I first reported on the iChair line of products in my live coverage of CES 2011. CES was awash with Apple cases and accessories. What caught my eye with the iChair was the functionality of the built-in stand. What kept my attention was the quality of the case, thoughtfulness of design and value of the total package. It is a two piece slider case with a flip out stand that allows for a landscape or portrait orientation and has a distinctive feel.
The iChair is a brand new company and the cases are their first forays into the Apple accessory market. They stress their mission of providing simple, functional, yet sturdy and protective cases, and I am impressed.
Read on for my full review.
The box contains the lower part of the case in black, and two upper sections, one in black and the other in white, to offer some variation. A screen protector, microfiber cloth and squeegee are provided for application.
The Build and Protection
The exterior of the case is made of polycarbonate with a rubbery look but velevety feel. The case still offers a good grip, does not grab when being removed from a pocket. I was concerned that it would easily scratch or mar. With a bit of trepidation, I ran my fingernail across the back, expecting the worst. The case showed no signs of rubbing or scratching. The interior of the case is TPU, which results in additional protection as well as a slick microfiber surface for easy installation. Scratching is not an issue as with other slider cases. The combination of polycarbonate and TPU combines for a sturdy case which protects against bumps and drops. They are the same materials used by more well-known case makers Switcheasy and Otterbox.
Something the manufacturer doesn’t tout, but I certainly appreciate is the edge of the case that wraps over the beveled edge of the phone. Not only does it protect the thin area where the screen meets the back of the phone, this design feature allows the case to easily slide over my screen protector of choice, the InvisibleShield by Zagg. There was no grabbing or rippling, and even protects the edge of the IS from lifting up.
The stand is a flip out stand that is flush with the case when closed, which prevents the stand from getting caught inside a pocket or on other items. As a result of the simple hinge, the stand swings out and locks into a single position. The phone can be rotated on the stand for portrait or landscape viewing and is set at a comfortable viewing angle in either position. It would be perfect for Facetime usage.
The case retails for $34 USD with free shipping in the continental US. A similar case by Zero Chroma (Teatro) retails for $44.95, not including shipping, interchangable backs, or a screen protector. It may not have the pack-ins of extras-champ Switcheasy, but it still represents a solid value.
The case is deceptively slim and lightweight given the level of protection. The quality of the build of the case and simplicity of design make this case an excellent choice, even without the integrated stand. Combining these attributes with the usefulness of the dual-function stand make the iChair an impressive first product by this start-up company.