Speck CandyShell Flip for iPhone 4S review

There are gimmicks and then there are features, and to be honest I don’t know which category the Speck CandyShell Flip falls into.

Its claim to fame is its easy-to-deploy “flip” stand which doubles as an easy slide-in entry for the iPhone itself. But let’s start from the basics. The Flip is made of a sturdy, bright and glossy plastic that looks more like a toy than it feels. In the hand the iPhone is sturdy and secure, though I far prefer the feeling of the CandyShell Grip.

The “flip” itself consists of a rubber hinge constructed out of what seems like a single piece of plastic, or as close to it as you’ll likely find. While it works well in theory, when the iPhone is installed the bottom portion is never entirely even with the top; there hinge always seems on the verge of coming loose.

This is essentially the compromise: in order to facilitate quick entry and exit, and a flexible stand, Speck had to make some decisions. Make the hinge too tight and you risk losing that multi-placement flexibility.

When leaning on its bottom half, the iPhone is in a perfect position for watching movies and browsing web pages. Except that portrait mode is not ideal for the former activity, and we can’t think of many situations in which you’d want to have the phone stationary for the latter.

More importantly, the Flip is designed to allow the phone to sit in most standard iPhone docks without having to remove the case. This is indeed an important advantage of its competitors, as most dock users will attest to. The inside of the Flip is made with a gentle ribbed silicone that absorbs most moderate shocks, while the outer portion is a firm and precisely-milled plastic.

It also cannot be stressed enough how nice the back of the Flip looks. While I could do without the garish blue bezel (the case is also available in white-and-pink and all-black) the overall design is quite attractive. Not only is the easy entry and exit a huge plus, but it prevents the occasional scratches that come with cases that require you to wedge your phone into one side or another.

All the ports are freely accessible: Speck has wisely chosen not to close off the charging and headphone ports, though there are rubber nubs that take over for the metal power and volume buttons. The bezel extends a couple millimetres over the front glass, preventing surface-level scratches when the phone is dropped on its face. In exchange the case feels somewhat bulky, though not quite to the same extent as the Otterbox Commuter.

The Speck CandyShell Flip is available for $34.95 from the company’s website. It is also fully compatible with the iPhone 4.