Buying a new case for your iPhone 4 or 4S can be a daunting task, with thousands of designs to choose from. We've tried out some of the latest, coolest efforts, including a couple that will give the most patriotic Apple fans a warm, tingly glow in their bellies...
Proporta National Gallery Hard Shell Case for iPhone 4/4S (www.proporta.com, £14.95)
Proporta has teamed up with the National Gallery to produce an arty range of mobile cases featuring famous designs. We tried out the Trafalgar Square iPhone 4/4S case, which sports a classic 1950s portrait of one of London’s most iconic monuments, Nelson’s Column, on the rear. It’s a hard shell that snaps around your iPhone to protect it from bumps and drops. Once in place it’ll remain unless prised off, and the edges and corners of your precious mobile are almost completely covered, with space left for buttons and ports. The only section that isn’t safeguarded is the display, so you’ll want to use a screen protector too.
We love the faded, retro design, not to mention the funky colours, which add some much-needed personality to the cold black design of our iPhone 4S. The case feels surprisingly soft to the touch as well, despite its rugged build. Proporta will be releasing even more designs in the coming months, covering a range of mobile phones, so keep an eye on its website.
Pong iPhone 4/4S cobalt blue leather case (www.ponguk.com, £39.99)
This may be one of the more expensive cases on the market, but Pong Research has produced more than just a standard iPhone shell. This rugged case not only protects your mobile, it also helps to redirect radiation away from the user and boost your mobile signal, or so the makers claim. There are Android versions too, so check the website for more details.
The Pong shell clings to your iPhone, wrapping around the back and sides to cover the corners and the bulk of the edges, with gaps left for your buttons and ports. Like most other shell cases, Pong’s iPhone 4/4S soft touch case is reassuringly solid but also has a soft finish, so it feels good in the hand. While we couldn’t directly test the radiation claims (it reduces radiation exposure by up to 95% below international safety limits), Pong has had experience in this area and conforms to international standards, so concerned users who spend a long time chatting might want to invest. As for the signal boost, we didn’t notice a difference in our usual commute but nor did we ever struggle to send a text or make a call.
QDOS Smoothies Best of British 'Skyline' iPhone 4/4S case (QDOSSound.com, £19.99)
Another case with a British design. The QDOS Smoothies 'Skyline' case features a stark silhouette of famous London landmarks on the rear, from the London Eye to Big Ben and the Gherkin. It’s a minimalist image but it looks smart and complements the simple design of the iPhone perfectly. You can get a range of other iconic British designs too, including a classic old fashioned telephone box.
The edges of the Smoothies case are transparent, so you can see the shiny silver band beneath, and of course there are good-sized gaps to keep your buttons and ports free for access. The corners and sides are well protected by the plastic edges, which wrap around the phone without adding much girth or weight. However, as with the Proporta case, the edges finish almost level with the screen, so if your precious iPhone lands face-down after a tumble, the display will likely take a battering. We also found the top left corner didn’t snugly grip the phone, feeling a little loose.