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Suit up an iPhone for occupations and occasions

iPhones have become important business tools. If nothing else, they offer a great way to check e-mail while you’re away from the office.

But the tool of choice for smartphone business users can always use a carrying case. We look at four here from UNIEA. Think of them as uniforms or costumes for helping your iPhone go to work.

At the top of the price line is the U-Suit Premium, built out of leather with an open face to use the phone while wearing the suit. This is the kind of dress-up you might want if you’re taking a new client to lunch and expect to answer a call, or make a point of checking a text during the meeting. I look ed the Intreccio leather, a classy grain pattern. You don’t get the sense that the iPhone is much protected here, but it adds a subtle, debonair look. $34.95 retail.

Next on the cost path is the U-Suit Hip Pop. Also built of leather, this belt-ready case has a tight profile against the waist. The cover has a clean magnetic snap to it (or at least it seemed magnetic, and sturdy.) The Hip Pop was my favorite in the rotation, since it was protective and made carrying the phone easier. The fit is a little snug, so this case might not be a good choice if you’re expecting to whip out the iPhone for calling. But the combination of function and design makes it among the best cases I’ve used. $29.95.

Another two cases came in the review pack, but at $19.95 retail these models didn’t show off as well. For everyday use and quick access on a call, the U-Skin gets a shot at its price. It’s slim, like all of these cases, but aside from an attractive molded design on the back there’s not much extraordinary here. The iPhone’s earphone jack is exposed, or “open for easy use,” as are the speaker, USB and mic ports on the bottom. $19.95. Finally we asked to look at the U-Pouch, a leather case that you slide the phone into. This one was just too tight for the fit of the 3GS to use. Nice execution on the leather, and definitely the slimmest. But too slim for me. Perhaps there’s a manufacturing issue here, but the packaging and the Web site definitely says this product is sized for the 3GS. Screen protection on the open U-Skin and U-Suit are provided by the standard sticky film. If you’re not used to having something over your screen, this takes some patience — it seems to develop a bubble around the edges pretty quickly. Nothing’s perfect, and this bit of the package keeps your iPhone’s glass from getting roughed up. These are designer-level products, for the most part, so they can dress up your iPhone. If you’re looking for ultra protection I’d recommend the OtterBox line, although by the time you get a phone inside one of those it has a three-quarter inch profile and the sound has been muffled. But you don’t have to fret over water on that magic earphone jack with an OtterBox. It’s just that people might ask you what that plastic box is doing bulging in your pocket. You can order the products on the Uniea Web site, a few pop up on Amazon.com. Retail outlets in some states in the US and the Canadian provinces, as well as other online outlets, are on the Uniea Web site. And oh yeah, Uniea sent samples of these for me to review, so that’s the only compensation for our report here. And now the FTC is happy. As for me, I’m pleased with the Hip Pop. TAGS: None

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