Leather case gives iPhone X a racing stripe and a vintage vibe [Review]

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Sena Racer review: An iPhone X case with a vintage rock 'n' roll and hot rod vibe.
If you want to give your iPhone X a vintage vibe strap it into a Sena Racer case.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Best List: Racer iPhone X case by Sena

Even someone who doesn’t suffer from a Jony Ive-style obsession with slimness wants an iPhone case with style. The Sena Racer — a leather iPhone X case with a rad racing stripe running up its back — adds bulk for sure. But its pleasantly puffy profile throws off a vintage ’70s vibe that looks killer and feels good in your hand.

It offers protection, sure. But, more importantly, it makes your iPhone stand out in a sea of svelte sameness.

Let’s face the beautiful truth: Smartphones look increasingly generic these days. As designers at Apple and Samsung pursue ultimate slimness, shaving millimeters off each year’s flagship phones, we draw ever closer to the mystical slender slab of metal and glass.

The iPhone X is a beautiful machine, but its most distinctive feature is a UI hack necessitated by engineering constraints. Don’t get me wrong. I love the notch just like most everyone else (even those Android design thieves). But we are rapidly approaching a point at which every smartphone surface, chopped and channeled to its essential elements, looks almost indistinguishable from its competitors.

Sena Racer case gives iPhone X a unique look

Well, slide your iPhone into a Sena Racer case and that won’t be a problem anymore. With its tuck-and-roll design, it instantly reminded me of vintage Kustom bass amps that raised plenty of roofs in the ’60s and ’70s. Or the fat, fluffy upholstery that cars rocked in the golden age of motoring.

As mentioned, the Sena Racer case isn’t the thinnest thing you’ll ever wrap around your iPhone. But its contrasting stripe certainly will set your phone apart. It comes in two color combos: black with a flaming red stripe and the much more subtle navy with a black stripe.

The slightly textured metal buttons, which cover the iPhone’s volume and power rockers, don’t recede into the background, either. They jut out, with hard edges that nip at your fingers the first few times you press them, unlike more streamlined buttons. They don’t feel annoyingly mushy, like some cases, and you’ll get used to them quickly.

Get a grip on your slick iPhone X

The stitching on the Sena Racer case that I tested wasn’t completely machine-like when it comes to straightness. If anything, that added to the vintage vibe of this case, which Sena sells for $54.95 (sign up for Sena’s email list for a discount). Again, an Apple designer allergic to even the slightest variation might get hives, but I couldn’t stop thinking about those glitter-flecked vinyl Kustom bass amps and grinning.

The raised surface of the racing strip, inspired by hot rod interiors and Italian trapunto quilting, gives you a great grip on the otherwise-slippery iPhone X. However, as per usual, I dropped my iPhone X several times (deep gasp) while it sat in the Sena Racer.

Luckily, the case’s slight protruding lip protected that beautiful OLED screen just fine. One look and you can see the case won’t offer the sort of protection that a bulky Otterbox does, but it will keep random scuffs and scrapes at bay. The snap-on case fits snugly, but isn’t that difficult to remove. That’s good news for serial case-swappers.

Sena Racer review: A totally retro iPhone X case

Ready for the bottom line? If you dig a retro vibe, this excellent case will fuel your ’70s fever dreams. If only you could find a curly, stretchy Lightning cable like the ones that retro rockers use to connect to their vintage Kustom amps. (Oh, wait, you totally can).

Buy from: Amazon — $49.95

Sena provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy and check out more stuff we recommend in our Best List reviews.