Saturday, July 28, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: Case-Mate Vibe for iPhone

Photo credit:,

About a month ago my quest for a new iPhone case brought me to the new Case-Mate Vibe. I had read about it online somewhere and it looked interesting bec the silicone part has some kind of curvature to allow the speaker output to amplify itself.  It bends the sound, if you will, so that it's louder.  I thought it might be cool to try out bec maybe Ill be able to hear the ringing better when it's inside the abyss of my bag.

The case arrived fairly quickly from Case-Mate though their online tracking system completely sucks. I got my shipping notice after I had the thing.

When I opened it, I knew immediately it would be going back.  Side by side with the Speck the quality was nowhere near the what I expect from a brand with such a name, and it just looked cheap, which was sad. I did like that the inside of the hard case had some kind of a thin rubbery layer to help cushion it if it falls, but nothing like what's inside the Speck.  I feel like I am always on a quest for a less "boring" version of the Speck, with pattern on it or something. I need to go back to trying to paper-mache my Speck I think. In the photo below, the Speck is on top, you can see the patterned rubbery padding inside the Speck that covers the entire inside and is pretty thick, probably 2mm. The one on the Case-Mate was at best, 1/2-1mm and didn't cover the entire inside back.

The printing quality of the design on the case was poor at best, not even and very splotchy.

Besides that, the hard outer case was warped. You can sort of see it in that photo above, but here's another shot.

I have no idea what that is all about, but at the top it was fine...that was just the area around the charging port.

Aside from even those flaws, it looked used. The hard case was totally scratched up, and it was just generally not looking totally new. I felt like I got someone else's case, or someone else had used it for two days then returned it after they saw how beat up it got.  Not the greatest pic to illustrate that effect, but that's how it came out of the packing!

When I got it on my phone, the rubbery silicone part of the case (which goes on first) just did not sit flat, and I could see this collecting all kinds of gunk under there. It worked ok with my screen protector, but not fantastically well, and I saw that also becoming an issue in the future.  But when you got the hard case part on, it was near impossible to get back off. I swore I was going to break the phone trying to get the hard case off the phone. I think after about 10 minutes of tinkering, I was able to separate it.  While one really should put the thing on and leave it alone, if I needed to exchange my phone at Apple or pop the SIM card out..that would be a nightmare and a half.  

Either way, considering this case was $45, yes FORTY FIVE DOLLARS, it was going to go back immediately if it wasn't perfect, which it did. This case is worth, at most, $15. And that's generous. I was livid when I got it and saw the crappy quality of workmanship that went into it.  They were significantly cheaper at the AT&T store, though they only have a giraffe print version and a white with two giraffes on it option, very Herm├ęs to me. The one I tried on at the store was the giraffe print, and if it had a black silicone vs an orange, I probably would get that one, bec the one in the store was far nicer than the one I got from the company directly.

These are available on

EDITED to answer question in comments:

As far as sound quality:  I would not say this case had any improvement on the actual sound quality at all.  It amplified it a little bit, not a significant amount, but didn't make anything sound any better than before. In order to really get a difference from it you would have to have the phone facing upright. Otherwise it didn't seem to do much of anything for you. I didn't test it a lot to give a serious amount of data on this, just enough to see if it was discernibly louder from inside my purse. And for that...not really. I called from the back of my office with it on and without it, and it didn't sound any louder with it on than before, even with the phone facing upright in my bag.


  1. was the sound quality good though?

  2. Thanks for the review. You saved me $40.



What do you think?