I'll be frank: I hate putting cases on my iPhone. They take away the fit and feel of the device in your hand, they can be overly bulky or clunky, and they almost always get dirty. But after breaking my iPhone 6's screen, I resigned myself to using some sort of cover — no caseless fit and feel is worth a broken glass screen.
Luckily, I've found quite a few awesome iPhone 6 cases in the months since I've started rocking one, the latest of which is Case Scenario's Pantone Universe Cover + Bumper. It's stylish, quirky, and — best of all — super-comfortable to use in-hand.
The thing that struck me about the cases when I first saw them on display at CES this year was their vibrancy — and there's a good reason for that. For this line, Case Scenario partnered with Pantone, best known as one of the color companies in the world for color trends, paint swatches, and the like. The cases come in eight distinct Pantone colors — including Gold Gloss and Silver Sheen — and a spokesperson at CES told me that batches have to be personally approved by a Pantone representative before they get shipped out to the public.
In other words, this Bright Cobalt case I'm currently rocking has been color-matched to be the exact shade of the 19-4037 Bright Cobalt swatch — though a small advisory on the case's inside still suggests using actual Pantone swatches if I plan to do any painting or color theory.
The Pantone marketing is part style gimmick, to be sure, but it works: I thought I was going to hate that little white "Pantone Universe" swatch on the bottom back quarter of the case, but it gives it an odd sort of class and finish that makes this plastic look more distinctive than any other blue-bumpered fare. (In fact, I've had more queries and demands about this case than any previous covering I've had on an iOS device throughout my five-year tenure as an Apple reporter. Funny, that.)
The case itself is a sleek rubberized plastic bumper with a slightly glossy plastic back. The plastic is well made, but not overly bulky or stiff; it both fits snugly around the iPhone 6 and is easy to peel off, reminding me a lot of Apple's iPhone 4 bumpers. Unlike the bumper case, however, this one has a sleek, slightly-glossy plastic backing with the aforementioned Pantone swatch designation in the lower corner. It provides scratch protection and a little bit of added style to the phone without bulking anything up too tremendously. (My magnetic Scosche MagicMount works just fine through the case's backing.)
This case may not do much if you drop your phone off a building, but it's more than adequate for daily stumbles and the occasional person-height drop. It covers the iPhone 6's glass corners and creeps a little bit over the sides, so as to prevent the LCD screen itself from being scratched if you put the phone face-down on a flat surface.
There are cutouts for the headphone port, mic, dock connector, speaker, and Ring/Silent switch; the volume and On/Off buttons are covered in a light, easily-pressable plastic. I normally dislike covered buttons on a case, but these do a great job of keeping dust and the like out of my iPhone's crevices without actually impeding functionality.
I've been impressed with almost every facet of this case: It's durable without being bulky, stylish without being gaudy, functional without an overly flashy price tag, easy to remove and snap back on, and it feels excellent. My only quibble is that the semi-gloss of the back covering has attracted a few scratches and scuffs — but that's after heavy use on a trade show floor and in pockets with keys and miscellany. I'll take a few minor scratches only seen in lamplight when it keeps my phone in pristine condition.
Case Scenario Pantone Universe - 20€/~$23 U.S. - Buy Now