By Michael Andronico, LAPTOP Staff Writer
There are tons of reliable iPhone cases out there, but why settle for one that simply covers your device? Case manufacturers are getting more and more creative, offering iPhone shells that can double as stun guns, brass knuckles and even thermal cameras (you know, for hunting ghosts). There are also plenty of cases that simply look wacky, for the extra-expressive user. Here are 15 of our favorite iPhone cases that break from the norm.
At $349, Flir is one of the most expensive cases around, but what other cover allows you to hunt for ghosts? This thick, soft-touch case looks unassuming at first glance, but it packs an internal camera that transforms your iPhone 5 or 5s into a fully functional thermal-imaging device. Once calibrated, Flir allows you to read heat signatures in real time using the Flir app, and the case’s 1,400-mAh battery can be used to juice your phone.
The iPhone is a popular target for thieves, but the folks behind Yellow Jacket aim to provide your handset with an extra line of defense. The top of the Yellow Jacket conceals a small stun gun, which can unleash an 18,000-volt shock on anyone who gets a bit too close for comfort. This $149 rugged case has been revamped for the iPhone 5s, with a 1,800-mAh external battery, LED indicator lights and a two-piece construction that allows you to remove the stun-gun portion when you want, to keep it away from the kids. This unique case has plenty of appeal, but you should make sure stun guns are legal in your state before you buy one.
Most electronic iPhone cases require a charge to work, but Concepter’s Lune takes a different approach. This innovative black case uses your phone’s electromagnetic energy field to illuminate a green light on the back of your device each time you receive a call. The Lune ($35 estimated) senses radio waves to detect that you’re receiving a call, and future versions of the accessory will be able to read CDMA signals and to differentiate between calls and SMS messages.
If you stumble upon an iPhone jammed into a power outlet, it’s probably equipped with the PocketPlug case. This $69 accessory takes an old-school approach to mobile charging, with a wall plug that folds out of the back of the case. This stylish shell is available in black, red, blue, pink and white, and sports a micro-USB port that you can use if you’re not quite comfortable with sticking your iPhone to the wall.
For those who want to turn heads, Otterbox’s iPhone 5 Commuter Series 3D Case in Ninja will do just that, with its neon hue and freaky 3D design. The case boasts Otterbox’s signature two-layer protective system, but its electric lime color, which reminds us of Nickelodeon slime, departs from the norm. Its skull pattern juts out in 3D, leering scarily at passersby.
Thanks to the EnerPlex Surfr, all it takes to keep your iPhone alive is some daylight. This $100 black-and-orange case has a large solar panel for supplying extra juice, as well as a 2,000-mAh battery that can double your device’s endurance in any environment. It might look like something out of a science lab, but the Surfr will keep your iPhone going when you’re nowhere near an outlet.
Self-defense iPhone cases must be trendy this year. The Brass Knuckles iPhone 5 Case attaches a weapon to your smartphone, with a set of “brass knuckles” protruding from the right side of the case.
Luckily the case is plastic, and not actually brass, so you can’t do too much damage to someone with just your iPhone case, but it’s the thought that counts, right? The Brass Knuckles iPhone 5 Case is available in a variety of colors, and some are even speckled with rhinestones, so you can bring a touch of bling to your case’s tough facade.
Those who are good at multitasking will love this case that multitasks. The ReadyCase packs a USB stick, kickstand, headphone clip, multi-tool and a lens kit into a case that’s less than 3 mm thick. The USB stick (available in 4 and 8 GB sizes) snaps in and out of place, then becomes a kickstand for portrait and landscape views when not in use.
The headphone clip ensures that your phones will never get tangled again, and the multi-tool combines a bottle opener, flat-head screwdriver and standard and serrated blades. Finally, an optional lens kit includes macro, wide and fisheye lenses to enhance your photos.
If you for some reason want to add bulk to your iPhone 4/4s case and dig creepy stuff, you’re in luck. The Dokkiri Hand Case attaches a silicon hand to the back of your case, so you can intertwine fingers with the pseudo-hand when you’re chatting on your phone (or, for the truly lonely, while home alone on a Saturday night).
It’s available in a Lady’s Hand size and a Kid’s Hand size, for whatever strikes your fancy. However, the hand obstructs your iPhone’s camera, so you have to remove the case to take photos, assuming you still have any friends to take photos of after buying this.
Whether you want to test out some funky new ear gear like cartilage piercings or just make passersby do a double-take, CollabCubed Earonic iPhone 4 Cases come in several different styles that each feature a photo of someone’s ear and the side of their face. You can get a plain ear, an ear adorned in several piercings or an ear with an attached headset.
The ultimate case for Furries, the Monster Fur Cover for iPhone 5 is a snap-on case with artificial fur hair, so it looks like a fluffy monster is gobbling up your iPhone 5, or merely keeping your device warm in the winter. It’s available in Snow White, Schnauzer Grey and Creamy Camel. Be careful, though: A warning on the case’s site says some may have an allergic reaction from the fur, and to consider the product at your own risk. Talk about an unfriendly monster.
This iPhone 4/4s case brings back a taste of your childhood. The candy-apple red iPhone Etch-A-Sketch Case looks like the childhood toy and lets you simulate making sketch masterpieces with the knobs when placing your iPhone in landscape view. It’s made from an impact-resistant plastic, so your iPhone will stay safe, and it has cutouts for all buttons and ports.
If an app like Instagram just doesn’t do it for you and you want a more authentic photo editing experience, the Holga iPhone 4/4s Lens Filter and Case Kit SLFT-IP4 snaps onto your iPhone then gives you access to nine different special effects and filters. The filters operate like an old-school rotary telephone, so you can “dial in” your desired special effect. Some effects include Dual Image Lens, which produces two identical images, and Red Filter With Clear Heart Shape Center, which reduces blue and green lights and applies a heart. Available in black, white, silver, red and blue.
Miss the days of the old-school cell phone that was as bulky and heavy as a brick? No, you probably don’t. But the 80s Retro iPhone Case takes your iPhone back to those days, transforming it into a retro cell. Just slide your iPhone into the holder, and your device fits where the physical keyboard used to lay.
Rest a little easier the next time you’re walking outdoors alone at night with the Spraytect Pepper Spray Phone Case. The case contains a detachable pepper-spray cartridge, so you can use its three-step firing process if trouble comes your way. The case comes with a test cartridge and is available in black, pink, turquoise and white; you can purchase refill cartridges for $17.95.
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