The silver case I tested felt solid yet lightweight, and the details—such as the brand name carved into the knuckle portion—were neatly executed. The case itself is a bumper with a knuckle duster on the end; all ports remain easily accessible via cutouts, but notably the frame isn't raised, so your phone will be in direct contact with any surface you set it down on.
A strip of spongy foam helps you ease the phone in and out of the case. Inserting the handset and removing it by pushing from the rear are both simple enough, and the phone seems set solidly in place. As I mentioned earlier, shaking the phone didn't dislodge it, although it did slip some.
The Knucklecase feels like a top-quality product. It also has a top-quality price. While the iPhone 4 versions are currently on sale ($40), the 5 and 5s models will set you back at least a bill ($99 to $125). The iPhone 4 case comes in Classic Silver, Ballistic Black, Warm Gold, Hot Pink, and Green Camo. The 5s model comes in silver, black, gold, and Moonshine. A 5c version is in development.
Pepper spray: SmartGuard
A practical option, the SmartGuard is a simple case with a quick-release canister of pepper spray attached neatly to the side. No muss, no fuss: Just pop the patented canister from the case, aim at the attacker, and get away.
The coaxial nozzle delivers the spray along a center line in 6.5-second bursts. It has a range of 5 feet, and contains 10 percent Oleoresin Capsicum, which causes irritation to the eyes, respiratory system, and skin. If you find yourself in an unsavory situation, simply detach the pepper spray.
The canister pops neatly in and out of the case, and an integrated safety tab prevents it from discharging accidentally (which might make you feel better about holding it up to your face). Although I will say that the "safety tab" is essentially just one more piece of plastic on a plastic case, I never felt as though I was in danger of the spray setting off.
I must also note, however, that the canister popped in and out almost too easily. That sounds like a silly complaint, but here's my reasoning: After using and testing the case for a little over a week, I had popped the canister in and out a good number of times. Toward the end, I occasionally worried that the canister might come loose in my purse, as it was so easy to pull out from the case.
It didn't, but I wouldn't have minded a sturdier locking mechanism. The case itself, too, could stand a little beefing up. The case consists of two parts: the back, which houses the pepper spray and features cutouts for all ports, and the front, which is a thin frame that snaps into place and secures the phone to the back piece. I wouldn't have objected to a bit more padding or rubber, although the canister-holster part of the case ensured that my phone remained raised above surfaces.
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