15:21 Cork iPhone Case review: Unique minimalism

This iPhone case from Swedish manufacturer 15:21 is an ultra-slim, lightweight, minimalist case made from recycled cork caps. It has a totally different look from your typical plastic, TPU, wood, or leather cases.

The Good

  • Ultra-slim
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Made from recycled cork caps
  • Flame-retardant
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Four-year warranty

The Bad

  • Not extremely protective
  • Expensive for a minimalist case

Barely there case

15:21 Cork iPhone Case: Features

15:21 Cork iPhone Case

The 15:21 Cork iPhone Case has a minimalist design. It's made in Sweden from recycled cork caps. Cork is scratch-resistant, flame-retardant, durable, and hypo-allergenic. The case carries a four-year warranty.

It will help prevent your iPhone from getting scratched and may be helpful in minor drops, but this is not the sort of case you'd want for protection from serious falls. It's very thin and the cutouts are quite large.

The top and the bottom are almost completely cut out. The bottom is cut out to allow access to the speakers and Lightning port. There's no particular reason for the top to be cut out, but I've seen this on other minimal cases as well. I think it's just to keep the case ultra-light, as well as make it easy to put on and take off the case. This is definitely an easy-on-easy-off case.

I like to imagine that my case came from a very expensive bottle of wine!

A generous cutout along one side frees up the volume buttons and mute switch. A cutout along the other side allows full access to the Sleep/Wake button. The camera cutout is more than large enough to stay out the camera's way. One thing to note: this case is so thin that the camera protrudes beyond the case. Some ultra-thin cases have a lip around the camera to protect it but this one does not.

Even with all the cutouts, the vulnerable corners are still well-protected and the edge of the case does come up very slightly over the screen. 15:21 is engraved on the back of the case. The inside of the case is engraved: "This case is made by natural cork and is designed in Stockholm." The natural cork color seen in my photos is the only color option available.

On Amazon, the case is available in three sizes: iPhone 6/7/8, iPhone X/XS, and iPhone XR. On the 15:21 website, there are more options, including the iPhone XS Max and non-Apple smartphones.

Fun, greener option

15:21 Cork iPhone Case: What I like

I like that this is made from recycled materials, and cork caps at that. I like to imagine that my case came from a very expensive bottle of wine! I always appreciate companies that try to do something different rather than just copying each other. I do like the extreme minimalism of this case, though I recognize that minimalism comes with a price: less protection.

15:21 Cork iPhone Case

Not very protective

15:21 Cork iPhone Case: What I don't like

Obviously, a case this thin, this light, and with this much of the bezel area cut out isn't going offer a ton of protection for your iPhone. It's always a trade-off between bulk and protection, and this is one of the lightest cases out there.

Cool case

15:21 Cork iPhone Case: Bottom line

If you're looking for a lightweight case that will protect your iPhone from scratches and extremely minor drops, 15:21 Cork iPhone Case is worth a look. It's made from recycled cork caps, so it's a greener option with an unusual look and feel.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.