The TRTL BOT Minimalist 4 ($30) is an eco-friendly iPhone 4 case made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. It attempts to substitute your wallet by providing a card slot on the back of the case which will house up to three credit cards, while protecting your device from scratches, scuffs and scrapes with a sturdy plastic shell that clings to the stainless steel band around your iPhone.
The Minimalist 4 allows you to leave your wallet at home and carry your credit cards along with your iPhone instead. It reduces the number of valuables you need to carry around in your bag or pockets and can be a life-saver to those with a tendency to leave their wallets behind on every trip.
While the recycled plastic feels brittle, it’s actually rather flexible, and no matter how much I dropped the case or tugged on its sides and card holder, I couldn’t cause any significant damage. The plastic is more likely to bend than break. The Minimalist is also very light and adds no noticeable weight to your device whatsoever.
When you slip your credit cards into the back of the Minimalist, you can be sure they’re not going to slip right back out again accidentally. The case is designed to keep your cards secure, and it does.
Those wishing to preserve their iPhone’s dashing good looks and elegant form factor should go hunting for another case now: the Minimalist — while practical — is very uncomfortable.
The credit card holder on the back makes your device feel thick and bulky, and as if it’s a little too big for the small, sleek device buried inside.
The sides of the case actually stick out a little further in front of your screen, and while this may offer a little more protection when dropping your device face-first on a flat surface, I personally don’t like it. I found that it makes the case more of a magnet to dust and pocket fluff, which has a tendency to wedge itself in between the gap that runs up the sides of the case.
To better explain this point, here’s a comparison between the Minimalist 4 and the Incipio Feather case I reviewed some time ago:
You’ll notice that with the Incipio case (right), the sides sit tightly against the iPhone, behind the screen, and prevent any dust from gathering between the case and your device — it also looks and feel a lot nicer, I think.
As much as I admire the Minimalist’s eco-friendly approach, I think a little more effort could have gone into its design to give it a better fit and feel. For those looking to fuse their iPhone case and their wallet, there are better, more stylish solutions than the Minimalist. Such as the Marware Glide leather sleeve.