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Need/Want's Peel Case for the iPhone

by Michael Szul on tags: iphone, digital lifestyle
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The very first smartphone I ever owned was a second generation iPhone--after the AppStore opened to 3rd-party developers, and after they added 3G support. When moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 2009, the very first thing I noticed was that I only received cell service in my backyard. This was a time when AT&T had their fingers wrapped around iPhone sales as an exclusive.

When my wife's mother was rushed to the hospital (back in New Jersey), my wife rode back to the Garden State with my father--who was visiting at the time. I missed several calls with updates because of the poor AT&T service in this area. That weekend I switched to Verizon--not long after the Droid launch that started the first marketing push for Android phones.

I enjoyed the Droid. The widgets were pretty poor (I never liked the disjointed UI feel of those widgets), and there were too many force closes of apps, but it was a serviceable smartphone. Unfortunately, the Java on the phone, and the many, many updates, made the phone nearly unusable about a year later.

From the Droid, I switched to a Windows Phone, and it was the best decision I ever made for a smartphone. I loved my Windows Phone, and every version of the operating system brought better and better improvements. My last phone--a Nokia Lumia 928--was rock solid even after I accidentally threw it across the room (a different story).

Unfortunately, the Lumia started dying--most notably the speaker--and I was back in the market for a new phone. My wife wanted to get an iPhone, and I was waiting patiently for a new Windows flagship. Finally, I couldn't wait anymore, and I had to make a hard decision. Ultimately, I picked up the iPhone 6s, and did so specifically because iOS apps get updated a lot quicker, and with a lot more features than other OS apps. In particular, as a Twitter power user, the iOS Twitter app always gets the latest features, even before the web client.

So that was a really long winded introduction to bring on a product review, but it helps to put things into perspective. I rarely destroy my phones (except for one drop), and as a result, I rarely buy cases. Smartphone cases tend to be bulky, obnoxious, and overall useless. The iPhone 6s, however, is slim, smooth, and when I would pull it out of my jeans pocket, I felt like I could fling it across the room if it ever slipped. Also, from a one-handed usage perspective, the smoothness of the back of the phone really started to make me feel I was on borrowed time as I walked the 15-20 minutes from the parking lot to my job. It felt like any moment the phone would slip from my hand (yes, I'm one of those people who read their phone as they walk).

I needed an iPhone case, but which one should I choose? I needed one that added grip, but not bulk. I don't often drop my phones, and I have faith in manufacturers that they at least build something somewhat durable. I was familiar with the Peel case because the guys over at Need/Want also make Mod Notebooks, which I never go to meetings without. They advertise the case as being ultra thin, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

The case is a bit expensive. Standard iPhone cases run about $20.00, but you can get some lower end ones for less online. The Peel case along with shipping costs about $30.00, and when it arrives in the mail, it is so ultra thin that you realize you just paid twice as much for 1/2 to a 1/3 of the plastic in a normal case. You also sweat bullets as you put it on your phone--scared that you might break the plastic around the iPhone controls.

It only took a single day before I realized how happy I was with my investment. The Peel case adds almost zero bulk to the phone. It's barely noticeable, and the semi-transparent plastic lets the Apple logo come through on the back. It also offers just enough texture to give you a good grip, and the slightly raised lip around the camera lens offers added protection in that area. I haven't taken the case off, so I can't speak to the durability of removing and reapplying the case, but it did meet all the requirements I was looking for, and for that alone, I'm happy to pay a premium.