Although emails about iPhone 5 cases are starting to fill our inboxes, there are still a lot of people who will be purchasing an iPhone 4 or 4S in the near future. After all, the iPhone 4 is free with a qualified plan, and the iPhone 4S has dropped to US$99. That's why well-designed and beautifully made iPhone 4 cases still capture my attention, and the T8 Storm ($60) is probably the best example of an innovative case that I've reviewed in the past few months.
The T8 Storm case is a perfect example of how a "wallet case" should be designed. Rather than being a bulky George Costanza wallet, the Storm features two thin slots into which you can pop an ID and a credit card or some cash. The slots access separate thin pockets that are lined with either red or light blue nylon material.
The case itself is made from black or tan vegetable-tanned Italian leather that is hand-dyed. The dyes used are environmentally friendly, and the company uses non-toxic water-based glues in manufacturing. The design is basically a leather shell that is open on the top, bottom and left side to allow unfettered access to ports and controls, and has the requisite opening for camera and flash.
At the top of the case is a color-matched loop for attaching a lanyard. T8 offers a nylon lanyard called the Zephyr ($15) that comes in red or blue leather with a tan or black logo. The Zephyr has a metal clasp to fit the lanyard loop, and the entire assembly can be comfortably hung around your neck for hands-free carrying of your iPhone.
For having your iPhone 4/4S at your fingertips at all times, the T8 Storm/Zephyr combo is perfect. While I was initially skeptical about having an iPhone dangling from my neck, I found it to be almost unnoticeable after a very short time, and the iPhone is always available for quick photos or taking phone calls.
That being said, I wonder why the designers didn't decide to put the lanyard loop on the bottom of the case. When it's hanging around your neck, flipping the phone up to look at the screen presents the screen upside-down. It's then an awkward move to get the iPhone display into a position for easy reading. The card and cash slots on the back of the case are in a perfect position for easy access to your ID and money.
One other concern about the lanyard idea is that of security. While an iPhone in a pocket or purse is essentially invisible to thieves, having the phone and credit cards dangling from a lanyard is an invitation to have the phone ripped off. Just a quick slash of the lanyard while holding the phone, and your iPhone and money are gone.
For anyone looking at a combination iPhone 4/4S case and wallet, be sure to take a look at the T8 Storm. It's definitely an attractively designed and nicely put-together case, and the Zephyr lanyard adds a new level of convenience to carrying an iPhone -- especially for those who don't always have pockets available.
- Extremely lightweight
- Holds iPhone 4/4S securely
- Classy-looking leather construction
- Red and blue contrast highlights are very attractive
- Lanyard loop should be on the bottom of the case for easy flip-up viewing of the iPhone display
- Lanyard could be an invitation for thieves
- Case is expensive compared to the many others on the market
Who is it for?
- iPhone 4/4S owners who want a case/wallet combo that is relatively unique