gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Proporta Carbon Opus iPhone X Case Reviewed

While a case inevitably ruins the crisp lines and minimal feel of a beautifully designed new smartphone, it’s far less painful to watch a £25 case get scuffed on the pavement than a considerably more expensive smartphone.

Proporta’s Carbon Opus for the iPhone X is a durable, utilitarian folio style case that combines a sleek, understated black aesthetic with alleged “bulletproof” protection and a small complement of indispensable features that make it very appealing as an every-day carry.

Using my unplanned long wait in the station to snap some lifestyle photos of the @Proporta case on the go!

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) March 29, 2018

True to some of the earliest cases I tested from Proporta, the focus of this case is very much upon the carbon fibre sheet that’s nestled inside the front flap. This has been a running theme from Proporta for many, many years albeit some of the earlier cases I tested opted for brushed aluminium with an engraved Proporta logo which I was always quite partial to. The flap has some flex to it, but is more than ridged enough to shrug off any table corners that you might bump into. I wouldn’t recommend testing it with actual bullets!

Proporta want you to know there’s carbon fibre in there; the inside of the flap reveals a detail strip of the material and it actually looks pretty good. It’s not just for looks, though, fold the flap back and tuck it under the main part of the case and it becomes the slot that holds your phone upright for video viewing on the go. This is the killer feature for me; I travel on trains a lot, and being able to use my new-found not-terrible battery life and storage to enjoy a few Netflix or YouTube shows on the go will help those long journeys pass.

The inside of the front flap sports a soft to the touch – and your screen – lining that has the side effect of mitigating fingerprints left behind on your screen. One small frustration is that the area cut away to reveal the carbon fibre doesn’t have this property, sometimes leaving a small smudge stripe up the right hand side of the screen. You can, of course, just wipe this away as you normally would.

A plastic shell that clips securely onto the phone comprises the other half of the case. This shell is actually quite a challenge to attach and remove, but that’s a good thing since it means your phone wont fall out accidentally. Gaps are left along the bottom edge of the phone for the Lightning connector, speaker and microphone, and also along the top edge because the plastic needs to have some flex to accommodate the phone. This does mean the very top edge is slightly unprotected, but the corners and sides are well shielded. There are also, of course, cut outs for the power button, volume controls and mute switch.

Interestingly, these cut-outs are not reflected in the leather that joins the front flap to the main body of the case meaning your volume buttons and mute switch are not exposed when the case is closed. I don’t think this is a bad thing. It keeps those buttons shielded from dust and grime ingress, and the leather is actually supple enough that you can easily press the volume buttons through it (assuming you don’t just have volume controls on your wireless headphones). As for the mute switch you’re going to have to flip the case open to toggle it, so if it’s something you use often and discretely (muting a closed phone on a meeting room table) this might not be the ideal case for you.

As with all side-flip folio style cases, it suffers from the inevitable awkwardness of having to hold the flap open when taking a photo. There’s no cut-out in the flap, and no way to fold it fully back when taking photos. If you’re a keen photographer and like to, for example, hold an object while snapping a photo you might be frustrated by this. However you *can* just hold the phone sideways and take photos. Landscape is still a thing, right? For most typical photography, however, the need to hold the case with both hands is not an issue since you’ll likely need to reach across the screen to tap your desired focus point anyway.

What makes this phone great is the fact you can fold the case back over itself and use it like a little kickstand. I use this feature a surprising amount of the time in bed, on trains, on my desk and beyond. Having a stand you carry everywhere with you by default is really handy.

I’ve been rocking this case for around 6 months now, and while it’s sustained some damage to the plastic casing and cover it’s still going strong and protecting my phone. Perhaps its only drawback is that the magnet – used to secure the case flap to the back when the case is open – is enormously strong and has a slightly annoying habit of putting my laptop to sleep when the lid close sensor and my phone happen to come into close contact. D’oh!

Overall I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find a better case than this. It’s well priced, discrete and functional and while holding the flap can be tricky when taking photos it more than makes up for this minor nuisance with its excellent tabletop stand feature.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018, iPhone.