Stanley Technician for iPhone 4/4s Review

Technology

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Stanley Technician iPhone 4/4s Case by Incipio
Manufacturer: Incipio
Platform: iPhone 4, iPhone 4s
Price: $39.99 Buy it Here

The Stanley Technician is a yellow and black semi-rigid case constructed from TPU and polycarbonate. Although branded by the famous tool manufacturer, the case is actually manufactured by Incipio. The Technician comes with a belt clip holster, a screen protector, and a cleaning cloth.

Installing the Stanley Technician is literally a snap. Although it is made out of two different materials, the case comes in one single piece. Simple snap the phone into the Technician and it is ready to go. The fit is actually very tight and will require quite a bit of force to pull the phone out of the case.

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I am a big fan of TPU. It is a semi-rigid material that provides a bit better drop resistance than traditional polycarbonate. Unlike most silicone or rubber used in iPhone cases, TPU does not stick to pockets or collects lint because the finish behaves more like plastic. Although the polycarbonate pieces on the case seem a little unnecessary, it gives the Technician a little extra rigidity and provides a nice textural and visual flair. One of the problems with the polycarbonate is that it is not as scratch resistant as the TPU used in the case. The bright colour seems to hide the scratches well though. Unfortunately, the iPhone 4/4s version only comes in black and Stanley yellow. So those looking for something a little less eye catching will have to look elsewhere.

The Stanley Technician is a very good size. It only adds roughly 6 millimeters to the thickness of the iPhone 4 and feels very comfortable in the hand. The yellow polycarbonate tends to be very slippery but there is enough TPU material on the sides of the case to get a good grip on the case.

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A very generous lip on the front case to keep the iPhone screen off gritty surfaces that can potentially scratch the screen.  The lip extends rather high compared to most cases, which makes sense as it is designed for construction work sites and other smartphone dangerous areas. I noticed that the lip does not play well with screen protectors. Curiously enough, this includes the screen protector bundled with the Technician. The lip of the case rests tightly against the phone and most screen protectors are a little larger than the uncovered area of the screen. Installing the case immediately causes screen protectors to bubble a little. In addition, the sides of the case is a little loose. Squeezing the sides of the case causes the lip to move inwards which causes more bubbles in the screen protector. I found only solution around this problem was to trim the screen protector in areas that had particular problems with bubbling.
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The Technician has several holes cut out for the camera, headphone jack, vibration switch, speaker, microphone, and 30-pin dock connector. The camera hole is generously sized and is surrounded with a black ring that prevents any glare or interference when the flash is used. The vibration switch is large enough to be compatible with all versions of the iPhone 4 and 4s. The 30-pin dock connector hole will work with most cables. However, the case is not dock compatible as the case is rather thick. The headphone jack cut out is generously sized. I consider the stock Shure se215 cable to be the thickest of my collection and it was unable to fit through the Technician’s hole. Interestingly enough, my next largest plug, the AKG Q701, was able fit with a little bit of room left. All but the largest of headphone plugs will have no problem fitting the Technician.

The buttons on the Stanley Technician are excellent. They are well pronounced and easy to use with a lightly gloved hand. The TPU add a little more resistance compared to the naked buttons or a silicone material but only require a reasonable amount of force. Only having problems with mild arthritis or similar conditions should have problems using the buttons.

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A clip on holster is included with the case. The holster is a little fussy for me. When the case is inserted with the screen facing inwards, the fit is a little loose. This is not a problem when the holster is seated vertically, but if the holster is twisted horizontally, than bending forward can easily cause the phone to come tumbling out of the holster. When the screen is facing outwards, the phone needs a bit of force to slide in and out, but stays securely in place. Considering the phone is designed for harsher conditions, designing a holster that requires the exposed portion of the phone to be facing outwards seems a little odd to me. All the promotional videos and pictures of the Stanley Technician shows the holsters being clipped vertically to the outside of the pants pocket. If this is supposed to be the correct method of carry, I have to wonder why it is possible to rotate the clip to the case can be positioned horizontally.

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The Stanley Technician is an excellent case. It has a few flaws and a couple of strange quirks. Its incompatibility with screen protectors is annoying. Unless the owner modifies the screen protector, it will incessantly bubble the screen protector and potentially cause the screen protector to off the screen completely from a rough removal from a pocket. The holster is designed strangely. It is perfectly usable when aligned vertically, but in a horizontal configuration, the phone must be inserted screen outwards for the phone to stay in the holster. When using the holster in the clipped horizontally to the belt, phone owners much decide if they would rather risk the phone falling out of the holster or expose the screen to scratches. On the other hand, the Stanley Technician is a well sized case that has a bit of drop protection from the TPU material. The installation is breeze. For $39.99, the case is starting to bump into the overpriced zone for a case of its materials and pack-ins.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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