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    • 6 out of 10
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In-Depth Review

DLO HipCase (for iPhone and iPhone 3G)

The DLO HipCase for iPhone and iPhone 3G is a handsome holster-style carrying case that is available in black leather (shown below), brown leather, or black nylon.

There's a lot about this case that I liked, but there were also a couple of features you might find problematic. I tested a black leather case with light-colored stitching and a light tan interior, as shown above. One of the things I liked best about it was the look and feel of the leather and the design of the case. The leather -- both inside and out -- is soft and supple. It smells like expensive leather and felt quite nice in my hand. And there's even a small inside pocket, just big enough for your ID, a credit card, a couple of business cards, or a key (as long as it's thin and flat).

The case was quite tight at first, so getting the phone in and out was somewhat difficult and I occasionally struggled to insert or remove it. But after a couple of weeks it loosened up just enough, making it a lot easier to put my iPhone in or take it out.

There's a Velcro fastener on the flap, so opening and closing the case was easily done one-handed. The flap has a little bit of padding, so there's a little more protection from bumps on the front side of the case. And although I suspect the Velcro might lose some of its stickiness over time, mine was still in very good shape after a few weeks of fairly heavy use.

Unlike many cases with belt clips, this one's is an integral part of the case as shown below, so it doesn't seem likely to snap or break off. It also means the clip fits tightly, so I never felt the case was flopping around or likely to fall off.

Finally, the HipCase's horizontal orientation is more comfortable on your waist or hip than cases that position your iPhone vertically.

That's the good news. The bad news is that there are cutout areas at all four corners and another in the middle of the bottom edge. While they make it easier to get your iPhone out of the case, they also mean there are five areas where your iPhone is not protected and could get scratched or worse. I'd have been happier if there were no cutouts or at least no cutouts on the corners and just the one in the middle. Interestingly, it looks like this is only the case for the black leather and nylon versions. The brown leather case, which I've never seen or tested, appears to be designed with no corner cutouts and just a single hole in the middle as shown below, so it may be a better choice than the black ones if you prefer a little more protection.

The other, more minor issue is that if you put your iPhone in the case with the headset jack nearer to the bottom, it can't be accessed. So you have to remember to put your iPhone in with the headset jack nearer to the top than the bottom if you want to use it without taking your phone out of the case. Not a huge issue but worth noting.

The Bottom Line

If you like a holster-style case, and don't mind having parts of your iPhone unprotected, the DLO HipCase is a beautiful and elegant solution. But if you prefer a case that offers serious protection or one that doesn't require you to insert and remove your phone repeatedly to use it, it's not right for you.

Just The Facts

Pros:Buttery soft leather, handsome design, solid belt clip.

Cons:Openings could lead to scratches, have to remove phone to use it.

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