iPhone 4S: Speck PixelSkin Case is Solid

| Quick Look Review

The Speck PixelSkin case for the iPhone 4/4S falls in that range between the very soft silicone cases and the dual-layer cases with a hard plastic shell. The material is a little stiffer, doesn’t pick up much debris, yet the pixelated surface provides an excellent grip.

Like the OtterBox Impact case reviewed earlier, this case simply wraps around the iPhone. However, the edges are just slightly stiffer, so one doesn’t have that feeling that the edges will constantly pull away from the edge — a sensation that annoys me. Also, the material feels a little thicker and harder. This provides more protection and also keeps it from having that soft, fuzzy, cloth-like feel that can pick up lint. Despite the material having a slightly harder feel, the checkerboard/pixelated pattern with grooves provides for a really good grip.

Speck PixelSkin

Using the Case

My wife preferred this case from all that she saw in a local Apple retail store. Besides black, shown here, blue is also available. When silicone cases are all black, they have to be well designed to look good, and this one does. I’ve also handled the pink ones (but that may have been a PixelSkin HD). Anyway, the brightly colored ones look even better in my opinion. Missing, however, from this case are 1) a screen protector and 2) an aperture for the Apple logo — something the OtterBox Impact thoughtfully has.

Speck PixelSkin 2

Packaging and Documentation

The packaging is very simple: a paper box and a plastic insert to keep the case from deforming and show that it’s for an iPhone. Without a screen protector kit, there’s no real need for any documentation: just slide the iPhone into the case, and you’re done. As I said in the other case reviews, the packaging makes it fairly easy to pull out and inspect the case without destroying the package. I also noted the wry sense of humor on the package: “5 DPi never looked so good.”

Speck PixelSkin 3

It’s a Wrap

For a naked silicone case in black, this case looks awfully good — and even better in the brighter colors. The case won’t slip off or deform easily. My wife has been using it for several weeks, and it always looks fresh and clean. (Probably because she doesn’t go near my office.) The design of the ports is well conceived: it has openings that are well designed and rubber buttons over the volume controls to make them easy to press. The mute button accommodates both iPhone 4 and 4S.

The only negative I can see is that the case is a bit more expensive than I expected. The OtterBox Impact comes with a screen protector, has an aperture for the Apple Logo, and is priced at just US$19.95. (But is also has some negatives.) This PixelSkin is a better case, but it’s more expensive at $24.95.

If you don’t like the harder plastic shell used on the dual-layer cases, this is the best soft silicone case I’ve see so far.

[Author note: Previously, I mistakenly used photos from a PixelSkin HD.]

Pixel Skin 5


Product: PixelSkin HD

Company: Speck Products

List Price: US$29.95



Good looking, good grip, stays fairly clean.


Expensive. No aperture for Apple logo.

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JM, I agree that this case and many others are overpriced. Any iPhone or iPT case over $20, IMO, is too much.

Also, I’d rather have better protection than a logo opening.


I like these reviews. I?m still sticking with softer silicone as per your review of the OtterBox Impact case. It would be perfect if next iteration the button were exposed.

Also, I?d rather have better protection than a logo opening.

Agreed, ibuck. A little draughty on the backside. We have Long Johns up North and one wants to take care out in a strong winter wind getting back from the outhouse.

Lee Dronick

We have Long Johns up North and one wants to take care out in a strong winter wind getting back from the outhouse.

The case designers could take from the designers of long johns and put a flap in the back.

I got my new iPhone 4S on Friday and went shopping for a case yesterday.  I like to dock my iPhone and after shopping in the Apple Store I didn’t find anything that tripped my trigger. So as with my old iPhone, I bought a Skech case from the kiosk outside the store. It will connect in a universal dock that doesn’t have an insert or I can slide off the bottom of the case dock it with an insert. It has a satin/mat texture that feels good and doesn’t slip in the hand. It also has a gold to red gradient color that looks very nice. How durable the finish will be remains to be seen, my old one got worn, but the case held up.


The three top pictures are not of the PixelSkin HD, but of the old Pixelskin (larger squares and bulkier than the HD version), so which version is this review about?

John Martellaro

Garion.  Oops. I used the wrong photo.  The review is of the standard PixelSkin.


Garion.? Oops. I used the wrong photo.? The review is of the standard PixelSkin.

Thanks for clearing that up. I wasn’t aware that Speck was still making the old “non HD” PixelSkin.

I used to have the Pixelskin HD on my iPhone 4 and was very pleased with it.

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