Review: Case-Mate The Hipster for iPhone 3G

The Case-Mate The Hipster for iPhone 3G is available and can be purchased in the iMore Store for $34.95. If you are looking for a leather hip-case for your iPhone, this might just be it! Let’s see how it measures up after the break!


The Case-Mate Hipster is constructed of hard plastic both on the back of the case and the molded over the front. The case is fitted with leather all around it, including the back and belt clip. The inside of the case has a soft, felt-like material. This is a nice touch knowing your iPhone 3G won't receive any nasty scratches from within the case. The cover is held in place by a magnetic button.

You also receive (as a bonus) a cleaning cloth and screen protector as part of your purchase (both are included from Case-Mate).  This is a first, and a nice welcome; I have reviewed other Case-Mate purchases, and this is a first to have these included in the box. 

Daily Use

My current daily-driver case is a soft leather case with a similar design, but without the plastic reinforcement. Needless to say, I was excited to look at what I would call an "upgrade" to what I currently used. So, the first time I tried to place my iPhone in the hipster, I was dumbfounded... it wouldn't fit! I said to myself, "This can't be right."

So with extra attention, I realized that this essentially a plastic form-fitted case with felt on the inside and leather on the outside; the iPhone was a very tight squeeze to fit. This initially made me apprehensive. However, I began to realize that there would be no harm done to my iPhone and that the "tight" nature of the case meant that the iPhone 3G was not going to easily fall out.

The latch made me a little worrisome at first as well. You seem I am used to a Velcro closure on my current case. It closes, and it takes a little effort to open. This case has a simple button closure that stays closed by a magnet, built into the button. The two issues I have with the magnetic button are: A) the fact that it is magnetic means it is not as secure as the velcro that I am used to and B) when I close the outside flap, it has to match up exactly with the button on the case to close properly.

So, I have listed my initial concerns with this case. How does it fair after a few weeks of use?

Perfectly. For the most part.

The tightness I experienced with the iPhone 3G fitting into the case eventually gave way to a more "glove" fit. I liken my experience to that of blue jeans: at first, they might be tight, but they eventually "fit". This was a welcome relief. My other concern wasn't as clearly addressed over time. The button eventually homed in and clasped properly. However, I still have concerns whether it will stay closed if the case were to drop. The only consolation I have is that the iPhone is held very securely still, even after using it a while.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the belt clip works just fine... it clips on your belt. I wish there was more to say about that, but there isn't :-)


I like this case, and it has a high probability of replacing my current daily-driver once it completely breaks down. The only real markdown it has is that pesky magnet button. If Case-Mate would just make it Velcro... we would have a 5-star on our hands! This is a great option if you are looking for a hipster case, and honestly, the button may not bother you as much as it did me. It works, I just like Velcro better for my cases.

As typical with most of my reviews, this is another 4-star out of 5. Not perfect, but close. I am still searching for the perfect case!


  • Hard inner shell
  • Lightweight
  • Secure in case


  • Magnetic button closure is not as secure as I would like

TiPb Rating:



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Chad Garrett

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

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Reader comments

Review: Case-Mate The Hipster for iPhone 3G


Great review. This is exactly the type of case I am looking for BUT, I need a case that fits very loose so an iPhone with a hard plastic case (such as an Incase Slider) will fit. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the review. I use a case that is very similar to this one, but is leather without the hard plastic and you can purchase it with either the valcro or magnetic enclsure. The case is made by Marware. The magnetic enclosure can only be purchased from them directly or you can purchase a valcro version from them or from elsewhere. I got the magnetic version because I did not want the valcro noise all of the time. The magnets are hidden under the leather and I love it. They are strong enough to hold the case in if tip it up and try to shake the iPhone out.

LOL, marware doing some advertisement. Good english up until the last sentence, then "O, gotta make it look like an esl, noob. haha. I ordered mine 2 weeks ago. I ordered it from youlovethisdeal on ebay, and just emailed them cuz it's been two weeks since my order, and it still hasn't arrived, when it should have arrived in 5-7 days. :( Lawrence is very sad... I'll post my user feedback i guess later. Cheers!

@ Daniel. I think I like wearing it on my hip, cuz I don't have to have it in my pocket all the time. If you wear dress pants, it's a big annoyance imo. i'm cool with it in my jeans tho.

@LOL lawrence
I agree. I wear the hipster for work stuff, but slip it in my jeans in the evening and weekends.
@daniel & @ANA
Most hip cases "look" similar. I am a fan because they free up my pockets for other things during the work day. IMO, no case is really attractive since they inherently distract from the beauty of the device :-)

I will admit that I am a 'hipster' belt clip wearing iphone user. I hate too much stuff in my pockets. I used a case by Smartphone experts with my treo for 3 years and it held up great. So I looked for the same case for my iPhone the week that I got it. I cannot stand the velcro enclosures as I hate sitting in a meeting and wanting to check the time, email, twitter, etc. and having to subject the room to the 'Vriiip' sound of velcro. The case I have has a magnetic closure but not the 'snap' that is referred to by this one. Note, I do not work for SPE, I just like their case. So far its been about 6 months and this one is holding up well.

i was wearing the dlo leather case until it got bend ot of shape(great case tho)but this one looks softer!the only thing is i hate having my pone not protected when i pull it out, case i drop it before, thats why i use a rubber case

The magnetic closure is nice for extracting a phone in a meeting to determine if the caller ID warrants stepping into the hall to take the call. I've never had the phone fly out of the case... that's where the snugness comes in.

Finally got my case re-shipped, they sent me the wrong one. LOL. It's a nice case, aesthetic wise. slipping the phone in and out was job, not an easy task, imo. The plastic skeleton curves in at the top to form fit the iphone 3g. So it'll always be somewhat a snug fit. I found some sticky substance band after a while of pulling it in and out. It wears away. If I insert it with the standby button first, I almost always hit it, and sometimes, when I pull it out, it's requesting me to slide to turn off the phone. Worried about the battery issue. Just my $0.02. :) I'm still keeping it though. Aesthetically, I think it's the nicest holster case, and best solution if I don't want it in my pocket. :)

A nice design, but fit is too tight. It will probably not loosen-up because of plastic core. The power button on top, although it sticks up only a hair, hangs up on the case edge when the iPhone is inserted. A fatal flaw. Too bad.