I’ve never been a huge fan of large, rugged cases myself, but considering the huge popularity of products from companies like OtterBox and Lifeproof, there is obviously a market for that extra piece of mind when carrying an iPhone. That’s what piqued my interest when I heard about the Kickstarter campaign for the mentalKase. While it isn’t completely waterproof, it is water and dust resistant, and provides a higher degree a drop protection than any other case I am aware of. That extra protection comes from its unique use of micro-cell rubberized foam (MCRF).
According to the designers of the mentalKase, the case’s superior drop protection is a result of the high air content of foam. This helps to cushion the device and “bounce” to a degree, rather than transfer the shock of a fall to your iPhone. In addition, MCRF is also antimicrobial, which will help keep your device cleaner. And if you’ve seen any of the recent research on the kinds of things that end up on our screens (and then our hands and faces by transfer) then you’ll know this is a great feature. Also, while the mentalKase isn’t completely waterproof, the case will float if you drop it into water, thanks to the inherent buoyancy of the foam construction.
While most rugged cases have multiple pieces, they end up forming a single case. In contrast to this, the mentalKase actually breaks their design up into two separate sections.
The first is a fairly normal looking case, which is a TPU plastic shell wrapped in their foam material. This provides basic drop protection, without adding too much bulk. The second is a larger base station that the iPhone and case mount inside of.
As you can see, the base station has a large handle, making carrying easy, even while wearing heavy gloves. The handle is also substantially built, so it can also be used to tether the base station to a bag or backpack with a hook. Also, the iPhone can be flipped around screen down, which offers additional protection from drops and the elements.
However, even when hidden, the mic jack is still available, so you can keep on listening to your tunes or podcasts while out and about. And again, if the base station is dropped in water, it will float, which should help to prevent water damage to your iPhone.
While some skepticism has grown around Kickstarter in the tech community, based on projects that haven’t panned out and left backers with nothing to show for their money, the mentalKase is a pretty safe bet if it meets its goal. It isn’t just a cool idea, but rather has already been completely designed and prototyped for the iPhone 4 and 4S. mentalKase has also committed to designing and releasing an iPhone 5 version if their project is fully backed.
The mentalKase is available in white or black, and will cost either $45 or $55 for the iPhone 4/4S version, and $50 or $60 for the iPhone 5. The lower prices are available now, but the price will go up to the higher value as more backers commit.
The mentalKase is available from Kickstarter, and has until 11:59 PM, February 28, 2013 to achieve its goal of $50,000.