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November 18, 2011 • Events, Reviews

Yoobao Leather Flip Case for iPhone 4/4S Review

There are plenty of plastic, silicon, and even aluminum cases for your new iPhone 4S. But what about when it’s time for your phone to get a bit fancy? Or you want something more professional? That’s why we’ll be taking a look at the Yoobao Leather Flip case for the iPhone 4/4S. It’s a step up from a plastic snap-on case, but is it functional AND beautiful?

Opinions vary on flip cases, but generally speaking I am a fan. There’s always situations where you want the screen covered, and a solid flip case is an easy way to offer protection without fumbling with a snap-on cover or encasing your phone in a brick-like case. The Yoobao definitely fits on that front, with a nice stiff cover that doesn’t add much bulk.

The inside is lined with a soft material (I can’t tell if it’s suede or just  a really soft fabric) which I like, as it gives some cushion and protection rather than having seams or a rough cover near the screen. I don’t love that the screen cover flaps downwards, since it feels awkward and dangles funny, but it does leave the back camera hole open and unblocked. More on that later though.

The cradle portion that holds the iPhone is a mix of plastic and the same soft material as the flap. Each of the corners are covered, and the iPhone fits perfectly in the case. The power button, volume keys, dock and headphone jack are all easily accessible while the case is open. Closed, the flap comes up from the bottom and blocks the dock connector. Everything is constructed well, and the flap secures nicely on top of the iPhone using friction. It won’t budge on its own, but it’s not difficult to flip open when you need access to the screen. One nice feature: with the flap folded flat on the back, the edge that clips onto the iPhone to secure it raises the whole package just slightly. It’s not equivalent to a stand, but it does make it very comfortable to use the iPhone on a flat surface and check your email slightly more ergonomically.

As I said, this case is leather and plastic. It smells sort of like a new car with leather seats; not a rich leather smell, but certainly distinct. It’s also a white case, which, combined with my black iPhone, makes a sort of reversed Oreo look. The leather itself feels like quality, and I don’t see it discoloring easily, but the plastic material and suede-ish inside are more likely to be dirt magnets and possibly stain over time. Overall, though, the case looks and feels nice, especially right out of the box.

However, I said we’d come back to the camera hole. This case has a glaring flaw (no pun intended). White case+small camera cutout=terrible flash performance. In a poorly lit room pictures using the flash are completely whited out, as you can see from the samples below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dog, no flash, no case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog, no flash, in the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog, flash, no case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog, flash, case.

 

As you can see, the case renders the camera, one of the iPhone 4s’ best features, completely useless. Personally, no matter how nice the case is, not being able to use the camera is a real deal breaker for me. Is it one for you? It depends. If you’re looking to take your iPhone someplace where you want it to look nice, and you’re not going to need the camera, the Yoobao Leather Flip is a great case. It’s well constructed, and no one’s going to think you borrowed your case from a kid. It looks like a professional, adult case. Unfortunately, if you rely at all on the camera, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Hopefully the next version widens the camera cutout and solves this issue.

The Yoobao leather case is $49.99 ($29.95 on Xengadget) and is available in brown, black, and white.

What I liked: Well constructed; Fits the iPhone perfectly; Stylish design

What Needs Improvement: Camera cutout renders the flash on the camera completely useless.

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