5 Multipurpose iPhone 4 Cases Fit for a Freelancer

Photo: Incase.

If there was a T-shirt that said “I bought an iPhone 4 and all I got was this stupid bumper,” I’d wear it.

Seriously, I hate the thing (the bumper, not the iPhone; I can't live without the latter). The former, however, serves absolutely no purpose — including the purpose that it was intended to serve, fewer dropped calls because of the iPhone 4's inferior wrap-around antenna.

I can have only half a conversation before my call gets cut off, and the bumper I chose is so poorly designed that I can’t charge my phone with the bumper on it. Factor in that the bumper isn’t a proper case either — in no way is it protecting my phone from damage — and you’ve got what I like to call a massive W.O.M., Waste. Of. Money. That’s saying something since it was Apple-issued and free.

While I was at CES last month, I scoured aisles and aisles of iPhone accessories. Some of them were your standard, everyday, I-don’t-do-anything-but-make-your-phone-look-cheap cases. But some of them, well, they’re working hard for your money — and if you’re a freelancer like me, you want your money’s worth. (See also: The Cell Phone App That's Saving Me a Small Fortune)

Thus, here are my five picks for iPhone 4 cases that pull double duty to stretch your dollar.

The Minimalist 4 by TRTL BOT

When I go out to meetings or networking events, I crosscheck my body to ensure I have everything I need (phone, wallet, pens and paper), but I often forget the most important part of making lasting professional connections — my business card. When nobody requests one, I have a dozen in my pocket; as soon as somebody asks, they’re nowhere to be found — never fails. The Minimalist 4 is the perfect solution. Snap in your phone, stuff the other side with a few cards, and you’re ready to roll. This case in particular is great for my husband, too, who doesn’t like carrying a wallet. It’s ideal for a night on the town when all you want to worry about is an ID, a credit card, and few crisp greenbacks.

Incipio OffGRID

A few weeks ago I wrote this Wise Bread article on the must-have items I keep in my bag at all times. One of the things I just can’t do everyday travel without is a phone charger — because a good self-employed service provider is at his clients’ beck and call whenever they need him, even if that does sound a bit shady. (My services are legit, I promise.) In any case, I freak out when my phone dies, which makes this rechargeable battery pack case from Incipio a lifesaver. It promises to double your battery life and weighs just two ounces. Think about it: With the extra juice built in, you won’t have to sit on the floor of the local Barnes & Noble and pretend to read a book while you steal electricity. Huzzah! You just gained an extra hour, workhorse.

KickBACK g4 by Scosche

One the many perks of my job is that I sometimes get to watch movies and TV shows in order to write articles. This twice-as-nice kickstand case from Scosche is just what the doctor ordered for consuming that media on the go. Literally. My physician probably would recommend this if it meant that I didn’t have to hold the phone in front of my face for an hour and a half. Besides watching your favorites programs, think about the FaceTime possibilities. You can talk to associates from any place that has a Wi-Fi connection without making them nauseous from your Shaky Hand Syndrome. 

NUU MiniKey

BlackBerry converts rejoice; your prayers have been answered. If you don’t like the iPhone 4’s touch-screen keyboard, NUU offers an alternative way to type with its MiniKey slide-out keyboard. Benefits include — according to the company, anyway — speedier typing (considering that you currently type like a tortoise and are used to punching away on a tangible keypad), a larger screen area (because the on-screen keyboard isn’t taking up its normal space), easier navigation and editing (so you don’t have to perfectly point your finger between your erroneous characters and punctuation to amend mistakes), and several other “special features not found anywhere else.” Full disclosure: Engadget called it “bulky,” but it doesn’t seem so bad to me. In fact, I’m rather impressed with how slim it is. I mean, there’s a hidden keyboard in the back; how skinny can it get?

Be A HeadCase Bottle and Can Opener Case

I’ll level with you, this ingenious Be A HeadCase won’t do anything but get you drunk. And that’s the best part, especially after a long day of doing whatever freelancers do. Until, that is, you download the accompanying app (it’s free), which keeps track of how many bottles and cans you pop. The case features a stainless steel bottle opener; comes in a durable, rubberized black or pink coating; and is compatible with both AT&T and Verizon iPhones. Uh huh, who’s happy hour’s head honcho now?

Additional photo credits: TRTL BOT, Incipio, Scosche, NUU, Be A HeadCase
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Guest's picture

Which "bumper" did you get that prevents you from charging your iPhone 4? My wife and I both have iPhone 4, so do a lot of our friends and family. We all have different cases and "bumpers" and have no problem connecting the iPhone cable with the bumper in place.

Mikey Rox's picture

I think mine came from Griffin, which usually has high-quality products. The bumper I had, however, was not ideal. My charger wouldn't fit properly into the phone; I had to remove the bumper to stick it in. Perhaps it was an anomaly, but it was frustrating.

Guest's picture

I have a complete black rubberized cover for the iPhone 4, the first item above prompted me to pull it off, stuff 5 business cards in the back and put it back on again. Hardly a noticeable difference and I've always got a business card handy. Brilliant! Thanks for the prompt...

Guest's picture
Jimmy King

I dig the Minimalist 4, been using it for four months now. You can save 15% on it if you use coupon code: TRTLCREW002