Editor’s Note: About a year ago, I was in the market for a minimal leather iPhone case. At the time, I had a 3GS so I decided to go with one of Corter’s slim cases. Around that time, Jamie at Valentine Goods shot me an email and introduced me to his products. Now that I’ve picked up an iPhone 4S, I jumped at his offer. Many thanks to Jamie for sending me some units to review — a gloss black leather back, a limited stingray leather back, and one of their new iPad 2 leather backs.
I was interested in the Valentine Goods line because they’re simple, minimalistic and add very little weight and bulk to the phone. However, coming from a 3GS, I still wanted to add a little thickness to the phone to fit better in my hand. I opted for the gloss black and stingray because they add about 2.0mm thickness to the case, offering adequate scratch protection for the iPhone’s glass back. You can see here everything fits flushly and applies easily via a 3M adhesive back (it can be applied and reapplied). One disadvantage of having an interchangeable back is the possibility of accidentally peeling the back off if it catches the lip of your pocket or something.
The stingray back has this interesting ‘bubble’ type texture to it. It gives a unique tactile feel to it when holding the phone, potentially offering better grip than a bare backed phone. I personally prefer the smooth gloss black because that’s the type of leather grain feel I’m familiar with, but for people looking for something eye-catching and unique, it could work for you.
Overall, the Valentine Goods backs are a stylish way to customize your iPhone while adding some protection. Due to the limitations of being an adhesive backing, this product doesn’t offer ultimate protection for your phone. It can protect from scratches but look elsewhere for complete shock/impact resistance and waterproofing. Still, it works as a great middle ground between style and utility, and allows for further customization with the addition of a ‘bumper’ style case. I have found a winning combination by pairing the gloss black backing with an aluminum bumper-style case. This helps protect the edges of the case and because the bumper and backing sit flushly together, it mitigates the chance of accidental peeling.
Check out these pictures and some shots of the iPad 2 case here: flickr.