Your phone isn't just a gadget; it's an extension of your style and personality. Committing to one iPhone case is like committing to one outfit to wear every single day. You may not always feel like medium-brown leather, or a swirling galactic print. The popSLATE case solves that problem. With an e-ink display on the back, you can change up the look of your case as much as you desire. It not only offers an additional outlet for personal expression — it's, dare we say, fun.
is a $129 iPhone 6 case that includes a 4-inch, 400x240 pixel display that can render 16 shades of gray (because 40 would just be overkill) into an endless number of black-and-white graphics, photographs, and images that you upload via the accompanying popSLATE app. The display is tough and shatterproof; covered by a thin, protective layer of plastic, it's not easily scratched or damaged.
The case is chunkier than Apple's protective iPhone cases
, but not as thick as a case with a battery pack, like the Mophie Juice Pack Air
. The plastic it's made of is smooth but still retains a nice grip in your hand, so you never feel like it may slip to the ground (although if it did, your iPhone is still protected from all angles).
With this case, I changed my idle phone habits. Normally, when I'm sitting and waiting for a meeting to begin, I'll browse Instagram or Twitter to kill time. Now, I hop into the popSLATE app instead, browsing and "popping" images onto the back of my phone to see how they look. The app lets you browse user-uploaded photos and artwork, with a section that highlights different users and types of art. If you link your Instagram account, you can also pop images you've uploaded to Instagram to the case.
If you don't find what you like in the app's offerings or on Instagram, you can snap your own photo to upload, or pick an image from your Camera Roll and use the app's "share" extension to upload it to the app. So now, you can upload not only artwork and photography, but screenshots from your phone. This could include: airplane and movie-ticket barcodes (so you can get scanned without even waking your phone); screenshots of maps or directions; or your calendar for the day. When you upload an image, the app default is to publicly add the image to its database, so if you want to keep it private, you'll need to hop into the app's settings and toggle that switch.
There are some issues with image uploading, namely because there are no editing controls in the app. The popSLATE screen is rectangular, but if you're popping squared-off Instagram photos, they can get cropped oddly. Ditto with landscape images — sometimes you may want to take a screen grab, or crop it yourself in the Camera Roll, before sending it to the case. A slideshow button on the case itself lets you rotate through recently uploaded images, but it would be really cool if the case could automatically rotate through a small selection of photos.
Interestingly, because this case has a display on the back, it needs to be charged (via micro USB) periodically — about once a week, depending on how often you're slinging images onto its screen. E-ink displays only use power when they're refreshing the screen, so if the case does lose power, you don't lose the image on the back, just the ability to switch it out to something else.
The popSLATE case is definitely pricey, and there are plenty of stellar cases out there for $30 or less. But, if you're into expressing yourself with your phone and want an easy way to show off your personal art, style, or brand, this case is a fun, effective option.