“ Manufacturer: Tech21 / Recommended Use: For iPhone / Type: Protective Sleeve „
You know that a phone has been a success when the list of extras far outweighs the different models. From the 2G, 3G, 3GS and the soon to be released iPhone 4, it's safe to say that these phones have been a roaring success universally and have taken over the market from an unsuspecting Blackberry. I'm not going to sugar coat it, iPhones are extremely expensive regardless of what model you opt for and it's likely that you'll become very wary about taking it anywhere through fear of damaging it.
But, what if there was a case so robust that even the armed forces were depending on it?
If you've been watching Dragon's Den recently you may remember a chap entering with a revolutionary material known as D30. This 'D30' is a brand new shockproof material takes on a gel like consistency when in its placid state, however upon impact the particles will bond together to form a rock hard substance that will withhold a considerable amount of force. Undoubtedly there's a large market for this and the opportunities for what it can be used for are endless.
Welcome to the iBand...
The iBand utilises this D30 shock absorbent material, in an attempt to protect one of your prized possessions - your iPhone. The iBand, is just that, a band that fits snugly around your iPhone and protects it from any drops. The band, unlike other cases, doesn't encapsulate the entire iPhone, or even the back and front for that matter. Think of those hippie headbands that were in fashion not so long ago, they covered only a fraction of your head, all the while keeping your hair in place, whilst managing to look stylish too. That's what the iBand does, it sits comfortable around only the edges, but somehow providing an all over protection for your phone.
So, how does it work?
Well, the iBand is of course thicker than your iPhone, therefore the edges sit a millimetre or so above the screen and above the back of the phone. Meaning that if the phone is dropped on the floor, the band will absorb all the shock and the iPhone will remain untouched. In a less important sense this also protects the iPhone from sitting on dusty surfaces or becoming scratched whilst in a motionless position.
Being thicker than the iPhone itself, it does add some considerable size to the phone, making it around half a centimetre thicker in each direction and adding a small bit of weight onto it. This is rather substantial compared with other iPhone cases, however, how many iPhone cases do you know that use material found in the army and extreme sports shops?
The iBand sports holes for the volume buttons, the USB slot/speakers and the on/off button meaning that nothing is out of reach whilst using the iBand. Previous models did not contain these holes, which I can imagine would be similar to inserting your phone into the rubberised inner tube of a bicycle wheel. Therefore make sure you know what you're buying and purchase the 2010 model, which is clearly stated on Amazon. Utilising some of the iPhones features whilst the iBand is in place is something that you'll need to familiarise yourself with - the top of the iPhone, where the hold button is situated is rather hard to reach at times and you'll need relatively small fingers to press it. The same happens when flicking the phone from silent to loud using the switch on the left. Switching from loud to silent is easy, however, switching back is where it gets difficult as you'll need to get your nail underneath it and between the rubber which can sometimes cause problems. Fortunately adjusting the volume is just as easy as it would be without the case. Charging the phone with the case in place is not a problem and the case does not cause the USB to elevate in ways that it shouldn't whilst in place. The speakers at the bottom are not sheltered by the case, meaning that you'll experience the normal level of sound when your phone rings or you receive a text. Inserting the headphones into the headphone jack is a piece of cake and although the case does come rather close to the camera lens, fortunately the camera is in no way obstructed by the case.
The Application Process...
Application is surprisingly easy, I was expecting the rubber to be extremely tight but it manages to bend and stretch enough for you to easily place it comfortably all around the phone. Removing the case, however is another story and something I found extremely difficult to do. You will have to somehow create some leverage between the case and the phone, enough for you to pull it off which isn't easy at all. On the positive side, this goes to show just how sturdy the case is and it's not one of those flimsy ones that comes flying off if you happen to drop the phone.
Get Your Rubber Out...
The rubber of the case, not only provides the maximum protection, but also gives you a better grip, whereas the shiny surface of the iPhone made it very easy to slip out of your hands and could result in the iPhone possibly becoming damaged. The only flaw with this design being that if the iPhone is dropped, other than in a parallel way to the floor/object then it's likely that scratches/cracks could occur. This, however, is rather unlikely and the majority of the time you'll find that it's the corners of the iPhone (or any phone for that matter) that take the most battering.
Get Your Plastic Out...
The iBand isn't the cheapest iPhone case currently on the market, however, after experimenting with several I have to say that the iBand is the best I've come across. It may take a few days for you get used to the way the phone looks with it on and with the increase in size, it may appear that your screen has shrunk about an inch to begin with, however, in comparison with no protection, resulting in a smashed iPhone this is a small price to pay. These cases are widely available in mobile phone retailers, but I recommended making the purchase from Amazon. There are several available (remember to opt for the 2010 model). This will set you back around £14.99 with a pound or two for delivery, but is well worth it.
iLove my iBand.