Do you need an iPhone case to protect your iPhone 4 and prevent iPhone antenna problems?
Here are six of the best iPhone 4 cases worth checking out, followed by five of the best iPhone 4 battery cases.
Proporta Silicone iPhone 4 Reception Case SteriTouch - £20
An iPhone case designed to rectify the iPhone 4's much-discussed antenna issues, Proporta's Silicone iPhone 4 Reception Case also features an anti-microbial coating to protect against germs and bacteria.
Its lightweight but tough design adds very little bulk, and unlike Apple's Bumper, it protects the back as well as the sides of your iPhone 4.
The matte black finish is complemented perfectly by mint green detailing, and as opposed to some shinier skins, it doesn't pick up fingerprints. The Proporta case carries a lifetime warranty, too.
Pipetto iPhone 4 Pouch Case - £25
These tight leather iPhone cases from Pipetto just ooze style. It's available in Rocker Black with a black lining or red-lined Vintage Black, and a pull cord at the rear of the case slides out your iPhone 4 ready for use.
The black leather exterior is naturally waterproof, and the microsuede lining helps keep your iPhone free of dust and smears.
The cases are heat-moulded into shape, and are tough enough to protect your iPhone 4 from bangs and drops. Its tight fit means this case won't monopolise space in your pocket or handbag, either.
Apple Bumper - £26
Available in blue, orange, pink and green, as well as black and white, Apple's iPhone Bumper fits around the edge of the iPhone 4, but doesn't cover its screen or back.
The Bumper has a cut-out for the dock connector, and there are two side-mounted metal buttons to control volume. Best of all, it puts a barrier between your hand and the antenna, alleviating the problem where holding the phone in a certain way caused an apparent loss of signal.
Cygnett Lavish - £20
A gorgeous combination of style and function, the Lavish from Australian company Cygnett certainly lives up to its name.
The case is made from ultra-soft lambskin leather. The fold-over cover is held closed with a magnetic clasp, and there's a pocket for credit cards. It's sturdily built, gives you access to the dock connector, control buttons and the camera, and feels great to the touch.
It even comes with a cleaning cloth and screen protector. This range of cases is available in black, brown, turquoise or perforated finishes.
DSStyles Perforated Series - £4-£5
Available in a similar range of colours to Apple's Bumper, DSStyles' Perforated Series of iPhone 4 cases snugly cover the back and sides of your device, allowing access to the dock connector and volume controls.
Although they're sturdier than many iPhone cases, they're flexible enough to prevent the case seeming brittle. It feels good in your hand too, with the perforations giving you plenty of grip.
Like Apple's Bumpers, these cases also improve the iPhone 4's antenna performance, helping to prevent signal loss when you hold it.
WaterField Designs Smart Case - £25
If you like the slide-in style of iPhone case, WaterField Designs' Smart Case is an excellent option.
Available in six colours - black, copper, flame, green, pearl and pine - and finished with a distressed leather trim, it's made with no visible stitching to spoil its looks.
The inside of the case is made from protective Ultrasuede, and cleans the iPhone as you slide it in and out. It comes in two sizes - one to fit the unadorned iPhone 4, and a larger one to carry a phone with an Apple Bumper fitted. The good news is that both sizes cost the same.
Best iPhone 4 battery case
Like a good friend, your iPhone is there for you when you need it. Arrived in a new city and lost? Maps to the rescue! Want to find the time of your next train home? No problem. But unlike your best mate, the iPhone has a tendency to conk out at the worst moment if you've forgotten to charge its battery.
The solution is a battery pack. These come in all shapes, sizes, colours and prices. We've gone for the case-style power pack, because we feel they're the most convenient, portable and robust you can get. Since they're designed to fit snugly, they're phone-specific, so make sure you get the right model for your iPhone.
To help you choose, we've selected five iPhone 4 battery cases and put them through their paces. Our results give a good indication of the relative performance of each case. We measured how much charge each pack could push into a dead iPhone, then timed how long it took to charge the pack and the phone fully - useful to know if you're off somewhere and want to go out with as much charge as possible.
Finally, we left the guided tour of Unreal's Epic Citadel running, which really mashes away at the processor and hence battery - a true acid test. Let's see how they fared.
The iPhone 4 battery cases we tested
Dexim Supercharged Leather Power Case - £60
Mophie Juice Pack Air - iPhone 4 - £70
Mili Power Spring 4 - £47
Exogear Exolife - £60
Logic3 PowerSleeve for iPhone 4 - £30
Test 1 - Battery power
We plugged the full battery pack into a dead iPhone and left it to charge with the phone on, but the display off. The battery percentage reading was taken from the iPhone as soon as the battery case was empty. The high-capacity Dexim came out top; the Exogear was surprisingly low.
Test 2 - Battery charge time
We plugged a dead battery and dead iPhone into a 500mA USB port on our Mac and timed how long it took for both to charge fully. Don't hold your breath, because it ain't quick. The Mophie did well but the Logic3 was fastest. It's not the whole story though - look at test three.
Test 3 - Extra power
With the pack and iPhone charged, we left the guided tour of Unreal's Epic Citadel running with sound muted, and timed how much extra time we got with the battery compared to the iPhone on its own. This is where the differences really showed up.
Test 4 - Design and Features
We like Dexim's flip-case design for the screen protection it offers, though it's the bulkiest of the ones on test, doesn't grip the phone well and the flip clip isn't particularly elegant.
The Mili's one-piece spring clip, which hooks over the top of the iPhone, is a nice idea that just doesn't work, because it kept coming loose in our pocket, and the Exogear's clip-on ring is functional but flimsy. The case is mighty thin, though.
Our favourites are the Logic3 and the Mophie: the former because of its one-piece design; the latter because it's so solid, looks the part and has a nice rubber back.
All five have a power switch, so you can decide when to use the charge in the battery to boost your iPhone. With the Mili, it won't start charging until you press its On button, but you can't then stop it without removing the iPhone - less elegant than the others.
And all but the Dexim have a strip of lights that show you how much juice is in the battery. The Dexim does have a light to tell you if it's charging (orange) or full (green), but the light colour changes depending on your angle of view. Frus-tra-ting.
And the best iPhone 4 battery case is… Mophie Juice Pack Air £70
The Mophie's performance and design panache make it a worthy winner This test has brought out a surprising trait in us - we've started to sympathise with the X Factor judges. When faced with two completely different choices, each with its own distinct strengths, how do you pick between them?
Unlike Messrs Cowell et al., we were picking between the top two rather than the bottom pair, and we had longer than they did to deliberate which was to be our victor. But it was tough.
While we liked the phenomenal capacity and added use time of the Dexim, its design lacks finesse, and since you've got a stylish and well-designed phone, you need a case to match.
For the same reason, we didn't feel the Mili and Exogear packs were quite up to scratch, despite the former's impressive additional use time. And so we were left with our final-two conundrum.
As we said in the design test, we were impressed by the Logic3 and Mophie in equal measure, and felt both were a worthy complement to the iPhone's sleek looks. In terms of how much juice they pumped into the phone, they were practically identical, and they were the two quickest-charging packs we tested.
So it came down to whether the Mophie's more-than-double additional use time justified its more-than-double price tag. Let's first say that we do think £70 is too expensive and that at £30, the Logic3 is an attractive option if you're on a tight budget.
But at the end of the day, if you're going to shell out on a battery case, it's because you're the sort of heavy iPhone user who regularly finds your battery running out, so the more additional use time you get, the better.
And while the Mophie isn't top of the table in this sense, it offers the best overall balance of great design and good performance. It protects your phone well, is solidly built but still thin, oozes class and gives you plenty of extra time to enjoy all that's great about your iPhone.