy case as my primary case for the immediate future. How it holds up in terms of looks and leather quality remains to be seen. Hopefully this case can get me through the next several months until the iPhone 7. Based on my initial use so far, I highly recommend this case for people who are looking for a reasonably priced, good quality alternative to Apple's Leather case.
Bellroy - $49.95
The iPhone 6 is out and it is truly glorious. Curved edges and seamless glass curves make this iPhone one of the most pleasurable iPhones ever to hold in one hand. However, it's still an iPhone and if you're like me, you'll want to protect your new investment. As most of you may know from reading my site and from the case reviews I do, I prefer minimal cases that keep the iPhone form factor and protect against minor drops, scratches, and other everyday dings that can mar a device. I placed an order with SPIGEN soon after the iPhone 6 was released and finally received it this week after the bombardment of orders that befell the company as they struggled to meet demand. It was well worth the wait.
The Thin Fit is a typical thin-shell snap-on type case. You apply the case by first snapping in one side (usually the side with the volume buttons) and then the opposite side. Once the case is on you can barely notice that anything is on the iPhone. I ordered the Smooth Black version of the case for my Space Grey iPhone 6. The Smooth Black is the only case in the Thin Fit series to have soft touch, matte feel. The matte polycarbonate (ahem plastic) gives the iPhone 6 a grippy feel and it certainly does feel great in the hand. As with most matte finishes, it can be a bit susceptible to fingerprint smudges, but I haven't really noticeable with this case and can be wiped off easily. The case is very thin, though not as thin as a Caudabe Veil (review of the Veil to follow). However, I truly feel that the Thin Fit is the perfect case for the iPhone 6 offering just enough protection while not adding any significant bulk to the device. I have other "thin" cases for the iPhone 6 such as the SPIGEN Neo Hybrid, the Apple Silicon case, and a CM4 Q Card (review to follow), and none of them keep the iPhone as comfortable to hold as the Thin Fit. It comes down to the width of the device with the added size of the case. In many ways, especially with the black Thin Fit, it's almost as though the case is part of the iPhone.
The Thin Fit, offers no top or bottom protection similar to most snap-on type cases for other iPhones in the past. For the bottom of the iPhone, the lack of protection is offset by the convenience of working with any headphones, charging cables, or docks that plug into the device. Why SPIGEN did not offer any protection on the top of the case, I am not sure, but overall the look and feel of this mimimal case is outstanding. The curved edges of the case flow nicely along with the iPhone 6 glass. There is a slight lip on the sides of the case which offers lay-on-table-design which allows you to place the iPhone face down and not have the screen touch the surface. This is a great feature when you have the iPhone out on a table and you just don't want to be distracted by notifications. The case is solid and there are no creaks or movement to speak of. The cut-outs for the volume, vibrate, and sleep buttons make each button easy to access.
Overall, for my needs this is the PERFECT case for the iPhone 6. When I need (or want) something with a little more protection, I will use the Apple Silicone case. If I go on vacation and want a wallet style case to hold credit and/or room key cards, I have the CM4 wallet case. For my every day needs, the SPIGEN will be my daily driver. It looks great on the Black/Space Grey iPhone 6 and keeps it feeling great in my hand.
If you can get a hold of one during these initial days of the iPhone 6 by all means do so. I highly recommend the Thin Fit for anyone looking for a thin, slim, and great looking case.
Spigen Thin Fit (Smooth Black) - $14.99 (Spigen site), $9.99 on Amazon (Link)
There's about a month left until the iPhone 6 is released. I most certainly will be getting whatever Apple graces consumers with next month. Until then, I am continuing to soldier on with my trusty iPhone 5S. With the knowledge that I will be getting a new device next month, why would I consider purchasing a new case for my "old" iPhone? Perhaps because I have an uncontrollable fetish for iPhone cases? Perhaps. After a rather bad experience with the Verus Aluminum Frame bumper style case (signal issues), I decided to re-visit the SPIGEN Neo Hybrid case for the iPhone 5/S. I have had several SPIGEN cases in the past, including a Neo Hybrid. I wasn't expecting much but upon receiving the case in Champaign Gold, I am very happy with improvements in the quality of the case and have no regrets with the purchase this late into my iPhone 5S' life.
If the worlds thinnest iPhone 5 case is what you are looking for, look no further than the Caudabe Veil. When I say it's thin, it's THIN (.35mm). Probably the thinnest case I have ever used on an iPhone. In fact, I would have to say that the Veil is so thin, it's more like applying a matte skin to the iPhone rather than a hardshell case. The products highlights on the product packaging are:
The feel of the Veil is very similar to the Ghost Armor Matte skins that I have used in the past (review link). The matte plastic feels very nice and resists fingerprints which absolutely drive me batty when I constantly have to wipe down a case to remove them. There are specific cutouts for each volume button and the mute switch. I have always preferred cases that have individual button cutouts as I feel they add to the overall look of the case. The bottom of the Veil is completely open similar to most other snap on cases. However, the Veil differs a bit from other snap-ons by providing full protection, aside from a power button cutout, on the top of the phone.
What more is there to say? This is the absolute thinnest case you will find on the market. The Caudabe Veil is basically the un-case case. Obviously, the drop protection with the Veil is minimum to none, but will suffice in protecting your iPhone from scratching which is an accomplishment given how paper thin this case is. Full credit goes to Caudabe in getting their manufacturing process to produce such a high quality product for the iPhone.
Much thanks goes out to Caudabe for sending me a review sample! The Veil and the Wisp can be purchased on Caudabe's site for $14.99. When first released, there was so much demand for this case that Caudabe couldn't keep up. Apparently they are now back in stock. What are you waiting for? Go grab one and experience the magic of the Veil!
Caudabe Veil - $14.99 (Link)
Keeping the red theme going, I picked up an Elago S5 Breathe case for the iPhone. The snap on case is called Breathe due to the small holes around the case which gives it a distinct look. The case is a soft plastic with a special coating that Elago claims will resist dirt and smudges. The coating feels real nice in the hand and in combination with the holes gives the case a good grip.
The Breathe comes in 12 different colors and can be purchased directly from the Elago site for $24.99. As with most cases, check Amazon for better pricing deals.
After the Apple leather case debacle, I decided to keep the "red" theme going by picking up an Incipio Feather case for my iPhone 5S. The Feather case has always been one of the thinnest cases available for the iPhone line. The offering for the 5/S is no exception. The case is a typical snap on rear shell with open top, bottom, and control side for easy access to all jacks, openings, and buttons. The case feels extremely nice and is made of a "soft-touch" plastic. My experience with soft touch coatings in the past hasn't been very good as they tend to smudge and look horrible over time. Hopefully the Feather lasts a bit as I really do like the look and feel of the case. I picked one up in Crimson Red and is available in a total of 14 other colors. The Feather lists for $24.99 at the Incipio site, but search around and you can probably find it for much cheaper. I picked mine up at Amazon for under 10 bucks but prices do vary.
This case is a very nice choice for anyone looking to keep their iPhone slim and reasonably protected from daily bumps, bruises, and scratches.
To case or not to case? That is the question. For myself, it has been the question for me over the years of owning an iPhone. If you take a look at many of my case reviews, you'll see mostly thin bumper-style or rear shell snap on cases for the iPhone 5 form factor. When Apple introduced the new leather "premium" cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s, initially I had no interest in using one. However based on the chatter of some on my Twitter feed I decided to purchase a leather case in my favorite color, Apple's (PRODUCT) RED.
The Apple case is made of a leather called Aniline, a soft leather that is dyed to achieve various colors. It is very nice to hold and like most leather products feels soft to the touch. While this type of leather looks and feels nice, it happens to be very prone to color fading and wear (more on that later). Apple offers the new cases in Beige, Black, Blue, Brown, (PRODUCT) RED, and Yellow.
When on the iPhone, the case offers full protection covering the top, bottom, sides, and even a small lip on the front providing a lay-on-the-table design. Cutouts are provided for the Lightning port connector, headphone jack, and silent/vibrate switch. The headphone jack does seem pretty ample in terms of size and the types of connectors it will accommodate. The opening allowed for (obviously) the stock Apple Earbuds, the Klipsch Image S4i's, and Bose OE2i's. The opening for the Lightning connector is pretty wide as well for a full coverage case. However your mileage may vary for non-Apple connectors. If you use a non-Apple connector, I would suggest bringing it along with you to a local Apple store and ask to try it with your phone with the case on to see if it will connect properly. Desktop docks and stands that use the standard Lightning connector will also be hit and miss. I have an older generation Belkin dock at work which allows for the positioning of the connector portion of the Lightning connector to be raised and lowered accordingly so I was able to position it high enough to get a solid connection. The opening for the silent/vibrate switch was large enough for me to flip the switch without issue. The speaker grills are aligned perfectly and don't muffle the sound from the iPhone speakers.
The case covers both the sleep/wake and volume up/down buttons. My experience with using the case is that there is a great deal more tactile feedback when pressing either of the side volume buttons than pressing the sleep/wake button on the top. When depressing the volume buttons, you get a solid "click" feedback. However, that feeling is less pronounced for the top button. The feedback is there but not as prevalent as the side buttons. Perhaps this because of the way I hold the phone in my hand or the way my finger presses on the button area. Either way, pressing the top button is not as good an experience as the side buttons but in no way diminishes the ability to quickly and easily power on and off the iPhone.
Now we get to the proverbial "elephant in the room", regarding this case: wear and tear. As mentioned above, the case is made from aniline leather which traditionally is prone to discoloration and wear over time and extended use. I have witnessed first hand and thru pictures the effect of wear on the color and overall look of the case. The wearing effect is so well known that Apple has even put a disclaimer on the product info page warning potential customers that color discoloration is to be expected. To some, having a worn leather case might be sign of character, but for me it's not appealing at all. I have only owned the case for under a week so I will be keeping an eye on how well this case looks after constant daily use. There are various ways to take care of leather products but I think I'll use just warm water and a soft rag to clean any dirt off the case and see how that goes.
Overall, this a great feeling case that provides very good protection, including a nice lay-on-table front lip which does not interfere much with screen swipes. This case is very slim compared to other full-coverage cases. If you are looking for a thinner, smaller profile case, you'll need to look at the various micro snap-on shells or a thin bumper.
The Apple leather case is a great option for those who are looking for a stylish and great feeling case that offers full protection offered in a variety of colors. At $39 dollars, the case is a pretty good deal considering the quality and craftmanship for a leather case. The (PRODUCT) RED case is really nice and will look great on either a white or black iPhone 5 or 5s. My only hesitation in recommending this case is the long term ability for the case to maintain its great look with every day use. Stay tuned for updates on how the case looks after some time.
iPhone 5s Case - $39.00
Update (12/10/2013) - Its been less than a month of owning the Apple case and it has failed to live up to expectations. The wear has reared it ugly head and now the case looks terrible. I take very good care of my devices including the cases that protect them. The Aniline leather seems very susceptible to losing color on the most held parts of the case, which is the corners. Check out the picture of the case after less than a month. Supposedly, the darker color cases fair better but as much as I enjoyed using this case during the short time I have owned it, I am not spending another 39 dollars for a case that will only look good for a month-or-two.
I love using the iPhone without a case. Sure, it's taking a chance without any major drop protection on the phone but with Applecare+ and a minimal expense to replace a busted or damaged device, it's worth the risk. I usually go for the minimal scratch protection of the the Ghost Armor matte skins. Here are some pics:
Oh by the way, maybe #GoldIsBetter, but #SilverIsSleeker!
As an avid tech fan I look forward to sharing my tech experiences both personally and professionally with those that have similar interests and passion for technology.