A review by James Ormiston (@macjim)
Initially I had no intention of buying a new iPhone as the prices were exorbitant compared to the cost of my iPhone 7 Plus. That had been an expensive purchase, but it was made easier at the time by taking advantage of the Apple finance deal paying it off over twenty months, but with these new iPhones costing well over a grand, I decided to hold off renewing.
It was obvious to me that Apple had overstretched themselves on the pricing of the new iPhones, the X, XS and XS Max, had crossed into territory that made it impossible for many to reach into, losing Apple customers… but wait, along came a ‘short term’ deal from Apple that made it possible to buy a new iPhone and downsize from the really too big iPhone 7 Plus to the Xr for as ‘little’ as £499… at the time of writing, that deal was still available in the middle of March.
As my iPhone 7 Plus was valued at the maximum allowing me to take advantage of this deal, I jumped at the chance especially as the cost was reduced even further due to birthday and Xmas money, bringing the purchase of the phone under £300. Although this was a ‘cheap’ purchase to me, I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation as I had been with my iPhone 7 Plus, where I broke the screen within the first few months, costing me £145 to have it repaired at Apple.
So what to buy to protect this phone? First of all I bought AppleCare to ease the cost of new screens if I managed to break either of them.Then I began to search online for a case but this initially proved fruitless, but a wee wander into Glasgow proved worthwhile… Thank you Carphone Warehouse!
Gear4 Piccadilly Case
I found two cases that were ideal, the Gear4 Piccadilly case and the Gear4 Oxford Case (see later in this article). The Piccadilly case bought is the clear version with Black trim – why totally hide the Product Red bodywork? It has cutouts for the speakers, lightning port, sound switch, power switch, camera bulge, noise cancellation microphone and camera flash. While this sounds somewhat exposed, it proves not to be the as the edges are thick and protective, with a raised edge that protects the front screen too. Fit and finish is very high as it has proven to be stiff to put on and take off, I like to use this case when not at work, and use the Oxford case at work. The D30 strip inside of the case provides good insulation from shocks if the phone is dropped, and is rated to 10 feet drop protection. It is, I have to say, a little slippy due to the smooth finish of the case, and can slide off a glass surface easily as I have found out, but so far it has protected the iPhone well without it getting damaged. hopefully that remain the case. At around £30 it is not a cheap product but it’s worth the money if it does what it says on the box… How much do you value your iPhone?
Gear4 Oxford Case
After purchasing the new iPhone XR, I started to worry about using the phone while at work, as it was the kind of work that could prove unkind to this expensive device.
Even though I had taken out Apple’s AppleCare insurance cover to lessen the cost of replacing one or both of the glass panels (scree and back plate) I felt I needed a case that would survive a war saving the phone from serious damage. My case of choice was the Gear4 Oxford Case, an all-enclosing case with a built-in front cover. What could be described as a folio case.
Like other Gear4 cases, it is a rather chunky design that protects well due to the thick walls and D30 shock absorbing material fitted into the edges of the case. It’s claim is to protect the phone from a drop of 10 feet, something I do not wish to test (and hopefully will never have to either). The front cover, a flap that folds over and clips closed, does so without the need for magnets or pop fasteners and simply ‘hooks’ over a raised edge on the side of the case. This has proven to be very effective in use and has not come undone on its own in use.
Inside the flap are slots for a few credit cards and business cards. They are useful too, but I do worry that credit cards could mark the screen over time if they rub on the iPhones screen ( I have a screen protector fitted to my iPhone). The cover also acts as a stand for viewing videos and movies which should prove useful when travelling.
Like the Piccadilly above, it has cutouts for the silent switch, speakers and Lightning port, camera, noise cancelling microphone and the flash, and similar to that case the build of the Oxford is such that this isn’t a problem, the case sides being heavy enough to save the day, and when closed, the case fully encloses the phone. The finish is made from a textured plastic (a leather version is available at extra cost) which has proven to be hard wearing and easy to clean, but the fit is a little disappointing as the case is slightly loose at the sides of the iPhone. It’s not a major problem as it’s unlikely to fall out due to corners being a snug fit, but its worth noting all the same. It does have the advantage of making it easy to remove the iPhone when needed without a fight, unlike the Gear4 Piccadilly case.
What really is great about this case is the way it encompasses the iPhone when in use, keeping the worst of my job’s detritus out, saving the iPhone from damage. Well worth the cost at £35.
Both of these cases earn a “Highly Recommended” rating from me!
Editor’s Note: These are available on Amazon (please use our big red Amazon button) and also available for other models of iPhone