Review: Case-Mate iPhone 3G / 3GS Barely There Clear Case – Review


I tend to be a bit of a minimalist when it comes to iPhone cases. I have tried a wide range of cases over the years including expensive leather cases, fancy cases that include a wallet, and everything in between. Time after time, however, I come back to the simplest, lightest and most low-profile cases I can find.

Last week Larry was kind enough to send me Case-Mate’s Barely There Clear Case. Larry had ordered one for himself, and when it did not arrive in the expected time frame, the company’s excellent customer service overnighted him a new one and let him keep the original one when it finally arrived.

This case is just about as “minimalist” as you’re going to find. So what I think about it? Let’s take a look at Larry’s YouTube video and some of my impressions.


From Case-Mate

The Barely There Clear is case-mate’s new transparent case for the iPhone 3G / 3GS. This case is designed to protect the design of the iPhone 3G / 3GS while allowing all of it to show. The Barely There Clear case lets the true beauty of the iPhone 3G / 3GS speak for itself.
Extremely slim profile
Impact resistant flexible plastic shell
Covers the back and corners of the iPhone 3G / 3GS
Full-Face Screen protection included


As is usually the case with Case-Mate iPhone cases this one ships with the case itself, a screen protector, a screen wipe, and an application card. (I am continually dumbfounded when companies sell cases but don’t bother to include a screen protector with them.)


The case itself is simple clear plastic. The company insignia is asked in the lower bottom portion of the back.


Seams are apparent on either side of the back panel at the point where it begins to taper to mimic the contour of the iPhone itself. As you will see in the video, this bugged Larry a bit. I don’t mind them.


The top and bottom of the case leave the iPhone exposed. This makes it easy to access the sleep button, headphone jack, Sim card and dock connector. At the same time it obviously doesn’t provide a great deal of protection to these parts of the iPhone.


The good news here is that on both the top and the bottom the case protects the corners and is raised just enough that the iPhone itself is recessed at the points of exposure.

The case simply snaps around the iPhone. It holds it securely. In fact it takes a little bit of work to get the iPhone out of the case once inside. Because it is as tight a fit as it is, and the case wraps around the iPhone in order to hold the device securely, there is some pressure put on the side bezel. As a result I would expect that the bezel will become a bit scratched over time if you take the case on and off quite often.

All that noted, I love this case. Here’s why — I don’t like permanent skins on my devices. I just don’t like the way they feel and while they give scratch protection they don’t give any protection from bumps and bruises whatsoever. At the same time, I don’t like large bulky cases that provide a tremendous amount of protection while losing the iPhone’s slim design. This case strikes the perfect balance for me. It doesn’t have any noticeable weight or size. It feels great in the hand — to the point where, quite frankly, I feel like it is — barely there. In other words, this is one product that has been aptly named.

Add to this a price point of under $20 and you have a case that I’m incredibly happy to be using. My thanks to the company for their great customer service and to Larry for sharing his extra with me.

iPhone 3G / 3GS Barely There Clear Case is available directly from Case-Mate for just $19.99.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.