InkCase i7 Review : iPhone gets another face

  • E Ink Display is swift and decent
  • Displays images sent from iPhone
  • Adds relatively small bulk to iPhone
  • Protects iPhone, doesn't just carry E Ink display
  • Displays PDFs for easy reading
  • Uses its own unique charging cable
  • Software could be slightly more intuitive

This week I've been working with both versions of the InkCase i7 – one for the smaller iPhone, one for the Plus. Both are from the newest generation of e-ink case from the folks at Oaxis, who've made these cases for the following people: "adventurers, bookworms, the businessperson, selfie-takers, and everyone else." Thus far I've found the case to be not only interesting, but helpful and downright fun, too.

The case itself checks off my list for needs in a smartphone case – it's protective, it's sufficiently grippy, and it doesn't make the phone too big to fit in my pocket. I'm fairly forgiving when it comes to big cases, but there is a limit – and this InkCase i7 model is well within my bounds for size. The protective elements are here, which means I can move on to the more unique features.

NOTE: This case adds 4.5mm / 0.18in to the back of the iPhone – which means it is not relegated to the protective layer. If you're all about that protection without anything special added on, I recommend the Silicone Case straight from Apple. At this moment there's simply nothing better when it comes to basic protection, grip, and style.

The E Ink display on this device is a Carta 1.2 E Ink panel. It's 540 x 960 in its "Plus" iteration – which means its around 217PPI. The smaller case is 4.3-inches while the larger "Plus" screen is 5.2-inches. It's sharp enough to display some rather sharp images and well above and beyond sharp enough to read text with.

The app that pairs with the case connects with Bluetooth, and the Bluetooth connection is swift. The only time the phone will really need to connect to the case – or the only times I've needed to so far – are in sending images and PDF files for reading. There's also a "realtime selfie" mode which displays what the device sees from its back-facing camera in a very strange vision – which allows the back-facing camera to be used as a "selfie" camera.

Much like the iPhone itself, the case is resistant to water, and dust ingress. The case is certified IP67 – which is the same as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus itself. IP means International Protection (from the IEC) while 6 means "no ingress of dust, complete protection against contact (dust tight)" for 8 hour periods. Don't leave your case or your iPhone out in the desert longer than that. The 7 in the rating means it can be underwater for up to 30 minutes up to 1-meter deep.

This device needs to be charged on its own – and it does include its own unique charging cable, which is generally a bummer. I've got so many different cables I'm surprised I don't lose contact with the vast majority of them on a regular basis – I'm not a fan of needing more. On the other hand, this cable connects with magnets, which makes it intuitive enough to not be a deal-breaker.

This device allows the user to sync with the iPhone to attain to-do lists as well as the current time, date, and a basic look at the weather forecast. These elements shown on the case instead of the main display of my iPhone should be saving me some battery time. I've not noticed a MAJOR change in my daily phone-checking experience though – on the contrary – I've been using my phone MORE now that I have this case.

Because I can use the case to read a book, and because I can change the picture on the case whenever I like, I can't stop using it. It's too entertaining. Thus far I've found the whole setup to be more of a fun experience than a battery-saver.

This case can be attained through the Oaxis homepage which will likely lead to the Kickstarter for the newest version of the device for around $89 USD. That's for the "Plus" version of the case, while there's also a standard version for the smaller iPhone. This is just the newest version of the E Ink case collection for the iPhone as made by Oaxis – they've been doing this for a while!

NOTE: This case should not be mistaken for the Popslate E Ink case we looked at back in 2015. That wasn't quite the end product we'd hoped for. This new Oaxis-made case is far more of a real deal than that other piece of equipment ended up being.