XA Wireless Vortex iPhone 4/4S case (90504) review: XA Wireless Vortex iPhone 4/4S case (90504)

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.5
  • Design: 6.0
  • Performance: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The XA Wireless Vortex iPhone case is lightweight and the bamboo material is sure to be an eye-catcher.

The Bad A bottom piece of the Vortex case will break off with a slight tug, which renders its high price unjustifiable.

The Bottom Line Though the bamboo aesthetic looks cool, this XA Wireless Vortex case is too fragile and keeps breaking.

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I have a certain affinity for wooden or bamboo phone cases. A modern, sleek device wrapped up in a natural, organic material is an interesting juxtaposition. Plus, they're usually quick to stand out, lightweight, and sturdy.

That's why it was exciting, at first, to receive this accessory from XA Wireless. Its line of bamboo cases, labeled "the Vortex" (don't ask me why), is made from 100 percent organic material. It comes in 12 variations, each priced at $44.29. Most of them are etched with some uplifting (though at times, eye-roll-inducing) words or messages like, "Life is supposed to be fun," "I am thankful, I am grateful," and "Follow your dreams."

The case comes in two pieces and when assembled together measures 4.75 inches tall, 2.5 inches wide, and 0.5 inch thick. It weighs 0.64 ounces and feels pretty lightweight. The sections are joined together by a small piece of metal that juts out of one portion of the case. The metal then fits into a small groove in the other piece. To ensure that the phone will fit snugly, the case's back is lined with a black feltlike material for extra friction.

When I first placed the Vortex on an iPhone, it didn't look too bulky. It's a lot chunkier than the usual slew of plastic cases out there, but you have to expect a certain amount of bulkiness with wooden or bamboo cases. I was able to fit the whole ensemble into my jean pocket easily.

This XA Wireless Vortex case tells you that life is supposed to be fun. Josh Miller/CNET

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Where to Buy

XA Wireless Vortex iPhone 4/4S case (90504)

Part Number: 90504

MSRP: $44.29

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 0.64 mg
About The Author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.