Gear4 slim cases protect an iPhone 11 from a 13-foot fall [Review]

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Gear4 Hampton, Battersea, Oxford Eco and Crystal Palace Neon
The Gear4 Hampton, Battersea, Oxford Eco and Crystal Palace Neon are just some of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro series cases this company offers.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Gear4 cases can save an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro series from breaking if dropped quite long distances, but they aren’t as bulky as typical rugged cases. The lineup for all three of Apple’s latest is surprisingly attractive, given how protective they are.

I tried out several of Gear4’s offerings, and find they might be just what your new iPhone needs.

Understanding D3O

All Gear4’s cases are made with D3O, which is also used in everything from athletic equipment to the real-world armor worn by Black Panther’s stunt double. It provides shock and impact protection against knocks and drops, and is employed by the military, sports professionals, industrial workers and motorcyclists for high-impact defense.

Gear4 uses a unique version of D3O technology blended with other materials to produce cases scientifically engineered to safeguard mobile devices

Gear4 Hampton, Holborn and Crystal Palace Neon review

iPhone 11 camera hump covered by a case
The Gear4 Hampton really makes a non-issue of the iPhone 11 camera hump.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Gear4 Hampton is my favorite of the basic iPhone 11 cases I’ve tried so far. It adds only moderately to the to the bulk of Apple’s handset while still protecting it during a 13-foot drop.

There are openings for the iPhone’s various ports, with covers over the buttons. A raised “lip” around the display protects it when the handset is lying face down.

My tests confirmed that the D3O material doesn’t interfere with wireless charging. Power is transferred at the same rate as when there’s no case at all.

The Hampton is translucent, allowing the Apple logo to be seen, and Gear4 offers lighter or darker options.

I also tried the Gear4 Crystal Palace Neon, and it’s apparently the same case with the same level of protection, but is available in super-bright pink, yellow, or blue.

The Gear4 Holborn is seemingly the same design again, but this version is opaque and comes in lilac, burgundy or black.

The Gear4 Hampton is $34.99, the Crystal Palace Neon costs $39.99, while the Gear4 Holborn is $44.99. The prices are the same for the various iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max versions.

Buy from: Amazon — $39.99


Gear4 Battersea review

Gear4 Battersea with iPhone 11
The Gear4 Battersea is highly protective and comes in a range of colors.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Gear4 Battersea is like the Hampton’s bigger, tougher brother. It’s slightly thicker on all four edges and the back, but without becoming too bulky.

The extra material allows this case to protect the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro Max if it takes a 16-foot fall.

The back of the Battersea has an attractive diamond pattern, making it easier to hold.

My tests confirm that this case doesn’t interfere with wireless charging. There’s an opening in the case for the Lightning port, as well as ones for the speakers, camera hump. Covers protect the buttons while still allowing them to be used, and there’s a raised lip around the screen.

It’s available in black with orange trim or pink. No matter the color, the Gear4 Battersea costs $49.99. There’s no extra charge for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max versions.

Buy from: Amazon — $49.99


Gear4 Oxford Eco review

Gear4 Oxford Eco iPhone 11 wallet case
Gear4 Oxford Eco protects the iPhone 11 series, and also serves as a wallet.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Those wanting to combine their iPhone 11 with their wallet can opt for the Gear4 Oxford Eco, which has a flap that not only protects the handset’s display, but also makes room for a pair of slots to hold a drivers license and/or credit cards.

The flap wraps around to the back of the case as well, and has a faux fabric texture that looks quite smart. It’s very professional in appearance.

A clip holds this cover closed in transit. Just remember that closing the cover can’t automatically shut down the iPhone — you still need to shut to device off.

The addition of a flap makes the Oxford Eco the bulkiest of this product lineup, of course, but even so it’s still very pocketable. Gear4 promises it will protect the handset in a drop of 13 feet.

I confirmed that this wallet case isn’t thick enough to interfere with wireless charging. Or the Lighting port is available through an opening. Other openings are for the speakers and camera hump, while the buttons have covers.

The “Eco” is there to indicate that this case is made of recycled materials.

The Gear4 Oxford Eco sells for $49.99. It’s available only in black, but there are versions for the iPhone 11 in all three sizes at the same price.

Buy from: Amazon — $49.99

Gear4 provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy for more information, and check out more of our in-depth reviews.