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A tale of two leather cases

Thoughts on Apple's leather cases and Mujjo's alternatives

There's something about leather phone cases that make them a popular choice, even with the many different (and cheaper) alternatives. Apple now supplies its own leather cases for the iPhone with its first ever folio case for the iPhone X.

Aesthetics vs practical utility

Apple's leather is crafted from what Apple calls "specially tanned and finished European leather" and Apple says that it will develop a natural patina over time. That's one thing people don't realise - unless you keep it in a cloth bag all the time, there will be scuffs and marks.

From experience, the previous leather cases for the iPhones have proven mostly durable but despite the European leather moniker, doesn't have that leather scent. Is it by design? Is there some tanning process that leaves it smelling not much different from PU? It's hard to tell. The thing about Apple's own leather cases are they're sturdy enough, practical enough but there's not much to recommend them otherwise. The sub-RM400 price for the iPhone X leather folio is also painful on the wallet, considering I can probably buy 2-3 cases for the money.

Phone case maker Mujjo, a Dutch brand, recently went through a design retweaking of its cases and are a nice alternative to those preferring non-folio leather cases. The pricing is close to Apple's, relying on a vegetable tanning process for its leather. Unlike Apple, Mujjo choses to reinforce the case with a material inbetween the microfiber lining and leather wrapped back. It's a different take on Apple's solid leather case, but it gives the case an advantage durability-wise.

I have to say Mujjo's fit is on the tight side - which is not a bad thing. It has cutouts at the bottom for the charging port and speakers but the volume and right-side button of the iPhone X are covered by the case, though the mute toggle button isn't. It does give an odd feel to the buttons and it's a matter of personal taste whether you can live with them.

The advantage of the iPhone X folio case is it allows for more pockets, but due to the more flimsy nature of the cover, scuffing is a little too easy. Mujjo instead has one pocket on the outside, which fits, at most 2-3 business cards. The advantage is it maintains a sleek profile, the disadvantage is of course you won't be able to stuff as much inside but the point of the case is to maintain that minimalist, lightweight profile so why fill it up?

If you prefer the full leather experience and don't mind paying more, Apple's are serviceable but require more care as the leather case just aren't as durable. Mujjo's are a nice alternative if you want something that will age well and take more of a beating, as well as offer added protection to your side buttons.

Apple's leather cases can be bought online on the official Apple store and start from RM209 while Mujjo can be purchased online from RM185 on its official website or, if you prefer, Etsy.