It’s almost unsettling how many choices you have when deciding what kind of iPhone case you’d like to buy.
Is it a wallet?
Or a steering wheel?
The BookBook fits into the wallet category.
It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, though of course it adds a bit of bulk to encompass a few cards, some cash, and your iPhone.
Lets talk about the look.
The spine and sides of it are designed to look like a worn, pocket-sized, tome.
You can alternate between being insulted that it is phony, or charmed and amused.
There isn’t any way to get around this, you either like that look or you don’t. It wasn’t until I saw the Book Book in person that I was convinced it was more than a goofy novelty.
There are cutouts for the sensors, speakers, mic, dock, sleep/wake, home button, headphone, and the mute switch, though the volume buttons do not get a cutout.
The BookBook is about as smooth as you’re going to get for removing a case and docking it. Pull a red tab on a strap from behind your phone to enable removal, and push the phone up and out. Simple and not frustrating.
Unfortunately this is also the process for taking pictures or video. Though you don’t have to slide the phone out all the way to do so, if you choose to keep the phone in the case the top edge and speaker cutout will block some of the screen. An unexpected upside is that it gives you something to grip that isn’t the screen when shooting, so I find that to be a little more stable. Of course you’re also now going to be slightly concerned with the phone tipping out when held horizontally in landscape mode.
The friction of the leather’s grain holds your phone in until you’ve tipped it at a fairly extreme angle. If you slide the phone out for picture-taking until the volume-down button is resting inside the cutout for the mute toggle switch it’ll feel fairly secure. Of course, this is on a day-old product, and I can’t say that this will remain the case (rdrr) after several months of use.
There is minimal screen protection when the case is open. Nothing to prevent an object from impacting with the screen, but the leather frame that holds the phone in should be enough for any drop that isn’t face down. I actually like that this case doesn’t include a screen protector, most of the plastic built-ins would lock dust and pocket lint in and make touch controls that much more difficult.
It is actually a little difficult to hold the phone and use it one-handed. You have to flip the front cover back over the rear and the springiness of this configuration changes the way you touch the screen and the distance from thumb to edge. It isn’t an issue for quick taps, or reading, only for swipes and more complicated thumbage. I don’t find it too impractical, but this is actually the limitation that is the most bothersome from day-to-day.
I chose to be amused by the faux-book style, and am surprised at how well this case functions. For about $60, you’re getting what is actually a quite good leather wallet and iPhone 4 case. If you’re bothered by the style initially, the functionality may win you over.