There are usually only so many ways to make an iPhone case before it seems to just be a rehash or slightly different spin on an existing product. One of the companies that seems to be an exception to this rule is Rokform. But, being an accessory company founded by the owners of Two Brothers Racing, an aftermarket manufacturer for the powersports industry, you might expect a little innovation and unconventional design/styling. Their latest product, the Rokbed V3 polycarbonate case for the iPhone 4/4S, definitely showcases some of this unconventional design. What makes the Rokbed V3 case so different? Read on to find out.
The Rokbed V3 case is available in a slew of colors, 13 to be exact. It'll run you $39 over at ApexCase which were awesome enough to send us the smoke colored Rokbed V3 case. Upon opening, inside the package you’ll find the Rokbed V3 case, a wrist lanyard, and one of the components of Rokform’s unique new accessory system, their Remote Mounting System (RMS); A puck-shaped adhesive mount that interlocks with the back of the case, allowing you to have a quick-release phone mount anywhere you wish to stick the RMS puck.
The case itself is a polycarbonate, two-piece slider style case. The large upper portion of the case has a very open, “airy” design, with several large cutout areas across the back and sides, revealing some of the iPhone’s glass back and metal antenna band. The central cutout area surrounding the iPhone’s “Apple” logo is also one half of the quick connect locking mechanism for the RMS accessory. Also in the back of the case there’s a small rubber non-slip grip insert to keep your phone in place when lying on a slick surface. There is one long cutout on the side to accommodate the volume buttons and vibrate switch (iPhone 4 and 4S compatible).
Up top there is one cutout that spans nearly the entire width of the phone to allow for access to the headphone port and sleep/awake button, with a slight recess for the later that makes the button very easy to press. Even though this opening is very long, it’s also somewhat deep on the headphone port end, and some of the bigger headphone connectors out there may have trouble fitting. Anything similar in size to the stock Apple earbuds will fit fine, but I did run into incompatibility with a pair of higher-end Westone in-ear headphones I tested.
Along the bottom there is also one large cutout, encompassing both the dock connector and the speaker and mic flanking it. Oddly enough, this cutout is much shallower than its top counterpart, and should be compatible with all dock connectors. I even had no trouble docking the phone with the case installed in all of my speaker/charging docks. Even if you had an incompatibility here, this is a slider style case, and the bottom easily slides off the case to fit in any sized iPhone dock. As far as fit of the case is concerned, once installed, there is zero wiggle or play anywhere.
The case does form a lip around the front screen glass for a nice amount of “lay on the table” design. Since this lip barely touches just the outer edge of the glass itself, this should be compatible with some (but maybe not all) screen protectors. I don’t use any screen shield myself, so I can’t verify which brands would work (or not).
Even though the styling of the case (particularly the openness of the back) does venture pretty dramatically from most slider style cases on the market, the really unique part of the Rokbed V3’s design centers around the quick lock mechanism in the center of the case. It’s this feature that Rokform has built a whole accessory ecosystem around. Some of the accessories already available for the Rokbed V3 system are: the included RMS puck mount, a tripod adapter to mount your iPhone to any standard camera tripod, a sportclip (belt clip), a bike mount, and even a removable bottle opener (the Rokmeister)! In actual use, this quick lock system is ingenious. The connection is rock solid with any of the accessories attached, so there should be no fear of accidental disconnections when using it. It’s extremely nice to be able to have an accessory or function available when you need it, but be able to remove it and get it out of the way when not in use or you want to go as streamlined as possible.
Another little clever design that Rokform incorporated into this case is the non-slip rubber pad in the back. It’s removable, and multiple colors are offered so that you can further customize your case. A magnet-containing version is even offered, allowing you to retain the non-slip functionality of the stock pad, but have a VERY strong rare earth magnet to hold your entire phone to any metal surface. This thing will easily hold the iPhone’s weight in place in any orientation on any metal surface. Just another little thing that shows that the Rokform designers were shooting for maximum functionality when designing this case.
In closing, even though the styling is certainly not conventional, the absolute utility of this case has really made it grow on me. With none of the accessories attached, the Rokbed V3 is a slim, yet protective slider case that actually feels good in the hand. But once you start to fully utilize the quick lock feature and all of the accessories, it becomes a LOT easier to like the aesthetic styling of the Rokbed V3, if you don’t already. The only negative issues I’ve found with the Rokbed V3 are the incompatibility with oversized headphone connectors, and the fact that the open design of the back could allow scratching of the back glass if you’re not somewhat careful and dirt/dust accumulation could occur. But, the cutouts on the back are deep enough that most of the things that could scratch your phone will be kept away from the back glass, and a quick removal of the case and wipe down of the phone will prevent dust build up on the glass.