Thin Is In
Update: the Karbon S case DOES NOT work with the Apple 30 pin USB to Lightning adapter. The case prevents the lightning pin to seat fully in the phone so it won't charge or connect. This means you won't be able to use the adapter to connect to older cables of docks.
As a photographer, cyclist, and outdoor enthusiast I'm hard on my gear but I like things to be simple. The last thing I want is more bulk, more weight, and more to worry about. Once in a while something comes along and just does it right.
If thin is in, than this is it. If you're like me, you may want to pay attention because this is not your average slim case. The Evutec Karbon S case for iPhone (I got mine at the Apple Store) is about as light and thin as you're going to get without going in your birthday suit.
Think of this as everything the Otterbox Defender is not. At just 0.7mm thick, the Karbon S is a mere shell to wrap your iPhone for scratch and wear protection. When added to your phone, it feels like it's almost not there. It adds no perceptible weight to your device but adds piece of mind and some needed texture. There is a small bit of height added to the front rim which does provide some face down protection for your phone. Overall and back protection comes from the case wrapping around the full circumference of the iPhone. There are large spaces removed along the top and bottom edge for access to ports and buttons. I prefer this so that the phone will still work on charging docks or with the adapter (iPhone 30 USB to lightning cables.) There's nothing worse than having to take your phone in and out of a case in order to charge it. That seems irrational and only wears out the case faster.
Along the side of the phone (seen in pic) there are small cutouts for the volume and silencer buttons. Pretty common for any slim shell case. On the back there is a cutout for the camera and flash. Anything revolutionary? No. Exactly what you'd expect. The cutouts are well sized and just as big as they need to be for functionality but keeping the phone well covered.
Branding is small and tone on tone. It's 5 grey tear drops on a black and grey fibre. Very subtle. Extra points for that.
Don't let the 'Karbon' name or the appearance fool you. This is not a carbon fibre case. Instead, the case is made up of Dupont Kevlar fibre in a weave pattern. At a glance it looks like a 3K carbon fibre weave. Evutec has covered the fibres with a coating that adds a soft touch and a bit of tactile grip to the case. It feels good in your hand and I don't feel like it's going to slip out either. The phone with the case on still slides easily in and out of your pocket but hides itself well due to the lack of added bulk. Everyone doesn't have to know what phone your pocket is in by looking at you 50 feet away. When I looked at the Karbon S in store, the case wasn't as rigid as I had expected but it seems to gain stiffness back once it's wrapped around the iPhone. Evutec claims the Karbon S and it's material is 5x stronger than steel at a fraction of the weight. I have no way to verify that nor any plans to destroy the case trying to find out. What I do know is that Kevlar is used for it's strength but also for it's vibration dampening characteristics. In the world of cycling, custom fabricators are now adding layers of Kevlar to their carbon layups for vibration dampening. What does this do for your phone? Maybe not much, but it likely adds more shock absorbing ability over using carbon fibre.
Not the cheapest case on the market, but I think it's got more value than paying $40 for a cheap piece of coloured plastic covered in hideous logos. The craftsmanship seems to be a conscious consideration. Fibre products require hand built construction using molds and laminates to create the bonding between fibres. The finishing needs to be done by hand to smooth them out. The appearance of the finish on the case is good. No stray fibres, no rough edges. Not bad.
For the past few years I've been using various thin wood covered cases on my phone, but I think those days are long gone. They will never be as durable as Kevlar.
A great case for the minimalist. Well made, well designed and spot on. The downside? Now I want one for all my devices. If you put a value to the details, this is a case you should go get now.