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Hands-on with Speck SmartFlex Card case for iPhone 4/4S

Make sure to check out our picks for the best iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S cases.

When it comes to minimizing the things you carry with you on a daily basis, your phone is one of the last things you’d want to leave behind. So is your wallet. Still, occasions like going out for a run or a night at a rock concert can limit the amount of things you’ll want to take. With the new Speck SmartFlex Card case for iPhone 4/4S, you won’t have to choose between phone or wallet.

Look and Feel

The SmartFlex Card case has the texture that sits right between hard and soft. Its matte exterior feels durable and tough, yet also flexible enough to slightly bend and expand to fit your phone and cards. The back of the case contains a protruding slot that can fit up to three cards of your choice: credit card, identification, business card, public transit, gym membership… as long as they are standard size, they will fit into the pre-made slot.

In comparison to other Speck cases, the SmartFlex Card case lightweight yet a bit bulkier than what you’re might be used to seeing. This is more visible when you look into the camera hole and see the thickness between the camera lens itself and the end of the case. If you’re gonna give up a wallet to bring a phone instead, it’s no surprise that you should anticipate holding on to something much bulkier.

One thing we noticed with the case, and most Speck cases, is that the lower edge by the home button is always a bit flimsier than other parts of the product. This is the area that seems to break and snap most easily in Speck cases, so when you slip the case on and off, remember to be careful with this section. 

Utility

As promised, the Speck SmartFlex Card case fits three cards and three only. Four also fits if you cram, but you’ll likely have a hard time yanking the cards out. Alternatively, you can also stick a wad of cash or a moist towelette in the slot in place of cards if you so desire. The case will also hold your card in place even if you only have one item in there.

While in the slot, the cards remain quite steady inside. If you need to get the cards out, simply push on the shorter slot opening to loosen the opening. If you plan to leave RFID cards such as tap-activated transit cards, it may be a better idea to remove the card and use individually from the case as it is possible the phone may demagnetize and interfere with the chip. Not a huge hassle, but definitely something to note if you’re used to just tapping your wallet before entering train stations.

As far as phone protection, the rubber matte material is is great for anti-scratch and shock absorbency, and it’s pretty much impossible ever dent the semi-hard case. Since it is thicker, the raised front feels like it’s got an extra bumper to protect the screen from damage if you place the iPhone face down on a surface.

What also comes with the extra bulkiness, however, is also difficulty in other uses. With the SmartFlex Card case on, you might have trouble connecting the iPhone on work stations or music docks depending on their designs. You can, however, still plug a charger in with the pre-cut slot with an ease.

Should you buy it?

While we love the added convenience of a card slot in the SmartFlex Card case, it seems to make more sense to use the product only when you need it. With the added thickness, it could take some getting used to compared to other iPhone cases. Much like a girl would switch to a smaller handbag for a night out, the product would make a great accessory for when you need to travel lightly.

Of course, you should also beware that if you plan to use this for a night at the bars, you need to be extra careful looking after the phone. If you lose the phone, you’ll also lose everything else. Be prepared to keep your valuables in one place at your own discretion!

Overall, the case provides expected protection as with other quality Speck products. For the right user, the Speck SmartFlex Card case is available now and comes in two colors (blue and black) at the price of $35