9 iPhone cases that do more than protect your iPhone (pictures)
With these multifunction holsters, you can ditch your wallet, snap better photos, tase attackers, and more.
Bric+ Productivity Case for iPhone 5 and 5S
Some cases add an extra battery to your iPhone, others add photo lenses. The Bric+ does both, giving you a 3.5x optical zoom lens and a 2,450mAh supplemental battery. The case also features an enhanced LED for extra brightness, a universal tripod mount, and even a battery gauge so you know how much juice it has left. The Bric+ is currently seeking backers on Kickstarter and has an expected retail price of $115.
Are you constantly having to carry around two phones, one for personal use, one for work? Do you travel internationally and routinely swap "local" SIM cards for your primary one? If you're an iPhone 5 user, there's a product in development that might make you smile. The Digirit SIM+ case lets you carry two SIM cards in one iPhone. And not just carry them, but also switch between them using a simple software-powered toggle. It's currently looking for backers on crowd-funding site HWTrek.
Why bother carrying an entire wallet when you can slip a credit card and some cash into your iPhone case? That's the idea behind Felix's CrossWay and HandHold products, which hug your valuables close to the rear of your phone while keeping bulk to a bare minimum. They're available in a variety of two-tone color combinations and priced at $29.99 each.
A smartphone deserves a smart case, right? The Findables FlexWrap case emblazons a unique QR code on each hard-plastic shell, one that can share information about yourself or help recover your lost phone. In other words, your case can now take the place of your business card, while at the same time offering good Samaritans a means of contacting you (that doesn't involve poring through your address book).
Someday, we might pay for everything with our phones. That "wallet-phone" concept has been flying around for years, and there are already a number of options in the wild, using NFC, special cards, or QR codes to pay. The Loop ChargeCase from LoopPay offers an alternative idea: make a technology that works with any credit card reader, anywhere. Seriously, it works, but it might freak you, or the place where you're buying things, out.
Talk about double duty: the $99 Yellow Jacket protects your iPhone from gravity and your body from attackers. That's because this case doubles as a stun gun, able to deliver 650,000 volts on demand. Worried about accidentally Tasering your ear while on a call? As CNET's Amanda Kooser notes, there's both "a safety switch and a safety cover to prevent that, but you'll want to handle this case a lot more carefully than you would, say, an OtterBox. It could be the most unpleasant butt-dial you've ever experienced."
After the bummer that was the ReadyCase, you might feel skeptical about a product that promises a whopping 22 tools (the ReadyCase had just 7). But here comes the TaskOne all the same, offering a 2.5-inch removable serrated knife, a 1.8-inch sawblade, small and large flathead screwdrivers, a medium Phillips screwdriver, a wire cutter and stripper, pliers, a bottle opener, a kickstand, and more -- all of them secured via spring-loaded assemblies. Who needs a Leatherman? The TaskOne sells for $99.95.
A successor to Loop Attachment's popular Mummy case, the Straitjacket modifies the design with a hard plastic bumper for better protection while retaining the silicone bands that criss-cross the back of the phone. Within those bands you can slip your cash, credit card, or whatever else you need to pocket. Like the Mummy, this case will be available in a variety of colors when it goes on sale next month. Price: $34.95.
An iPhone case with a built-in extended battery is nothing new, but how about one that recharges just by plugging into a wall outlet? That's the idea behind the Prong PWR, which has fold-out wall prongs for cable-free charging.