Since I write a fair bit about the iPhone and iPad from time to time, the folks at The Snugg wrote to me and asked me if I’d like a free case in exchange for a review. They told me I could select from a subset of their offerings and I chose their “Ultra Thin Bamboo iPhone 5 Case in Black.”
iPhone cases are practically a dime a dozen in Hong Kong, and even cheaper if you head across the border to Shenzhen. I always pick up a few of these cheapies at a time – either I get tired of the design or it doesn’t really fit the phone properly or it just falls apart after awhile.
In terms of material, I’ve steered clear of those rubber ones, because I just don’t like how they feel and some of them have seemed to “stick” against my wallet. I’ve also stayed away from leather because that usually adds too much bulk. I don’t like anything with a cover or any of those pouch-like ones. My phone is usually in my front jeans pocket, sharing space either with my wallet or my work phone (a Samsung Galaxy S4). So I want a screen protector on the front and something thin on the back and sides. The Snugg Bamboo case seemed to fit my particular bill.
So here’s front and back shots of the packaging.
And here’s the front and back of the case once removed from the packaging.
So as you can see, it’s suitably thin. The bamboo piece has been coated so that it’s smooth to the touch – you’re not going to get any splinters when you pick it up. The black piece is some sort of plastic or rubber – I’m no expert here – but also smooth. It’s a good, proper fit. Once the phone is in the case, there’s no jiggling around.
Both the top and bottom are “open” – on the bottom it’s not covering the speakers, lightning jack, or headphone jack. The cut is the same on the top, even though there’s just the one on/off button there.
The one thing I would change? I wish it was just the plain wood without their 3D logo. It takes away from what I think is otherwise a pretty sharp looking case.
Here’s a shot of my phone in the case:
And a side view:
(You’ll probably have to view this photo full-sized. It’s my phone standing on its side, using the, um, case’s case to balance it.)
One thing you should take away from these photos is how thin the case is. It’s also very light. So it adds little to the size or weight. Yet it seems rigid enough to do what it’s supposed to do. No – I haven’t tried any torture testing on it, no dropping my phone from ten feet or trying to see if I can smush the case with my fists. I’ve only had it for a couple of days so I can’t comment on how well it will still look after a month or two. This particular case sells for US$24.95. (Other iPhone 5 cases from them run from $15 up to $40.)
The Snugg actually has a very wide product range. They make cases for every version of the iPad (some include Bluetooth keyboards) and quite a few other tablets out there (including Kindle and Nook). They cover (pardon the pun) iPhones and Samsungs and Blackberry and they also have cases for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. They claim to be the #1 seller of iPad cases on both Amazon US and UK.
I just took a look at their listings on Amazon for their iPad case. Almost 5,800 reviews, with an average rating of 4-1/2 stars. Not too shabby. For the bamboo iPhone case, 45 reviews with an average rating of 3.8 stars.
Of course there’s about a billion companies making a zillion cases out there, running the gamut from a buck or so up to designer cases that can cost more than the phone itself. Why pick one from these guys? Well, of course the first thing will come down to whether or not you like the styles on offer.
These guys do offer a bit more though. They offer a lifetime guarantee on all their cases, they ship globally, they offer free shipping for orders over US$50 (I’m guessing that’s just in the US or the UK – I can’t find any further details on the web site) and say that they offer “no fuss returns.”
Overall, I’m happy with the bamboo case and intend to keep using it. You could do worse than to check out their site and see if they’ve got a case that suits you.