Luscious leather: Twelve South RelaxedLeather iPhone case is beautiful and practical

Twelve South RelaxedLeather iPhone Case. Photo ©2017 Steven Sande

Twelve South RelaxedLeather iPhone Case. Photo ©2017 Steven Sande

So many iPhone cases, so little time. Not that long ago, Dennis Sellers reviewed the Wally Case wallet case from Charleston, SC-based Distil Union. Today we're looking at another leather wallet case from another design house in Charleston -- Twelve South. The case? The new RelaxedLeather for iPhone 7 ($39.99 without pockets, $49.99 with pockets).

Design

The RelaxedLeather is hands-down one of the best-looking leather iPhone cases I've had the pleasure to review. Twelve South uses hand burnished leather for a rich look that only gets better with time as the leather softens and gets slightly darker. 

The finishes on the RelaxedLeather are very classy: black, cognac (brown), dried herb (sage green), marsala (red wine), and taupe (tan). As a connoisseur of fine wines, I had to go with marsala...but it was a tough choice. 

The five colors available for the RelaxedLeather case

The five colors available for the RelaxedLeather case

The inside of the case is lined with a soft microfiber, a bit different from the usual hard molded polycarbonate that you find on many other cases. On the back the version with pockets you'll find two slots -- just perfect for carrying a driver's license and credit card. There's subtle stitching just below those pockets.

The RelaxedLeather uses passthrough buttons for the iPhone 7/7 Plus power button and volume toggle -- and believe it or not, they're covered with leather, not plastic. The mute switch and bottom of the case are open, and there's a large opening for the iPhone 7 Plus dual cameras.

Function

The case is quite easy to install and take off, perfect if you change cases often or want to clean your iPhone. The passthrough buttons have a nice snappy response; some other cases I've tested have make it difficult to push the iPhone buttons but that's not the situation here. 

There's a slight "lip" (about 1mm, according to Twelve South) that sticks up around three sides of the case, giving your iPhone some protection from a face-down drop. 

One thing I kind of like is that there's a slight "give" when holding the RelaxedLeather case -- it's totally unlike the vast majority of iPhone cases and it gives it a very unique feel. For those of us that are used to having iPhone cases that are hard to the touch, the soft leather and this subtle flex are almost comforting.

The pockets (or card slots) are a bit tight at first, but I'm sure that they'll get more play to them in the future as the leather softens. 

A caveat to those who are a bit obsessive about their iPhone cases: leather is a natural material and it will show some scratches and change color over time. I actually like that trait of leather; I have a WaterField Designs Finn Wallet that I've had for years; it started as a light brown, it's now a darker distinguished brown and has age lines -- just like me. 

Conclusion

Style-conscious iPhone 7 owners shouldn't wait; get a Twelve South RelaxedLeather case today. It's reasonably priced for a deluxe accessory, well made, and will only get better with age.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★