Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 – Review


Problem #1- The iPhone 4 clearly needs a case in order to avoid the antenna issues and protect the now “shatter-able” back.

Problem #2- As a general rule I don’t love being dependent on a case that adds a lot of bulk and weight to the beautifully slim iPhone.

Solution To Problems #1 and #2- Case-mate’s Barely There case for the iPhone 4.

From Case-mate-

For those who prefer nothing to come between them and their iPhone 4, this case is for you. These cases are designed to protect the design of your iPhone 4, while allowing more of it to show.

The Case-mate Barely There Features-

an extremely slim profile

an impact resistant, flexible plastic shell

it covers the back and corners of the iPhone 4

an iPhone 4 screen protection kit included


My Take-

I love this kind of case. The low profile shell adds little weight, width or thickness to the iPhone while protecting the back and sides. The case allows full access to all of the controls, as well as the dock connector and headphone port. The design of the case leaves the top and bottom of the iPhone pretty much exposed although a bit of material on the corners should provide a tiny bit of bump protection.


Lets face it, the trade-off with a case like this is that you don’t add size or weight but you also don’t get a tremendous amount of drop protection. By its very nature the case lacks the padding other, thicker case provide. For that reason the Barely There is more about scratch protection with bit of bump/drop protection mixed in.

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

The Barely There certainly is a huge step up from carrying the iPhone in its out of the box naked state however and is, in my opinion, also a step up from Apple’s bumper since it is thinner AND protects the back of the iPhone. If you need more protection though you might give the company’s upcoming Tough Case.

I love the way the iPhone feels in your hand when the Barely There is on and I appreciate the fact that Case-mate includes a screen protector with the case. That’s a nice extra that I wish every company would include.

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

If I have one issue with the Barely There it is that the company chose to include a cut-out for the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone. My experience with cases that include a cut-out like this has not been great since it allows the silver Apple logo to get scratched. I understand the choice since many like having that apple displayed but since I am using a case to help prevent scratches I want to prevent ALL scratches and that includes the logo.

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

Barely There top/Apple Bumper bottom

One other thing I would personally like to see is the inclusion of volume buttons the way Apple has with their Bumpers. I love the fact that it keeps the same great looking volume buttons while totally covering and protecting them. I think the same design could look great on a case like this.

Here is a look at the various cutouts and buttons… I like the way it looks and fits much more than cutouts on the Apple-branded bumpers…

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 - Review

In all, however I love this case and am thrilled to be using it.

The Case-mate Barely There is available in a variety of colors and has an MSRP of $24.99. It is available directly from the Case-mate site.

What I Like-

Protects the sides and back of the iPhone with a minimum of added weight and bulk, kit includes screen protector

What Needs Improvement-

Case leaves the Apple logo exposed to scratches

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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.

8 Comments on "Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 – Review"

  1. Just wanted to note that the iFrogz Luxe Lean case is very similar to this case, but doesn’t have the cut-out for the logo. Same price, and can be found at Best Buy and AT&T stores.

  2. So the question for folks going for a thin form factor: CaseMate Barely There, or Element Vapor?

  3. Dan Cohen | July 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm |

    Doug, they are entirely different animals. One is thin, light plastic for under $40 and the other is machined metal with a starting price of $75+. the real question is Case-mate Barely There vs the iFrogz mentioned above vs the Incipio Feather.

  4. geardiary: Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 – Review $AAPL –

  5. Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 – Review

  6. Case-mate Barely There for iPhone 4 – Review

  7. Since this device is more of a scratch protector more than anything else, would it be better to look for an iPhone 4 Screen Protector [product plug removed] that can give total body protection to the iPhone?

  8. It is much more than mere scratch protection. No, it is not the case you want to be using if you drop your phone but it does offer a fair amount of protection.

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