Although I have tried various cases from time to time, for most of the over six years that I have been using an iPhone, I have not used a case. I haven't liked the added bulk, and I preferred the feel of the iPhone itself in my hand. I suspect that I am in the minority — it seems like most folks I see do have a case for their iPhone — so I wanted to warn you at the outset that this is a case review from someone who for the most part does not like cases. Nevertheless, I purchased a $45 Apple iPhone 6 Leather Case from my local Apple Store almost three weeks ago because the iPhone 6 is larger than prior iPhones, and thus a little harder to get your hand around, and thus a little more susceptible to being dropped, and all of this is compounded by the new curved edge which feels great in your hand but is also somewhat more slippery. It seemed like I was much more likely to drop an iPhone 6 than any prior iPhone, so perhaps I should consider a case. But I also wanted something that was as slim as possible so as to not add too much to the size of the iPhone, and I also wanted something that seemed nice. Apple's Leather Case seemed to meet all of these needs. Overall, I like this case.
One of the main things that I like about this case is that is so slim. I was at dinner the other night with a friend who I swore was using an iPhone 6 Plus. It turned out that it was just an iPhone 6, but he had it in OtterBox case — a case that provides a lot of protection, but which substantially adds to the size of the iPhone. My friend thought it was the perfect case, telling me that in his profession (he is a wine maker) his phone is always getting knocked around and is easily dropped. But I spend most days in my office, and even when I am out of the office for a deposition or a hearing, I virtually never get wet and slippery wine on my hands. I don't need that much protection.
This case is very slim. It doesn't cover the face of the iPhone at all. The case wraps around the back and three sides, and while I have trouble measuring something this thin, it seems to be around a millimeter thick. Thus, this case does not add very much bulk to the iPhone.
Friction and Feel
The second thing that I like about this case is that the leather provides a lot more friction. An iPhone 6 is much less likely to slip out of your hands when it is in this case. But just as importantly, the leather also feels nice in your hand (and, in my opinion, looks good too). I don't want to hold a brand new iPhone in a case that makes it feel cheap and plasticky.
Having said that, I still prefer the feel of the curved edges of the iPhone 6 in my hand. The problem is, those curved edges are more slippery. So as I have been using this case over the last few weeks, while I have tried to force myself to keep the case on the iPhone most of the time to evaluate the case as much as possible for this review, I still "cheated" and slipped the iPhone out of the case from time to time when I was sitting at my desk or someplace else where I wasn't moving around a lot, so I was pretty sure that I was unlikely to drop the iPhone, and I just wanted to appreciate the design and feel of the iPhone itself.
And this is a good point to note that while this case fits the iPhone like a tight glove, it is also incredibly quick and easy to slip this case on and off of the iPhone. If you are like me, and you don't think that you want to use a case all of the time, this is a very nice feature.
Flat on the desk
Because the iPhone 6 has a camera that protrudes every so slightly from the back of the iPhone, when you set down an iPhone 6 on its back on a flat surface, such as a desk, there is a very slight wobble — less than I feared it would be when I first learned that the camera sticks out a little, but still somewhat noticeable. One advantage of this case is that it is just thick enough to let the iPhone lie flat against a table. I usually hold my iPhone in my left hand when I am using it, but for those rare occasions when I am tapping my iPhone screen while it is on a table, it was nicer to have it stay completely flat as a result of this case.
The inside of this case has a microfiber lining, so using this case on your iPhone, and slipping it on and off of your iPhone, is not going to scratch it up. Likewise, when the iPhone is in this case, you don't need to worry about scratching the back or sides of the iPhone if it moves against a hard object. I once dropped my iPhone 5s between two chairs, and while the iPhone continued to work fine after the fall, the edge of the iPhone got nicked — minor damage, but nevertheless one that I noticed. That wouldn't have happened if I had been using a case like this.
I cannot comment upon how much protection this case provides if you drop your phone. It is thin enough that I suspect that it would soften the blow of impact a little bit but not as much as other cases that are much thicker and made of shock-absorbing materials. And this case doesn't protect the front of the iPhone at all. I've never shattered an iPhone screen so hopefully I won't do so on my iPhone 6 either, but I've seen enough iPhones with cracked screens to know that it can and does happen to people — and this case is unlikely to guard against that. So this might not be the right case to give your teenager.
I stated above that this case surrounds three sides of the iPhone. The bottom is largely exposed, except at the far edges. There is a big advantage to this approach; it means that the headphone port, microphone, Lightning connector and speaker are fully exposed, and thus the case doesn't interfere with their use. If you use a dock with your iPhone 6, there is a good chance that it will work with the Apple case but not other cases that have a hole around the Lightning port, and the same is true if you use a third-party Lightning cable with a thicker plug. This design decision does leave the bottom of the iPhone exposed so it could get scratched, but I think Apple made the right choice to maximize the utility of everything located at the bottom of the iPhone 6.
Speaking of protection, I should talk about protecting the look of the case itself. I've read reports that similar leather cases from Apple for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s would wear down over time in the places where you handle the case the most. I haven't noticed yet. Moreover, even if it did wear down a little, I don't think that would bother me anyway; leather is one of those materials that I think gains character as it shows wear from use.
For the most part, your iPhone is just as useful with this case on as it is when it is naked. As noted above, all of the bottom ports are exposed, and while the buttons on the left and right side are covered, they are still easy to press.
But in two ways, I find my iPhone less useful with this case on. The first issue that I have is with the swipe from the left side gesture. In many apps in iOS 8, you can place your finger on the far left side of the screen and swipe towards the right to go back. You need to make sure that you start all the way on the far edge for this gesture to work; otherwise the iPhone thinks that you are just moving your finger from some part of the left side of the screen to some part of the right side of the screen. For example, in Safari, moving your finger from some point on the left side towards the right will scroll the page horizontally, but if you start with your finger all the way on the edge of the screen (or even past the left edge of the screen) and then swipe to the right, you will go back to the prior page. Although that gesture works on prior models of the iPhone, it works better than ever on the iPhone 6 because of the curved edge, which makes it even easier to start with your finger at the far left of the screen. However, because this case has a raised edge, it is actually harder to perform this gesture; it is harder to start with your finger all the way on the left edge. I found it frustrating to start using my iPhone 6 without a case, where this gesture was easier than ever, and then to switch to a case where the gesture was harder than ever. I suspect that this issue is not unique to Apple's case and it probably happens with all cases. Nevertheless, it was annoying.
Second, the mute switch on the left of the phone is harder to access with this case. Without the case, I can easily flip the switch up and down. With the case, I have to work harder to use my fingernail in the hole to then flip the switch. Again, this is likely a problem with most iPhone 6 cases, unless there is one with a very large hole for the mute switch.
I'll also note that there is a downside to the additional friction that you get with this case. I typically keep my iPhone 6 in the front pocket of my shirt. It is a little harder to get the iPhone in and out of my pocket with this case because of the added friction. It slides in and out more easily without a case. Having said that, the same slipperiness makes the iPhone easier to drop, so this is more of a trade-off than a true disadvantage of the case.
I purchased the black version of the case, but you can also get the leather case in red, midnight blue, olive brown or soft pink.
What color you get is obviously just a personal preference. Having said that, I've seen scattered reports on the Internet that the pink case is more likely to get dirty or otherwise discolored with use. Although I haven't seen this first hand, it wouldn't surprise me if that happened. I doubt that this would occur with a darker color, such as the black one that I purchased.
I forced myself to use the Apple iPhone 6 Leather Case almost 24/7 for almost three weeks to get the most experience with this product to write a review. I'm glad I did so, because it resulted in me really getting to know this case. Overall, I like it. If you don't want to add a lot of bulk to the iPhone, but you do want some basic protection against scratching it up, and most importantly you want the iPhone 6 to be less slippery in your hand, this may be the case for you. As you would expect for case made by Apple itself, the leather looks and feels nice, and it is a perfect fit for the iPhone 6.
I haven't compared this case against cases sold by others. Nick Guy of The Wirecutter did do so, and while he liked the Apple case, he preferred the NGP case by Incipio because it is thin but provides all-around protection, even to the bottom of the iPhone. And that case is only $16.99 on Amazon, much cheaper than the $45 Apple charges, although you would expect to pay less for polyurethane than for leather.
Now that this review is written, I know that I won't use this case all of the time. I generally prefer the feel of the curved edges of the iPhone without a case, plus I like that it is easier to perform the back gesture without the case. For days that I am mostly in my office, I think I can get by without the case. But when I am traveling — whether it be flying across the county for a deposition or walking down the street to the courthouse — I think that I will use this case most of the time. I have grown to really like the larger size of the iPhone 6 screen, but the size and shape is certainly a little harder to hold and more slippery, and with this case I am far less likely to drop my iPhone, plus I have some protection if I do drop it.
If you are looking for a slim, nice case for the iPhone, the Apple iPhone 6 Leather Case is worthy of your consideration, and I'm happy that I bought mine.