There's a line in a song that goes, "Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right"—and that goes double when your smartphone case has an extra edge. Like, say, a stun gun.
This...makes quite the impression. It isn't unique, either—iPhone cases have been weaponized in multiple ways, gaining everything from DIY studs to a pistol shape to pepper-spray add-ons. There's even an armored iPhone case that will stop .50 caliber bullets (which is probably realistic only if you're the Professional Russian).
Just for funsies, I spent some time with three standouts: the brass-knuckle-shaped Knucklecase, the SmartGuard pepper-spray case, and the Yellow Jacket stun-gun case.
I'm sure you have questions already. Don't worry—the legal aspects of each product are outlined below, as well as what they were like to use for a week, and whether they're worth their respective prices.
Brass knuckles: Knucklecase
The Knucklecase isn't so much a weapon as it is a tool—"the ultimate tool for securing phone to hand," goes the tagline. Popping this case on is essentially like adding a handle to your phone. Imagine for a moment how convenient that is: You can pick up your phone with a crooked finger. You can loop it to a variety of buckles and loops on backpacks and clothing.
You also never feel like your phone isn't firmly in your grasp. It's never in danger of slipping from your grip. I spent a few solid minutes shaking the encased phone, and although it began to slip a bit, shaking the phone out of the case would take a serious amount of force.
And that's the feeling that the Knucklecase really promises. Crafted by U.S.-based machinists, each case is assiduously forged from a solid block of aluminum (is that not a waste of aluminum somehow?) and feels sturdy enough to add some sting to a punch.
Not that such a thing is recommended, of course. Knucklecase's Terms of Service state that it is intended strictly for use as a handle, and that any other use forfeits any implied warranty for the product. You also agree, by purchasing the case, to "hold the company harmless for any misuse of the product, which results in damage."
Those statements don't mean that such misuse hasn't already occurred in high-profile fashion. Jenna Jameson allegedly used the product in an altercation in Newport Beach, California—but hey, with starlets from Rihanna to Megan Fox to Cameron Diaz toting the Knucklecase, it was only a matter of time before someone used some bad judgment. Also worth noting: While the TSA reportedly no longer confiscates Knucklecases, the company recommends putting it in your checked luggage when you fly. If you travel frequently, this precautionary step may become a bother.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.