8 Cases That Do More Than Protect Your iPhone
If you just got your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the next step is getting a case to keep it safe. But why settle for a case that's just a case? Cases can charge your battery, serve as your wallet and more. Let's take a look at eight cases that will protect your iPhone 7—or give your iPhone 6 and 6s an upgrade—and more.
Modular cases that do it all
If you can't decide whether you want a battery case, a folio case or something completely different, a modular case may be the answer. These cases are typically basic, with a plain outer shell and attachments that let you customize the case to do anything you'd like. It's the ultimate in flexibility.
However, there's a downside: style. You usually won't have many color options with a modular case, and the accessories can make the cases bulky. They look as if you've stuck a big battery pack to the back of your sleek iPhone — basically exactly what you've done. Still, if you want options and you aren't bothered by the looks, a modular case is a good fit.
Mophie Hold Force
The Mophie Hold Force's modular system is very straightforward. The case has a magnetic back where the accessories attach. All you do is snap the accessories to the back. If you want to swap, just snap them off again. The downside to this case is the limited selection of accessories. There are only three available: a battery pack, a folio cover (which holds credit cards and acts as a kickstand) or a simple wallet.
The styling is straightforward. The case is slim and form-fitting, in solid colors (or clear) or with a contrasting stripe across the back. The wallet and folio add-ons add some bulk but manage to keep with the case's sleek styling, but the battery definitely increases the overall size, and you may find the cable awkward.
Available for: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
Otterbox UniVERSE Case
While the iPhone is designed to be sturdy, dropping it can still leave you with a smashed screen or dead phone. Otterbox has long produced cases with heavy-duty drop protection, and its UniVERSE system lets you swap in modular add-ons to extend your phone's functionality. The UniVERSE offers more accessories than the Mophie Hold Force. In addition to the standard wallet and battery, the UniVERSE also has Olloclip camera lenses, speakers, extra storage options and more.
Its high protection factor makes the Otterbox a bit bulkier than the Mophie, which may be a deal breaker if you want to keep the iPhone's slender profile. If you're concerned about style, you may find the lack of color options to be worse; the case is only offered in black and white (or white only for the iPhone 6 and 6s).
iPhone 6/6s/7 and 6/6s/7 Plus
Price: $49.95 for standard-size iPhone, $59.95 for iPhone Plus; accessory costs vary
Cases as wallet replacements
The most common wallet-style cases are folios that fold over your phone, typically covering both the front and back. The protection they offer is basic. While they'll protect the front and back of your phone from scuffs and scratches, you won't want to play any games of catch with your phone. Some folio cases include pockets for business cards, credit cards or your ID, and some fold into a kickstand, which can be handy.
In terms of style, folio cases often have a wallet-like appearance and are sometimes made of leather for a luxurious look.
Shieldon Wallet Case
The simple Shieldon Wallet Case consists of a plastic shell that holds your phone, protecting all the corners, attached to a leather folio that folds over the screen. The cover is held closed with either a magnet or a snap. The back can fold into a kickstand with multiple viewing angles — though only in a horizontal position — that makes it good for watching videos. Slots on the left side of the case can hold credit cards or cash.
This case offers basic styling and is available only in black or tan. Assuming one of those colors is what you want, it's a solid case for a reasonable price.
Price: $24.99 for iPhone 7 and 6/6s, $25.99 for iPhone 7 Plus and 6/6s Plus
If you're looking for a style upgrade from the Shieldon case, this leather folio from Burkley may be perfect. Instead of a leather folio attached to a plastic shell, the Burkley is an all-leather case that wraps snugly around your phone. While it's a nice look, the downside to this design is that the openings for ports on the phone are larger than in a plastic case, which can mean less protection. Just be careful not to drop your phone, and you'll be fine. Like the Shieldon, these Burkley cases include slots for credit cards and a kickstand.
The iPhone 7 and 6/6s cases are slightly different from one another. The iPhone 7 isn't a true folio design; the back over doesn't fold over the front of the phone, although it does fold back into a kickstand. The iPhone 6/6s case is more of a traditional folio, with a leather cover that folds over the screen and a snap closure.
Another advantage of this: color choices. The Burkley leather case for iPhone 7 comes in camel, coffee, burnished tan, turquoise and black. The iPhone 6/6s case has even more options, adding green, purple, yellow, cork brown, red and rustic brown to the mix.
Available for: iPhone 7 and iPhone 6/6s
Spigen Slim Armor Case
The unusual Spigen Silm Armor Case looks nothing like a wallet. Instead, it looks like an ordinary phone case, except it slides open to reveal space for two cards hidden in the back of the case. The end result? You can carry your phone with no need to worry about a bulky wallet. Unlike most folio cases, this case provides good protection, with air cushion technology to absorb the shock of drops and keep your iPhone safe.
The case looks much like any other iPhone case, but that generic look is exactly what makes it a great place to hide your ID or credit cards. It offers several color options, including gunmetal, gold, mint and white for the iPhone 6/6s and black, gunmetal and rose gold for the iPhone 7.
Available for: iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 7
Wristlet cases for a mini iPhone carryall
Yes, you could just buy a wristlet (or even a small purse) for carrying your phone, but a wristlet designed specifically for your phone is better at keeping it secure and safe. Many wristlet-style phone cases are similar to folio cases, with a cover that fits all the way around the phone and slots for credit cards and other wallet essentials.
Rebecca Minkoff Leather Folio Wristlet
As you might guess from the name, the Rebecca Minkoff Leather Folio Wristlet is basically a folio case with a magnetic closure and a wrist strap. It's a leather cover lined in soft microsuede that's easy on your phone's screen. The cover folds back into a kickstand, with two slots to hold credit cards. A wrist strap for easy carrying completes the case. The case features Rebecca Minkoff's signature good looks in black leather, though if you don't like the style, you don't have any options.
Like the style but want something that will also keep your phone juiced up? Rebecca Minkoff offers a similar wristlet that includes a battery to charge your phone. It's a bit bulkier but not too much to lug around, and you'll appreciate the extra phone time.
Available for: iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6/6s; charging wristlet available for iPhone 6/6s
Charging cases to keep you powered up
Running out of battery power is a complaint for nearly every phone owner, but you can banish the issue with the right case. The downside to charging battery cases is that they make your phone thicker and heavier, something you won't enjoy if you chose your iPhone for its slender profile. So do you want more battery power or a smaller phone?
Apple iPhone Smart Battery Case
You don't have to look far to find a good battery case: Apple’s iPhone Smart Battery Case snugly fits the iPhone 7 and 6/6s. The battery status shows on your phone's lock screen and in the notification center, so you always know exactly how much time you have left. The iPhone 7 case increases your talk time up to 26 hours, and the iPhone 6/6s case increases talk time up to 25 hours. Keeping both the phone and case charged is a snap. Just plug your Lightning cable into the case to charge both.
Trianium Atomic S Battery Case
Though this case isn't available for the iPhone 7, we like the Trianium Atomic S Battery Case’s sleek looks. Instead of adding a thick lump of battery to the back of your iPhone, this case maintains the iPhone's lines — though they're somewhat bigger lines. While the case doesn't have the nice integration of Apple's battery cases — don't expect battery info on your lock screen — it has a row of indicator lights to show the charge level, and battery life here is even better. This case boosts your phone up to 28 hours of talk time. Again, charging both case and phone is easy by plugging it in with a Lightning cable.
In terms of style, this case is nothing special, but you get a range of color options including white and blue, black and orange, solid black, rose gold, white and turquoise, and white and silver.
And compared to Apple's chargers, the price is right at about $30.
Available for: iPhone 6/6s
Screen protector to avoid scratches and scuffs
Screen protectors are an important part of keeping your phone safe. Putting a protector over your phone screen can help keep it free from scratches, which is especially important if you have a tendency to toss your phone loose into your purse or slip it into a pocket with your keys.
Maxboost iPhone screen protector
This extra-thin screen protector — it's only 0.2mm thick — is made of tempered glass, which offers the best possible protection for your phone screen. The protector only covers the flat part of the screen, not the iPhone's curved edges. That may seem like a disadvantage, but it actually helps the protector be compatible with more cases that tend to curve around the edges. Best of all, this protector resists fingerprints. Hooray!
Available for: iPhone 7 Plus and 6/6s Plus, iPhone 7 and 6/6s
[Image credit: Mophie, Otterbox, Shieldon, Burkley, Spigen, Rebecca Minkoff, Apple, Trianium, Maxboost]