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iMore show 325: iPad mini review

Review: The Case-Mate Dockster Leather Case for iPhone 3G

The Case-Mate Dockster Leather Case for iPhone 3G is available and can be purchased in iMore Store for $34.95. If you are looking for a case that is slim and dockable, then this case might be for you. Let's see how it measures up after the break!

Design

If there is one thing that bothers me with cases, it's the fact that most are not dockable. That issue goes away with Case-Mate's Dockster brand case for iPhone 3G. The case is composed of a hard plastic frame that separates into two halves. The case is very strong and has openings for all of the usual suspects including camera, volume controls/ silent switch, headphone jack, sleep/wake button, front sensors and 30-pin connector on the bottom. The outside of the case is covered with a soft leather. This case also comes with a screen protector too, if you need one.

Daily Use

Like some people, my iPhone 3G is always with me. So, it has it's fair share of battle scares from the last 7 months. I use a variety of cases for the iPhone, some good and others not so good. I was not sure what to expect from the Dockster. I can say I am quite pleased.

Placing the case on your iPhone could not be any easier; simply slide the top end on, then slide the bottom end. There are no buttons to snap, no clips to latch; they just slide together easily. Once the two pieces of the car are together, they are secure. I did not have to worry about one side slipping or falling off. The other benefit of this case is it adds a little extra grip too without become too think. The leather feels really nice in your hands and solid plastic frame adds piece of mind if it is dropped.

Docking the iPhone is easy, simply slip off the bottom end and yo are in business. I was very surprised at how easy it was to do.

Conclusion

Using this case daily, I really, really like it. The case is non-obtrusive and it looks good (to be honest, I would like it more if I had a black iPhone; the white kind of sticks out; Case-Mate, how about a white case?). There are not that many dockable case solutions on the market for the iPhone that are thin and attractive. This one really is a great solution!

Pros:

  • It is dockable!
  • Attractive leather finish
  • Sturdy plastic supportive frame
  • Thin
  • All ports are very easily accessible

Cons:

  • I really can't find any pertinent negatives with this case :-)
  • A variety of colors, currently black-only

TiPb's Rating:

5 starts

         

Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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There are 24 comments. Add yours.

visco says:

Agree with all of this review, by far the best case for the iphone, couple this with one of the protective screens and you're set.
The leather is much better than the rubber for gripping and it has a professional look. Highly recommended.

russd456 says:

I have a griffen case I bought at the AT&T store and it is very similar, just wanted to say that the stick on protective screen does not work with my case... Have u tried it with this one?

Rain says:

Yeah, the Griffin Elan Form, or rather one of their models, did his style a while back. I like it a little better than the case mate one.

Roo says:

Hopefully the way the case forms to the body of the phone is a bit more snug than the Elan Form case. I love my Elan Form, but after a few months of use, it's worn and the phone slips out of the case much easier than before. Other than that, the cases are literally identical, down to the tee. The only difference I can notice are the logo, of course, and the circumference of the camera hole looks somewhat bigger and reveals some of the phone's surface. Other than those things, it's a great case and a great buy!

Adam says:

I HAVE THIS CASE! From experience, I can agree that this is one of the best iPhone cases out there. However, I have had it for a few months and I think it's time for a new one. The 'leather' peels off from the heat from my hands, and even wrinkles up. I really think I'm just going to buy a new one of the same case... eventually.

jcjdoss says:

If you like this case don't buy it. get the Griffin Elan http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elanform3g I can assure you it will hold up. I have had it case since it first came out I think around the time the iPhone 3G was released and still looks new. I am fairly rough on my stuff.
There is also http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elan-form-chrome Which I don't have (found it while writing this) but want now, looks very nice.

Rockyjuan says:

Wow this case is very impresive. Thanks J Dos . Im prob going to order the elan chrome thought. It looks alot nicer than this one, and it comes with the plastic screen cover too.

sting7k says:

I have this case and I like it. Only problem is that it can scratch the hell out of your iPhone unless the inside is dust free and same with the iPhone's backing. I often switch between this case and my Vaja iVolution grip (my favorite case).
This case also adds a good amount of grip and not much bulk.

sting7k says:

Correction, I have the Griffin Elan Form looking at it now. They look identical.

icebike says:

@jDoss:
Question:
The Griffin has this line in their ads: "Includes stiff polycarbonate screen protector".
Does this mean a contact "sticktion" screen protector or one of those stiffer protectors integrated into the case that always seem to cause Newton's rings? ( http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/10/3010-004-0AD98D61.gif )

russd456 says:

its a non sticky screen shield.... i took it off cause it was noticeably less responsive.

Yup says:

Yup it's exactly the same as the elam form EXCEPT it has the bar in the front. I find this design ugly looking. The pictures don't show a front view which they should. It won't look so nice then. Pictures shown are deceiving all taken at angles.

Raygan says:

I have the Elan Form case which is nearly identical, and I have had to have it replaced twice by Griffin in less than six months. The leather peels off if you carry it around in a pocket too long, and becomes a sticky mess in your pocket. Will not buy again.

RIS says:

hey have you guys heard about the Invisible Sheild for the iPhone i have it. its awesome

iBug says:

Adam and Raygan are right. The leather peels up at the corners and leaves a nasty sticky mess. I've been through 3 in 6 months.
In concept this is nice, but the execution is horrible.

Seth says:

Does anyone know if the case mate one peels?

mofoman69us says:

@ RIS
How long have you had the Invisible Shield?
If you have it for the white iPhone, you're in for a huge load of disappointment very soon.
Within the first couple of days the plastic will noticable change color and begins to look hideous on the back of your phone.
It is very effective and what it's supposed to do (protect from scratches), but it's very hard to get it completely covered on the chrome sidings (the most susceptible to scratches on the phone)
Furthermore, after a couple of months the plastic will begin to peel from the corners due to a build up of lint or any dirt.
Overall, I'd say it's an ok product......

mofoman69us says:

^^
plz ignore typos.....
I was in rant mode.......

Dezorian says:

Problem with this case is your screenprotector will probably be pushed of by the edges of the case. The Contour Flick for iPhone 3G has the edge off the front screen so you can use a screenprotector (tip: steinheil protectors) also you'll still be able to see the chrome touch of your iphone.

Alex says:

@Russ I did the same dude, good choice. This is a really good looking case, perfect for every day usage.

Bryan says:

Just got his case at the end of Feb 09 and I can say that I am impressed with the quality so far. I put the case on right away and then noticed that it came with a screen protector and decided to take case off to apply screen protector. Well it took some time to get the case back off. So I can say that it stays on very well so far. Screen protector applied with no issues at all. Only complaint is some sharp edges on the main plastic cuts outs for the access ports and buttons. But I'm sure that will eventually wear down with use or may take a razor blade to the edges. Overall 5 star case so far.

jjreno says:

I recommend against case mate products for one reason, the are not well made. The Premium Form-Fit Holster is $25 when you purchase it separately, and the company doesn't use a spring, but rather a metal clip to put tension on the ratcheting belt clip. The rub is that after a couple of months, the metal looses is form and the clip does not stay clamped to your belt. Very poor design. Many other brands use a spring.

Susan Marie hicks says:

I made my own case and now I'm selling them but I want a leather iPhone case

Sammy Mondoza says:

I can’t understand what is such a big deal. The performance was great anyway.