There are some ideas that spring up that just beg to be made but few have the drive to actually make those ideas become reality. Those who do choose to go through with their ideas usually need some sort of financial backing to really get it going. That’s where a site like Kickstarter comes in. It allows creative people to pitch their ideas to the community and collect funding for their projects. The Opena Case is one such project that combines the protectiveness of an iPhone case with the utility of a bottle opener. The Opena was designed and developed by Rob Ward and Chris Peters and has been featured on numerous blogs around the world already for it’s unique design, but does this little idea really work? Opena sent us a review unit to find out.

First the design of the case. It comes in either a smooth satin black or satin white. This obviously is to match whatever color iPhone you have. The case is made of a very hard and rigid polycarbonate/ABS plastic that has very little flex to it. The bottle opener is made of stainless steel and is about 2mm thick. It too is very hard and as much as I tried, I could not bend it. It slides in and out of the hard shell quite smoothly and locks in when it retracted or extended. This is a nice touch as you’ll know that it won’t accidentally slide out when you are not using it or retract while you are using it. The case has side openings for the mute switch and volume buttons while the top and bottom are an open design that allows access to the power button, headphone jack, speakers, mic, and charging/data port. The case itself is a bit heavy and that’s mainly due to the stainless steel bottle opener.

The bottle opener itself is quite nice. Like I said, it’s a 2mm thick stainless steel piece that feels very strong and solid. They somehow made it that when even using it to open bottles, there is zero flex between it and the plastic shell. It’s almost like its all 1 continuous unit. They also designed it where if you open the bottle with the iPhone facing up, and fizz from your drink will not accidentally splash on your actual iPhone. It’s a very good design.

Installing the Opena is as simple as just placing your iPhone into the top and clicking it into place. It has grooves in it that allow it to clamp on to the groove formed by the antenna band on the iPhone. Because the case itself is so hard and rigid, once it’s clicked into place, it’s not going anywhere. In fact, this was one area where I was a bit shocked and disappointed with. You see, I’m the type who really likes to swap out cases constantly. I do not commit to any 1 case because there are so many really good cases out there and I like to switch back and forth depending on my mood or need. The Open doesn’t really allow you to do that. The case is so hard that once it’s on, it’s almost impossible to take off. There is no simple way of taking the Ooena off. I literally spent half an hour trying to pry this thing off with my bare hands before finally giving up and taking a small flat head screw driver to wedge it between the case and my iPhone to force it off. That’s not something I ever want to do again as it left a small scratch on my antenna band.

The inside of the case is also another area that I’d like to address. There is no padding in it. Most cases of this type that I’ve see have at least some felt lining it or a silicone sleeve. This keeps the plastic from touching your iPhone and possible scratching up the rear of it. The Opena doesn’t have that. Your iPhone will be touching portions of the plastic. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that as I know most of you try really hard to keep your iPhone scratch free and looking pristine. I do recommend using a rear protector as a precaution. On the plus side, it does not come into contact with the bottle opener or any of the internal mechanisms which is good.

The Opena is a great idea, but the execution needs to be a bit more refined especially when it comes to ease of removal. I really like the whole idea of being able to slip the Opena on before a party and being able to just slide out a bottle opener when I need to crack open a cold beer for myself and others, but I don’t want to go through the hassle again of trying to take it off after. Don’t get me wrong, the fit of this case is excellent and fits your iPhone like a glove. It looks good, it’s really sleek, has a great function, and feels great in your hands. The only problem is the difficulty associated with removal.

Those who do not constantly switch cases however will really like how well made the Opena is and how well it fits once it’s on. It’s solid in your hands and is actually feels quite slim even with the added thickness. The price of the Opena is $39.95 AUS which is roughly about $40 US. You can pick one up on Opena’s website here and will ship anywhere around the world.

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