Review: Apple’s iPhone 7 Leather and Silicone Cases

fullsizerenderThere are two types of people in the world, those who put a case on their smartphone, and those who do not. If you’re in the first group, the launch of a new iPhone brings the question of whether your existing case will fit, or if you need to buy a new one.

While you can typically avoid buying a new case in the “s” years, a new number after “iPhone” inevitably means you need a new case. And so, with the launch of the iPhone 7, those who use cases are once again in search of something new.

The market for iPhone cases has exploded over the years, so whether you want a super-cheap plastic shell from the local mall kiosk or a protective case that could ensure the survival of your device following a meteor strike, odds are you’ll find something to suit your need and budget.

Apple has a stake in this game as well, and whenever a new iPhone arrives you’ll find a selection of official Apple iPhone cases just waiting to protect your new gadget from the unsterile world beyond the zen-like confines of your local Apple Store. In a world where there’s a million cases to choose from, the question becomes, are the official Apple cases any good?

The Apple iPhone 7 cases are available for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in either Silicone or Leather, and both feature the Apple logo on the back. The logo is embossed into the leather cases and matches the case colour, while on the silicone case the logo is printed directly on the case and is coloured in a way that subtly blends with the case colour.

The cases are lined with microfibre, and completely cover the back of the iPhone (with the exception of a hole for the camera(s) and flash), along with covering the top, corners, and sides of the device, while a raised lip protects screen (at least to a certain point).

Worth noting is the fact that the cases are open at the bottom, allowing them to accommodate a wide variety of docks and chargers, either from Apple or third-parties, without issue. If you’ve had problems in the past with cases that didn’t work with your accessories, the official Apple cases may be worth a look.

The cases themselves are quite thin, offering minimal bulk while still feeling like a premium product. They fit snugly without being so tight that removal becomes a struggle, and are easy to put on and take off when necessary.

fullsizerenderThe Apple iPhone 7 Silicone case is rigid with a reasonable amount of flexibility in the body. In the hand it has a very soft exterior feel that isn’t slippery, so you can comfortably use this case without worrying about it slipping from your fingers. The silicone cases are less likely to take damage if scuffed due to the material used, should be easier to clean if they get dirty, and likely wouldn’t discolour if they get damp.

The silicone cases cost $45 for the iPhone 7 and $49 for the iPhone 7 Plus, and are available in Pink Sand, Sea Blue, Ocean Blue, Stone, Cocoa, White, Midnight Blue, Black, and (PRODUCT)RED colours.

The Apple iPhone 7 Leather case is more rigid than the silicone case, with minimal flexibility in the body, but is still easy to put on and take of as needed. The case is made of tanned European leather which can appear slightly shiny depending on the colour chosen, although it isn’t actually shiny. In the hand it has a more textured feel which can feel somewhat slippery, although much like the Silicone case you don’t need to worry about losing your grip. Apple states that the leather will develop a patina over time, however this may not be visible depending on the colour chosen.

One significant feature exclusive to the iPhone 7 Leather case is the addition of machined aluminum buttons for the volume and sleep / wake functions on the phone. These buttons are nicely integrated into the case and provide a solid tactile feel when pressed. They are a significant improvement over the silicone case in this regard.

Note that the leather cases could potentially take damage if dropped or scuffed (particularly on rough surfaces), and could stain if they get wet, although the leather is coated so that shouldn’t be a major issue unless you really soak the case. Lighter coloured leather cases run the risk of accumulating dirt over time, but if you clean them occasionally then this shouldn’t be a problem either.

The leather cases cost $59 for the iPhone 7 or $65 for the iPhone 7 Plus, and come in Sea Blue, Storm Grey, Tan, Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, Black, and (PRODUCT)RED colours.

Overall, the Apple-branded cases are well made and not unreasonably priced, however due to the huge number cases on the market they are often perceived as pricey. That said, they are durable and designed specifically by Apple for the iPhone 7, so they should be viewed as a premium product, much like the iPhone itself.

My opinion is that the leather cases look and feel nicer without costing significantly more, and the machined aluminum buttons on the leather case are a significant upgrade, so if you’re going to spend $45 – $49 on a silicone case you might as well spend the extra $14 – $16 to get the leather case.

I have the Black Leather case on my Black iPhone 7 Plus and I think it looks awesome. I initially purchased the Silicone case but returned that a couple of days later, and I’m very happy with the case I have now.

The Apple iPhone 7 cases are available now at Apple Stores and via the Apple Online store. Keep in mind that Apple offers a 15 day return policy both in-store and online, so if you purchase a case and change your mind, you can always return it for a refund within that timeframe.

What do you think? Is an official Apple iPhone 7 case in your future? Let us know in the comments.

Survivor of Generation X. Lover of music, comics, food, travel, wine, tech, space & gadgets. IT generalist, C350 driver, Tesla fan, life-long Apple addict, occasional writer and ranter. Follow me on Twitter @swotam.

  • Muskoka kid

    I have the silicone case on the 7 and love it….

  • Always had the leather case for my iPhones…. love it.
    They are great quality case and now with the 7/7 plus, the button are even better.
    Can’t wait to get mine… I didn’t buy the case on launch…

    True, it’s a little pricey but so worth it 🙂

  • Daniel

    Great cases….. but for less then $20 on Amazon Spigen has a huge selection to choose from.

  • warpdrive

    Apple black leather case every other year like clockwork….. not sure if this years will fit next years though, with the major redesign rumours…

  • Bafoon

    so here is a question – why do people bother with black vs jet black, gold vs space grey, when they are going to lump it all in a case?

  • swotam

    Most of the people I know who ordered Jet Black don’t plan to use a case, or if they do they’ll get a clear plastic shell. But for the other colors, the main difference is whether the front is black or white, aside from that it doesn’t really matter much since you can’t see what color the phone is for the most part.

  • Kirk

    I don’t have this case as yet, but I won’t lie. I’ll probably end up buying it in the future. For now, I’m enjoying my spigen clear case, and black case for my matte black 7. Interesting how this years model has the aluminum machined buttons. I need to have a closer look at that in person..or maybe I won’t then I’ll probably end up buying it lol

  • Eric

    I bought the navy silicon.. then was like for $14 more.. i might as well get leather…

  • jay

    love cases from spigen a lot.