Steady as she goes: A DiffCase Review.

DiffCase with cover.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I tend to create a lot of HDR images with my iPhone. While the HDR app that I use is pretty good at aligning hand held shots, it’s not perfect.  And so, the need to put the iPhone on a tripod arises. There are many iPhone cases out there with standard 1/4″-20 tripod threads. I have a couple of them, but they are not meant to be an everyday case. So when I saw the DiffCase, I knew I had to try it out.

The DiffCase is a tough ABS plastic full-bumper case with two tripod sockets, one for portrait and one for landscape mounting.  The case also features a front and back lid, which can be used to protect the front and back glass on the iPhone, as well as eliminate glare or increase privacy while using the phone.  The lids attach to the case using small plastic pins. There is also a tab on each lid that moves into two different notches on the phone case as you lift the lid; one at 90° and the other at 135°.  Further more, the lid is fully removable just by continuing to open it as you would a book.

My experience so far:

As I mentioned before, the DiffCase is plastic, so there were no surprises there when it arrived in the mail. The case did come with a soft, lint-free cloth, which does an amazing job at cleaning fingerprints off the glass of the iPhone.  In the corner of the case between the two tripod sockets, there is a hole for attaching a carabiner clip. The case did not come with a carabiner though. It’s not a deal breaker for me, as I doubt I’d ever carry my phone that way, but some people might be disappointed.

Shortly before receiving this case, I was at the coast in Massachusetts. There was snow on the ground, and the sun was shining brightly. I wanted to take photos with my iPhone but the glare made seeing the screen impossible. Fast forward a week and again I was in Massachusetts, walking around Boston. The sun was bright with not a cloud in the sky. This time I had the DiffCase. Using the lids as shades to reduce glare, I had no problem seeing the screen while standing in full sun.

DiffCase with lid open

DiffCase with no lid

DiffCase tripod sockets

Now for some of the quirks: While the funky design claims to be ergonomic, I found it to be cumbersome when hand holding.  The case has an opening for the headphone jack, but it does not allow headphones to actually plug in. On the bottom of the case, it is cut out so that you can access the dock connector on the iPhone, however, you will only be able to use the dock connector cord that comes with the phone. I need to remove to the case to plug the phone in to my speakers, and the case does not fit well in my car holder mount.  Explicit instructions come with the DiffCase on how to install and remove the lids. There is even a video on the DiffCase website showing that the plastic pins on the lids are indeed very strong. Despite all that, I still managed to break one pin on each lid in a short amount of time.

Final Thoughts:

I was hoping that this would be my everyday case; the idea of having tripod sockets at all times is very appealing to me. But the inconvenience of not being able to use the headphone jack and only the dock connector cord has limited the use of this case.  Any time that I know in advance that I will be using my iPhone on a tripod, I will be using this case for sure.  The protective lids keep the phone sealed up when it’s not in use and eliminates glare when using the phone in the sun.  This is the first generation of this case, so it will be exciting to see what improvements have been made to the next version of the DiffCase.

The DiffCase retails for $34.95, and is available in black, red, and white. The DiffCase fits the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. You can find the DiffCase here:

DiffCase mounted in landscape mode

Hand holding the DiffCase

Here’s some photos taken while using the DiffCase and a Gorillapod.