Case-Mate Barely There Chrome Case for the iPhone 3G

Chrome case central

Say hello to the Case-Mate Barely There Chrome Case for the iPhone [$19.95 iMore Store Link]. It's a streamlined case with a chrome outer shell and a mirrored screen protector. And it's the hottest iPhone case to come around in a while.

If you haven't already bought a gift for that special man/woman in your life, then just pick this one up. The perfectly mirrored surface is beautifully complimented by the gleaming chrome case. Yes, if Hercules had had this case he would have been able to defeat Medusa and make sure his hair still looked good. The back of the case also has a "beauty spot" for your apple icon (a hole in the case so you can see the apple logo). This case is such a stunner that it got a gasp of approval from one of my more difficult to please male friends.

Chrome case side

This case offers protection for the iPhone without being bulky and cumbersome. It covers the edges and corners of the phone while allowing easy access for volume, mute and charging.

Chrome Case 1

My favorite feature on this case is that the sides are protective but it fits below the level of the screen. This means that you can swipe right off the edge of the phone, without hitting the edge of the case. (I find cases that have a raised side edge very constraining and disruptive.)

Chrome case side view

The case easily comes off and on the iPhone. You place the iPhone into the case sideways with the volume and mute button going in first. Taking off the case is easy if you first gently pry off one of the corners and then use the Apple logo cutout to push out the phone.

Chrome Case Top

Every case has an Achilles heel and one of the drawbacks to this case is that it would not offer the phone a lot of protection in case of a high drop.

Also, I was hoping that this case would allow me to place my phone into its base charger. It is close but you still need to remove the case to charge it into a base charger.

Chrome case full on

I enjoyed this case so much that I removed my Gelaskin backing so that the apple logo would be properly displayed! (Yeah, I'm cool geeky like that).

Disclaimer: iMore Store provided the case for this review

To learn more, check out TiPb's iPhone Accessory Store...

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Case-Mate Barely There Chrome Case for the iPhone 3G


Case mate has some nice cases. The only problem like you said is the protection from a drop. As the case does not protect the glass.

Another nice review, Georgia! Nice looking case, too. The lack of drop protection is likely a deal-breaker for me, as my 3-year-old is always getting hold of my phone to play games. How is it on showing fingerprints and smudges?

Looks nice, I want every part of the back covered though. Any spot for sand and grit to get in ca ruin the finish. It does come with a reflective film for the screen?

I bought this for my wife, and she does love it, although she's deathly afraid of the first time she drops it that it will be the end of her phone.
AarontheRed, fingerprints and smudges actually aren't too bad. I was worried about this myself, and was pleasantly suprised.
To answer your question techse7en, yes it does come with the mirrored screen protector. Indoors, it's awesome; outdoors when it's sunny it's hard to see through, although that's true of the phone in general.

Nice but I would much prefer it to be all black. Been using the Seidio Innocase II for awhile now and really like it, it's just hard to remove to use in an apple dock.

Looks nice, yes, but you have to wonder how the semi-metallic properties affect things such as RF. You know, the GSM (cellular) radio, GPS (especially), and Bluetooth. I'd like to see the antenna pattern measurements of the iPhone with and without one of these cases on the device. My suspicion is that it reflects a hefty amount of signal back to the front of the phone and those that hold it to their head during calls are getting an extra dose of SAR heating their brains.

@MegaBit i have a similar metallic case, and it degrades signal by 3-7dB...and in bar terms--a friend of mine w a 3GS gets 4-5 bars at his place, while i'm getting 2-3. Also means not getting a signal in my garage with...and being able to place a call without. But then again... i AM in the SF Bay area :(

@Aaronthered it does leave smudges but they are not too bad.
@Megabit and @Altezza the case is plastic with a metalic finish so it shouldn't disrupt signal much if at all.

i like it, yes it scraches but atleast it doesnt stick to my pocket when i try and take it out. Be careful when installing the screen protector as i put my on alittle bit to far down so i tried to move it and it looked like poo. With the screen protector on it kinda looks like 3d...weird but cool

@Georgia I bought this case when I first bought my 3GS & my reception was very poor, in fact, I thought I had a defective device I was really worried about the hassle of returning it, but because of the lack of protection I switched cases and my reception, including wifi improved drastically. I had tried a number of different troubleshooting tips before switching cases, so I am pretty sure it was the case. I am tempted to try it out again to make sure, but the case was kind of hard to remove the first time and I don't want to risk any scratches. just my two cents.

seidio makes a charger that allows the iPhone to plug directly into a dock charger with the innocase never having to be removed. It's much cheaper than the apple dock as well. Hope that helps.

When I looked at the review pic at first, it looked not like the reflection of a light, but as if the case was horribly cracked and I was like, "Oh, bloody hell, best not get that one, then." :)
I really enjoyed my Case-Mate Docksters... er, both of them, even though the first put a small scratch on the back of my 3GS. They replaced it when it started cracking and the second one's leather is coming off... /sigh... Ordering a matte barely there Royal Blue since I don't ever drop it, much less on its face.

Having owned a number of iPhone/touch cases, the best one I've seen so far is the Speck Candy Shell series.
For me, a case HAS to protect, and this one does it without getting in the way, looks great, and is reasonably priced.
No, I don't IN ANY WAY work for/with Speck. Just the best case, IMHO.

@ Vanityeverlastingbonet This is the most beautiful hard case I have seen in a while and I use it in my Golla bag so I do not have to worry about the drop.
@ SupaGal Now I have used this case in the states and in Canada and I have not had any reception problems. Not sure which carrier you are using though.

I was in search of the perfect case as I use a belt holster as well. The rubberized ones just stick. I had a case mate very similar to this one except without the reflective screen cover. It degraded the signal to 0-1 bars and when I removed it, it went all the way up to 4 bars! I took it off and threw it in the garbage immediately. Great looking case though.

"My favorite feature on this case is that the sides are protective but it fits below the level of the screen. This means that you can swipe right off the edge of the phone, without hitting the edge of the case. (I find cases that have a raised side edge very constraining and disruptive.)"
This protects your screen if dropped, otherwise your screen will shatter

@Earless Puppy The screen protector (yes should have mentioned that in review) covers the rest of the screen so the glass itself does not have any contact. Though yes, this would not be as protective as a pouch etc. It did survive a full blown side fall on my tiled floors though.
@M Yes I was worried that the mirrored surface would get scratched. I have had it for three weeks and so far nothing at all. The first picture in the review was done two days ago so you can see how it held up.

I have been using this case for the last three months and I love it! I also have a ZAGG invisibleshield to protect the screen. I think the two provide great protection and function. The barely there case is just that, it's very sleek. And the screen protector keeps the glass safe and clean. I have dropped mine several times and all that has happened are a few small scratched on the case mate.

You can get the same case(if not bette)r from eBay and it will cost about $2 delivered. And they have an apple cutout not a big circle like This case. Casemate = ripoff!

I use the innocase II and the belt clip. I do not work for seidio bit they make TOP NOTCH stuff. I highly recommend checking out their website. I've turned all my friends onto their stuff and no one complains fact they thank me. Not only do they make iPhone stuff but I'm pretty sure they make cases for all the popular phones including that brick of a droid.

Its not a puch deal, if a full face drop happens, the raised lip protects the glass from direct impact... This is simple physics

In my experiece with over ten different cases, silicon cases are the best protection for the iPhone. Most hard cases come in two pieces, that seperate on impact, leaving the phone exposed to scratching.

I have this case and got very poor reception. I would hold my phone and my wifes phone both 3gs phones and mine would have only one bar on the reception. I chose to take it off and go back to my ifrogz case. It is cool though.

I got it 6 months ago and it only looked cool for about 2 months. All the "chrome" flaked off the case and onto my hands. The screen protector looks awesome until you go outside in the sun, then you can't see through it. So...yeah. Not worth it !

I dunno. My wife likes shiny things and thus caught her eye and made her happy. And a happy wife equals a happy life. You with me married guys?

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this case. Let me share my experience. I had been looking for a case that looked great and added minimal bulk. This one fit the bill perfectly.
I have been rocking this case for about 3 months now and I love it. It looks great. Yes it does offer minimal drop protection. But, interestingly, I have dropped my phone 5 or 6 times (!) since getting it and, luckily, have sustained no damage.
On the reception issue. The original run of these cases definitely had reception issues. CaseMate actually stopped selling them for awhile. They corrected the problem and re-issued the cases (around early September timeframe if I recall). I have one of the newer cases and no reception problems as far as I can tell.
Highly recommended if you care a lot about your iPhone remaining svelte and looking good. If you care more about all-over protection then this is not really the case for you.
All in all, I am quite satisfied with my Chrome Barely There.

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