Sunday, March 26th, 2017

TurtleCell iPhone6 Case -review


September 2015 – At the CTIA Super Mobility 2015, there were a large number of providers of cases for the latest generation of cell phones. Focusing on the largest installed base models, the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy line. As a result, standing out in the crowd is a challenge, as the all the phone case manufacturers have to fit the same model. The primary differences are injection molded vs machined, full case or just the rear case for the phone, and additional features beyond drop protection.

Turtle Cell Case for iPhone6 with HD earbuds

As a company that brought a feature based case product to the market, is the new TurtleCase for the iPhone6. This product is being released mid September 2015, and will be followed up shortly by one for the Galaxy S6. The phone case has several differentiating features – it is made with a mixed polycarbonite & ABS base material in 4 colors – red, gold, silver, and black. It is a self standing case that covers the back of the phone and provides access to all buttons and charging port. The case has an integrated tilt out “kickstand” for using the phone in landscape mode. There is space in the design to support any preferred screen saver (glass, polycarbonite, film, etc) that is preferred by the user.

The key new feature is an HD audio targeted earbud system. The phone case has a pair of single crossover neodymium magnet earbuds integrated into the case. The earbuds are on a 42 inch retractable cable that self-coils into the 7 mm thickness of the case. The earbuds have a magnetic external connection to hold the two earbuds together during the retracting and extension process.

The use of the neodymium magnets allows the design to support full CD quality playback at over 96dB with a +/- 3 dB accurracy. The earbuds do not have extended bass support with a second driver set, so it is a fairly large consumer product frequency response from 20hz up to 20Khz. When playback was tested with an non-iPhone source the units provided full 16bit playback from CD material. The earbuds also showed clear phase distinction, which is typical of neodymium magnet earbuds in the high end consumer range. The sound quality, in a stereo environment also was very clear for high resolution content such as with un-compressed WAV or high resolution (24b/97Khz) sampled music.

The headphones were tested on a planer surround material set for gaming and VR applications. In this mode, the single driver environment worked OK for providing directional information. For a spacial 3D system, the phasing response without additional drives in the earbuds was limited even with training sounds. While the system provides a very clear sound, on a par with Monster Turbo earbuds, the Shure SE2xx series, Beats type products, they should not be considered in-ear monitors on the level of the Shure SE8xx, Sennheiser 8xx series, Ultimate Ears, and the AudioFly AF160 which all support over 110dB of dynamic range and high harmonics through 22K-23Khz of response.

In several test tracks, the earbuds were surprisingly accurate on sound placement compared to other devices in this price point. The devices include a built in in-line microphone and a control switch for the music playback. The control is a single button control that supports play, pause, skip tracks as well as answer/hangup a call. These audio features are available when the headphone engage switch is put into the upper position. When retracted to the down position, the phone reverts to standard mode, so talking with the phone to up to your ear or in speakerphone are possible. The headphone socket connection priority over the bluetooth connectivity (for use in cars) is configurable in softwear in the phone so no adjustments need to be made to carry the phone to the car.

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