Elago S4 iPhone Case Review: A pleasant surprise

The Elago S4 is case for the iPhone 4 (and iPhone 4S) that aims to provide protection from scratches without making your iPhone too bulky. While the MSRP is $20, you’ll often find this case riced at just $10.99, helping to make the Elago S4 consistently among the top sellers at Amazon. Is this a case of price trumping quality or perfect value/quality mix. Read or Elago S4 review to find out.

The Elago S4 packaging is minimalist at its finest. Limited graphics over a frosted clear packaging allows a good look at the case inside.

Elago S4 iPhone Case Review

On the back of the Elago S4, they borrow some design cues from Apple and the iPhone specifically. The S4 branding follows the iPhone 4. Underneath is the company name with the tag “Designed by elago in California”. Sure it’s a bit tacky, but in some ways it actually works. When reviewing cases, I often talk about cases “being an extension of the iPhone”. This is perfect example.

Elago S4

As a manufacturer, you can get away with creative uses of typeface. Not so much when using company logos, but the circular cutout on the back allows the Elago S4 to proudly display the Apple logo and will allow you to do the same. Along with the case, the company also includes a circular protective material to keep that Apple logo pristine. This design certainly isn’t new. It will appeal to some and some not so much. I’m in the latter group. Sure they offer a way to protect the back glass against scuffs, but the look of the case design seems flawed to me with this huge circular cutout.

Elago S4 iPhone 4

The Elago S4 is a case for those who require minimal protection. This translates to allow for access to all the main ports, outside of the microSIM. A generous cutout at the bottom will allow use of most any third party car charger and dock. Note: We did not test this with the Apple dock. These snap cases do come off with ease, should you need to do so on occasion.

Fit & Finish
The case fit perfectly, if not a big snug due to my having an iPhone screen protector installed on both the front and back. The sides of the case are flush with the display. There is no lip to prevent the display from coming in contact with a surface should you place the iPhone flat, something you probably shouldn’t do anyway. The tight grip on the iPhone would likely come in handy should your iPhone have an unfortunate meeting with the ground and the curved edges are perfectly cut to match the iPhone 4S.

Elago S4 bottom

The Elago S4 is constructed of hard glossy plastic and I immediately liked the feel and looks. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but the glossy surface felt different than others I’ve tested, in a good way. It’s still a bit slippery given the glossy. The color tested was coral blue, which when paired with a white iPhone 4S felt so Miami Vice that I was checking my closet for a white suit before firing up my Ferrari. I was never able to find that suit and the closest I’ll get to a Ferrari is in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. This also happens to be the same color made so popular by Tiffany’s. There are a number of color choices to suit your preference.

Elago S4 iPhone Case Review: Pros & Cons


  • Nice low-cost, high-quality ratio
  • Finish feels good, looks great
  • Large cutouts for access to key functions of the iPhone
  • Works with screen protectors
  • Includes logo protector
  • Typography design cues borrowed from Apple are nicely done


  • Logo cutout detracts from overall design of the case
  • Zero screen protection
  • Case bezel is flush with display

Priced at just $10.99, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the quality and overall design of the Elago S4. Available in a wide array of colors, those who don’t mind the circular cutout exposing the Apple logo should consider the Elago S4, a case that’s high in quality and low in price. That’s certainly a good combo.

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