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Case Review: Case-mate DIY Tough Case Review
      #38924 - 10/24/10 07:59 PM

Case Review: Case-mate DIY Tough Case Review
Reviewed by Tong Zhang

There are quite a few iPhone 4 cases on the market that provide good protection for your smartphone, but few offer the level of personalization the Case-mate DYI Tough case does. The picture of your own on the back of your case doesn't make a great case however, the Case-mate DIY Tough also provides great protection to your iPhone 4 while keeping the phone completely functional in the case.


Unlike most iPhone 4 cases, the Case-mate DIY Tough case?s design starts with you. The case has a metal back that wraps around the side, and that?s your canvas for putting stock photos from Case-mate?s Gallery collection, or for the real personal touch, upload your own photos to be printed on the back of the case. The stock photos are very nice with a wide range of selections from comic style graphics, to modern art images, all very bright and eye-catching. There is even the Lance Armstrong Living Strong design. So if you just want something that stands out from the crowd of single color cases, these designs will help you achieve that goal.

But for the DIY folks, using someone else?s design is no fun. Another option for creating the DIY Tough case is to upload your own pictures. You can create your own graphics, or use your own painting or drawing if you are an artsy person. But my guess is that for majority of the DIY users, this option gives them a chance to put photos of their kids, family, or pets on the back of the case. Who needs a wallet photo when you can put the picture on your phone case?

From the stock graphics:


Putting a stock photo on the back of the Case-mate DIY Tough case is very simple: select the graphics and the quantity, and you are ready to check out. Using your own graphics takes a couple more easy steps: upload a picture of your choice, check out how it looks on the case, and then you can order the quantity. Make sure that you have a picture that?s a close-up shot. Also make sure the picture has the correct orientation ? use the camera cut-out to orient your picture.

Since the picture can wrap around the sides, feel free to be creative and use the sides as the extension of the picture on the back. Also make sure that your picture has good contrast for it to stand out on the back of the case. Dark pictures might not show very well.

Case Functions

The Case-mate DIY Tough has two layers and comes with a screen protector. The inner layer is a soft rubber that covers the back and wraps around all sides including top and bottom. It has cut-outs for the audio jack, the mute slider, the sync port, the speakers and the camera and flash, but covers the power button and volume buttons. You can use these covered buttons through the soft rubber easily.

Cut-outs on the top and bottom:

The back cover with the graphics is a hard metal cover that feels sturdy and also has cut-outs for all ports and buttons. Unlike some hardback cases, the Case-mate DIY Tough?s back cover is very easy to get on and off. Slide your iPhone 4 with the button-side into the soft cover first, then push it into the hardcover. The soft rubber lining also makes it easy to slip on the hardback as it?s soft and slippery.

One more thing completes the protection of the iPhone 4, and that?s the clear screen protection. The Case-mate DIY Tough case comes with a screen protector and a cleaning cloth to help you put on the screen protector. The process is easy by just following the included instructions. The screen protector doesn?t leave any air pockets if you put it on your iPhone 4 properly, and protects the screen from scratches. Like many screen protectors, this one shows hand grease, dust and dirt more than the iPhone 4?s glass. But it?s easy to clean with a cleaning cloth.

One very important function that we really enjoy with the Case-mate DIY Tough case is that you don?t need to take it out of the case to sync and charge with most accessories like clock radios, charging stations, etc. from both Apple and 3rd party products. We tried the case with several iHome and iLuv iPhone accessories, all worked while the iPhone 4 stayed in its case.


An iPhone 4 case doesn?t get more personal than this. If you are looking for a case that expresses who you are and whom you love, the Case-mate DIY Tough is a great case to do that with. It?s also a great way to advertise your company or a message as you can put logos and other graphics on it. It provides great protection with its two-layer design and a screen protector. And it allows all functions while the iPhone 4 stays in the case, and it doesn?t add much bulk either.

Pro: An awesome way to get your personal or business graphics on the phone you carry with you all the time. Good protection, functional.

Con: The screen protector shows a lot more grease and dirt.

Price: $39.99
Web site:


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MTR News

Edited by Jacob_Spindel (10/25/10 12:03 AM)

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