To me, design matters — a lot. It’s one of the reasons I bought an iPhone. And not to throw any shade on any iPhone case manufacturers, but the design of the iPhone itself trumps the design of any iPhone case. And so, since last October when I bought my latest iPhone (a 6 Plus), I’ve been searching for a case that lets the beauty of this gracefully adroit device shine through. And I had all but given up hope, I was prepared to settle for mediocrity and err on the side of prudence, until…
Put a pin in that until for twenty seconds while I explain what I mean by “the beauty of the device” that I don’t want covered up by some ugly case. In the mobile world, the iPhone is the closest thing to a sculpture that exists. It’s art that millions of people take for granted daily. There’s purpose to placement; details that people may never notice have been painstakingly labored over (like the fact that the speaker, lightning port and microphone all line up along a perfectly centered horizontal line across the phone’s bottom edge). It’s an object that deserves some appreciation.
In a less abstract sense, the iPhone is very thin therefore I don’t want a bulky case. Additionally, the iPhone, the colors of which I specifically picked (white front, silver back), is regally hued; therefore I don’t want a cheap-looking case. Etc.
Now unpin that until. Until… I found the Inner Exile Hydra case. You can’t tell from photos online, but in reality it’s almost like the Hydra isn’t even on my phone. It’s as close to an iPhone case that feels nearly nonexistent as I’ve been able to get.
Let me rehash this just once more because it needs to be said: using the Hydra offers some basic protection while letting the user (me, you) come oh so close to the native (naked) iPhone experience. The only thing that is missing is a few millimeters of thinness (not noticeable) and the feel of cold metal in your hand.
So it does exist. This is the iPhone case of my dreams. If you haven’t been following the saga, I’ve tested case after case looking for the best-looking iPhone protection which, to me, means the case that gets out of the way the most. That is this case. And that’s the main reason why I’m obsessing over it.
And look. I’ve tested out other clear cases before. All but this one (at least that I’ve found — if you find a contender please let me know) are too big, too frosted, too something. This case is as close to invisible as it gets.
But it does have a very interesting additional feature (I’m sure Inner Exile would call it the main feature): the ability to self-heal from small scrapes and scratches.
Minor scratches are the only damage I’m really worried about protecting my iPhone from. I’ve already dropped it a few times without a case on and it’s tougher than people realize or give it credit for. Plus, I do have a rugged case handy for when I go hiking or do something with sharp rocks around that I don’t want to drop my phone on. But for everyday use I just want something simple that gets out of the way and will take the small bullets on behalf of the phone.
So collisions with keys, brushes against other metallic Apple objects, small drops and the like will all be protected against. But any minor damage done to the case will be repaired.
It’s just like the human body. When you get a paper cut, your blood cells get to work coagulating, a scab forms and a couple of days later your skin’s as good as new. The self-healing case works in much the same way.
For me, the ability for the case to repair itself comes second to the incredible design. It’s a cool extra, in my mind. But if you’re the sort of person who likes to keep things in pristine condition, this feature no doubt appeals to your inner OCD in a big way.
At this point I renounce all other iPhone cases. I will continue to test and review them, of course, always with an open mind, but I have serious doubts as to whether any will surpass my love for the Hydra.