U-Suit Folio Premium
Requirements: iPhone 3G or 3GS
The U-Suit Folio Premium case is another of Uniea’s many entries in the iPhone case market. Compared to others, how does it stack up?
The bottom-hinged flip easily folds out of the way to play games or make calls.
Overall, the Folio is of a similar design to their U-Suit Premium that I reviewed last month. Both are black leather, with a Uniea logo on the back, and both are stylish and attractive. The biggest difference is the flip design, which requires you to flip open the case to answer a call or use the phone, but provides substantially better protection against direct impacts on the iPhone’s screen.
The camera and upper corners of the iPhone are largely unprotected.
This protection for the screen comes at the expense of protection for the corners of the phone. While the U-Suit Premium’s hard plastic shell covers the corners of the iPhone quite nicely, all four corners of the iPhone are exposed in the Folio case. In particular, the top corners and both sides of the phone are totally unprotected down to a point past the volume buttons. Insertion and removal of the iPhone from the case is substantially easier than with the U-Suit Premium, but most people I know don’t take their phone out of its case very often.
The iPhone in the U-Suit Folio looks classy, but protection along the sides and corners is inferior to that provided by many other cases.
All this is not to say that the Folio doesn’t have some nice features. It does. The soft, fake-fur lining is good at reducing the possibility of scratches to the iPhone, certainly more so than the hard plastic lining of the U-Suit Premium, and probably better than the thin foam-rubber lining in the Core Case. The flip clips closed with a soft latch that covers the SIM card door, and it’s easy to close the flip with a flick of the wrist. Opening it, however, requires a tricky one-handed maneuver or a second hand.
Here’s a closeup of the soft lining that covers the entire inside of the case.
The design of the flip itself bears attention, too. The hinge is at the bottom, astride the dock connector, rather than at the top. This means that when you’re talking on the phone, gravity helps to hold the flip out of your way rather than hitting you on the head, and it doesn’t interfere with the headphone jack (as the flip does on several iPod cases we’ve seen here). And, as I mentioned before, having the extra layer of protection for the iPhone’s screen is a clear benefit as well.
Here’s what the Folio looks like with no phone in it.
Putting that hinge at the bottom created one fairly significant problem, however. The hinge blocks the iPhone’s speaker to such a great extent that it’s sometimes difficult to hear sound output with even a moderate level of background noise. Removing the iPhone from the Folio case immediately resolves the problem. It looks like Uniea thought about this, since there are tiny holes cut in the hinge over the speaker and microphone ports, but unfortunately they don’t solve the problem adequately.
The hinge at the bottom is nice, but those holes don’t help much with the muting of the iPhone’s sound. Microphone pickup seems to be relatively unaffected.
If Uniea could somehow combine the best features of the U-Suit Premium and the Folio, they’d have a really great product on their hands. They haven’t, however, and the problems with the Folio, on balance, outweigh its advantages. Unless you just really have to have a flip-style case for some reason, the original U-Suit seems like a better option.
Again, protection for the top of the phone could be better.