Gear4 BookCase for iPhone 5/5s

What we think

A really nice case that will protect your iPhone pretty well, the Gear4 BookCase looks good and feels good, but has a little issue or two which stop it short of being perfect.

    Pros

  • Looks good
  • Very protective
  • Card slot
  • Nice texture

    Cons

  • Seemingly backwards clasp
  • Some versions are expensive
  • Quite thick

    Rating

  • Performance:4 out of 5 stars
  • Features:4 out of 5 stars
  • Design: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Value:3.8 out of 5 stars
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Design

The BookCase from Gear4 for the iPhone 5 and 5s is a good looking case. The main bulk is black, with orange edges and highlights, giving it a vibrant look.

A fairly strong magnetic clasp helps to keep the cover closed, and the inside has a small slot for a single credit card sized card. I had a bit of issue when putting cards into the slot, that it was too tight and a bit awkward to get them in. However, this could just be that the case is new and needs some breaking in. The slot is also a bit shallow, leaving more card than I’d want poking out.

The case is thickly padded, and that, with the cover, will add a bit of bulk to your pocket, but also ensures that the phone is fully protected. The cover fits perfectly onto the face of the case, fully covering the phone screen inside, and when it is clasped shut, it will stay securely in place, even while being dropped.

From the shape of the case, with the cover and the card slot, it is possible to prop your phone up on the side, in a landscape orientation so you can watch videos hands-free.

Overall, it is a very nice looking case, with a slightly strange (in a good way) texture on the cover.
As the BookCase is available for several phones, the design can differ slightly. Most notably, the number of slots on the inside of the cover for cards changes, and you may get more slots if are after, for example, the BookCase for the S6 Edge.

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Functionality

Looking good is ok, but if you are going to invest in a more expensive case, you want it to offer enough protection.

The case makes use of a material called D30, which remains flexible until it suffers a strong knock. The Gear4 website claims then that “D3O® materials in their raw state flow freely when moved slowly, but on shock, lock together to absorb and disperse energy, before instantly returning to their flexible state.” This helps to protect the phone more, when the damage should be greater.

The ports of the phone are set back when it is inside the case, offering them a modicum of protection, without making them inaccessible. Similarly, the lock and the volume buttons are covered, but are still accessible. You can’t access the mute switch without flicking open the cover, however.

Which brings me onto my only major issue with the BookCase. The clasp is part of the cover and connects to the underside of the phone (via a magnet). This is counterintuitive when it comes to opening it, as you somehow have to get a finger under the phone, which isn’t very easy to do one handed. This is just a very little issue, but it is an annoyance which quickly became apparent, and continued to bug me.

However, I’m fairly sure that this is designed to make sure the magnets don’t ruin any magnetic strips on the cards that it holds. I’ve had a few bank cards ruined over the years by phone case magnets, and there seems to be very little risk of this happening with the BookCase… but the clasp still annoys me.

Value

The BookCase is available from several sellers, for several prices, so make sure you shop around if looking to buy. In general, you can expect to pay between £20 and £30, depending on which model of phone you are buying for.

Verdict

Gear4’s BookCase is a good case. It is probably a bit expensive for what you get, but does offer a lot of protection. It is flexible and good looking, although it may take up a bit more room in your pocket than you’re used to.

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