One of a Kind Gear Diary Case-Mate Tough Do-It-Yourself Case for iPhone 4 Review


A number of weeks ago Case–Mate invited me to create one of their do-it-yourself Tough cases for the iPhone 4. I played around with their online DIY case creator program and had a great time doing so. Eventually I settled on creating a case that used our site’s colors and had the Gear Diary logo on the back. After all, we recently passed 10 million unique visitors. I figured this was a great way to mark the occasion!!

The next day I received notice that the case had shipped. I waited. And I waited. And I waited. The case didn’t come. About a week later I received notice that there had been a production issue with the customized cases and that there would be a delay. Why I received notice the case had shipped and then, days later, word that there would be a delay is beyond me. It didn’t make me all that happy.

What did make me happy? The fact that yesterday the case finally arrived!

Here is a quick overview of the case and a chance to win this specific, one-of-a-kind, Gear Diary branded, Case-Mate tough for iPhone 4 case.


The case comes in a typical case–mate packaging and the usual contents. Inside you’ll find the actual case which, it turns out, is in fact two cases in one, a screen protection system (always appreciated when purchasing a relatively expensive case for the iPhone) and a paper insert.


The first layer of protection that this case provides is a silicon skin.


It’s made from simple black material. And has cutouts for most of the buttons and ports but covers the volume switches and the sleep awake button.


The cutouts are precise and of the silicon material feels rather nice in the hand. This is not some flimsy material that will flop around within a few days of use. Rather, it is the type of silicon case one would expect from a company such as this.


The second layer of protection is the impact resistant ABS plastic.


This layer of protection clips around the internal silicone skin and, thanks to the design of both groups it tightly.


At both the top and bottom there is no ABS plastic.


Nevertheless, the silicon skin protects the iPhone’s top and bottom in a way many minimalist cases do not. (One of my criticisms of many of the minimalistic cases is that they do not protect the top and bottom of the phone in any way shape or form.)


The mute toggle is left open. Because there are two layers of protection over it now, however, it is a little more difficult to access then it would be were the iPhone naked. The volume buttons are covered by the silicone skin and the addition of the ABS plastic makes them harder to manipulate than ever. It isn’t a huge problem but it is something that anyone considering this case needs to know about in advance.


The hole for the camera lens and flash is ringed with an extra layer of black material that does a good job of keeping foreign objects away from the lens if the phone is placed on the table. It’s an excellent design feature since it offers more protection to the camera and flash that I’ve seen on any other case.

The company’s name is embossed in small letters toward the bottom of the case on the back.

But what makes this case special, unique, one-of-a-kind is…


The customization that puts the Gear Diary logo right on the case. Yes, this is the only case of its kind and it CAN BE YOURS!!

In all I like this case and the ability to create your own design a great deal. Since I tend to go for more minimalistic case this is not a case that I would personally use on a day-to-day basis but I could see using it if I were traveling or doing something during which more protection would be good. The case provides great protection, a nice look, and is well made. For someone who wants to layers of protection for their iPhone without a tremendous amount of added bulk this is a good option. For someone who wants a one-of-a-kind case that no one else is going to ever have this is a fantastic option.

MSRP: $39.99

What I Like: Good protection without a ton of bulk; all functions of the phone still accessible; can be used to create a unique case that is super-personal; amazing price for a one-of-a-kind design

What Needs Improvement: Mute switch a bit hard to access; site now shows 5-10 days for processing (delayed gratification stinks!)


How To Win This Case!!!!!

We are giving away this case Sunday night. To enter to win do the following-

1. Comment on two posts from the last week

2. in the comments below tell us which two posts you commented on

3. For more chances to win comment on two more posts and tell us which two you did in A SEPARATE comment below

The fine print–

1. This contest will be open until Sunday November 7th; the winner will be announced shortly after.

2. Shipping address must be in the USA

3. If you’re entering this giveaway using Facebook connect, you MUST have your Facebook page set to accept messages from non-friends so we can contact you through your page if you are the winner. If you are unsure how to set your privacy settings to allow this, feel free to contact us for assistance or read Facebook’s instructions.

4. The winner will be announced on the site and will have 24 hours to contact us. After 24 hours a new winner will be picked.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

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.

3 Comments on "One of a Kind Gear Diary Case-Mate Tough Do-It-Yourself Case for iPhone 4 Review"

  1. RT @GearDiarySite: iPhone Case Review and Giveaway- One of a Kind Gear Diary Case-Mate Tough Do-It-Yourself Case…

  2. RT @geardiarysite: iPhone Case Review and Giveaway- One of a Kind Gear Diary Case-Mate Tough Do-It-Yourself Case for

  3. I commented on the iPod touch 4G Candyshell Case Review by Larry and the iPhone 4 Review of the Primary Case by Larry as well. Thanks for the giveaway!

Comments are closed.