Dan: I recently had the opportunity to review the monCarbone HoverCoat fiber Carbon case for the iPad, and I liked it a lot. I liked it so much in fact that I still use it daily, even when my iPad is in a case. I love the way it protects the back and sides of the iPad, feel more comfortable knowing that the iPad is easier to grip thanks to the texture of the material and appreciate the way it looks on my iPad.
Recently monCarbone sent two of their iPhone 4 HoverCoats to us to review. The cases are exactly the same, except for the finish of the black carbon fiber.
Judie: I received the Mystery Black case, and Dan received the Midnight Black. The basic difference between the two is that the Mystery finish is pure, naked carbon fiber, while the Midnight finish appears to have a clear shellac over the carbon fiber. Both are beautiful, but they each have a different effect.
This is the Mystery finish; you can feel the subtle carbon fiber texture when you rub the back with your fingers.
The Midnight version is smooth and glossy.
monCarbone presents exclusive handcrafted carbon fiber products. It’s tailor-made for its élite users to stand out in the crowd of boring plastic or leather accessories. monCarbone’s designers are experts at turning the dreams of engineering into reality as they help to invent advanced yet efficient products that suit the modern lifestyle.
* Elegant, rich minimalism ensures subtle statement while complimenting iPhone 4 beauty.
* Virtually weightless case only increases iPhone weight factor by 5.8%.
* Reinforced scratch resistant finish ensures product longevity.
* New design assists in prevention of antenna interference.
* New UV resistant feature prevents discoloration under sunlight.
* Aerospace material that provides sports car styling and the comforts of luxury.
* Intelligent design offers complete access to all of the iPhone 4 controls.
* Precision engineering provides high tensile strength and long-lasting durability more than the properties of steel.
Dan: Although right now you can get monCarbone’s carbon fiber protection in any color you want… so long as it is black, the shells will likely be released in other colors in the near future. Both “colors” of black offer a deep rich look. The HoverCoat protects, but it also offers a unique, intangible style to the evermore popular iPhone 4. While other options for protecting the delicate device begin to look increasingly similar, the HoverCoat makes people take a second, or a third, look.
Judie: What’s so lovely about this carbon fiber shell is that it is extremely thin, and yet it offers significant protection. My iPhone has been dropped (accidentally of course) from about 3′ onto the ground with no ill effects … other than the frantic beating of my heart as I waited to survey the damage!
Fit and Finish:
Dan: The iPad HoverCoat fits the iPad like a glove that was custom-fit to the specific hand it is protecting. The same holds true for the HoverCoat for iPhone 4. The fit is perfect. The case clicks around the iPhone with no gaps, looseness or give. It is as if the case were sprayed onto the device. That’s how perfect the fit is.
Dan: That perfect fit also means that getting the HoverCoat off the iPhone takes a bit of patience the first time. It doesn’t simply pull off the iPhone; I found that I had to carefully slip a fingernail between the case and the iPhone and gingerly pull the case off. Fortunately, thanks to the strength of the carbon fiber you don’t need to worry about breaking the case.
Judie: My case fits tightly, but evidently not as tightly as yours. I was able to remove it by grasping the iPhone at the top and bottom with one hand, while pulling the case off from the covered sides with my other hand.
Dan: Right, there is no loss in functionality… at all!
The same holds true for the top where the sleep/awake button and 3.5mm jack are exposed.
Someone who loves flashy “look at me everybody” cases is not going to like the HoverCoat.
Someone who wants a case that offers maximum protection and a “lay on the table” design is not going to like the HoverCoat.
Someone who wants a discount-priced iPhone case is not going to like the HoverCoat.
So who will like the HoverCoat? Who is the target audience for this unique iPhone 4 protection? The HoverCoat is for someone who want to add minimal weight and bulk to the iPhone, who wants some bump protection, but is more concerned with preventing scratches and is willing to pay. In other words the HoverCoat is for someone like Dan or me.
Dan: From the minute I pulled the HoverCoat out of its box and put it on the iPhone I was “in like” with it. I always tend toward the minimalistic cases that clip tightly around the iPhone 4 such as Case-Mate’s BarelyThere and Incipio’s Feather.
Here is the Incipio Feather next to the HoverCoat. Same look, same design choices… entirely different materials since the Feather is made from plastic while the HoverCoat is made from carbon fiber. As a result, has a far classier look and feel.
I LOVE the way the case feels in my hand. There is just enough texture to the HoverCoat to make it comfortable to hold AND add some grip to it.
Sadly I am back using the Incipio case. Why? I’ll get to that in a moment.
Judie: I started out with the monCarbone case on my iPhone, and from the moment it was installed I absolutely loved it! But then Kevin, my husband, saw it … and asked me where his was. Since I had a newly arrived case I could use to replace it with, I let Kev have mine, and he loves that case. He has absolutely no complaints about it … but one.
Dan: So why is the HoverCoat sitting in my closet while the Incipio case is back in use? One word — signal. When I put the HoverCoat on my iPad I do see a slight drop in the signal strength but it has never been an issue for me. That was not the case with the iPhone 4. When I put the HoverCoat on it I saw a major difference whenever I was in an area with somewhat questionable signal strength. It was bad enough that I ended up not being able to use it on a daily basis. I love it and have tried to go back to it a few times but AT&T and the iPhone are a bad enough combination on their own, and I can’t deal with adding yet another issue into the mix.
Judie: And oddly enough this has not been an issue for Kevin or me at all. We live in a non-3G area with somewhat iffy coverage at times, but Kev (and I) usually have four or five bars when either of our iPhones are in this case, and we have had zero call quality or data issues.
In fact, this evening I asked Kev to tell me how many bars he had in the case. His answer was four. So I asked him to remove the case, wait a moment, and then tell me how many bars he had. This time he had three. Surprised, I asked him to turn his iPhone off, turn it back on, and then tell me how many bars he had. Once again he had four bars. I asked him to put the case back on, wait a moment, and tell me one last time what he had. He had four bars. My conclusion is that at least in the Mystery version, the monCarbone case does not make any difference to signal strength or quality.
Kev’s only complaint about using the case is that he came to it from the Apple Bumper, and he misses having a grippy ring around the iPhone’s screen or bottom. The only issue he has had with the monCarbone HoverCoat is that it will quickly slide across any slick surface if given a push … or enough centrifugal force.
The monCarbone HoverCoat for iPhone 4 is available in either Midnight Black or Mystery Black and.
What We Like: Great fit and finish; adds a unique look and feel to the device; feels great in the hand
What Needs Improvement: Limited colors currently; killed Dan’s reception; there’s nothing grippy on it, so the case will slide across slick surfaces