Clear Case by dbramante1928 – the iPhone case that won’t yellow
Product test

Clear Case by dbramante1928 – the iPhone case that won’t yellow

Martin Jungfer
10.5.2024
Translation: Eva Francis

I tested the Iceland iPhone case by dbramante1928 and found no weaknesses. On top of that, the Danish brand’s sustainability story is impressive.

Smartphone cases have been the subject of long discussions in the editorial team. There are those who think phones don’t need a case at all, those who have a cheap one and those who’ll happily spend some money on quality. Whether it’s made of transparent plastic, other synthetic materials or leather, a protective case by a well-known manufacturer will easily cost several times more than a no-name one.

But what do you actually get for your money? About a year ago, I decided to find out, so I bought a transparent silicone case by Danish brand dbramante1928 for my iPhone 14 Pro Max. Cases by dbramante1928 cost as much as original Apple cases, but the brand’s more invested in sustainability.

In my long-term test, I was particularly interested in two aspects:

  1. What’s really behind the sustainability promise?
  2. How good is the quality?

If you’re only interested in the quality, feel free to skip the first bit. But I recommend you read the part on sustainability, too, as I’ve rarely seen a company actually deliver on their sustainability promise to this extent.

1. Sustainability: the devil’s in the detail

The dbramante1928 brand, which manufactures cases for tablets, smartphones and notebooks as well as sleeves and screen protectors, has been committed to protecting the environment since 2019. Among other things, their smartphone cases are at least partially made from recycled material. They also claim to be 100 per cent recyclable. Despite the goal of being CO2-neutral by 2050, dbramante’s range includes leather wallets. On the packaging of the product samples for my test, there’s a green bar with the words «Clima Positive Company». Hasn’t Apple just said goodbye to leather in order to save CO2?

So how does all of that fit together? I make an appointment with two people who agree to give me some background information. One of them is Vasilios Katsiakis, Country Manager Suisse at dbramante. He starts the conversation with a shocking figure: one billion smartphone cases are thrown away worldwide every year. That’s millions of tonnes in plastic waste. Some of my fellow editors are also to blame for this, I think, but keep it to myself.

In the early years, dbramante was by no means a model student when it came to the environment. When it was founded in 2011, the company initially mainly sold leather bags. But then, as it says on their website, «with a global climate disaster knocking at all of our doors, we wanted to take our company’s sustainability work to the next level». In fact, the company made sustainability the core of their production process.

The second person I talk to is Kristian Gunvald. As Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), he’s responsible for sustainability at dbramante. In our video call, he explains in detail what the obstacles are to making the company as sustainable as possible. Manufacturing smartphone cases in Denmark would be nice, he says, but getting recycled plastic in Europe is almost impossible. What’s more, there’s a lack of expertise for production in Europe, and the costs are also much higher. Kristian puts it in plain language:

We’d have to do reverse industrial espionage. When it comes to processing plastics, the Chinese have a knowledge advantage of decades.

Nevertheless, dbramante manages to ensure the cases in the Greenland series are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic. Across the entire range, the proportion of recycled plastic is about 70 per cent. Kristian has a certificate for every kilogramme of recycled plastic, which shows exactly which old devices were shredded to obtain the recycled material. This means, any owner of a dbramante case could, in theory, find out if the case they bought had a previous life as, for instance, a Samsung Galaxy plastic case.

In 2022, despite the challenges, part of the production was moved to Denmark. This is where smartphone cases have been manufactured ever since, primarily those for business customers. The proximity between the production site and customers means dbramante can deliver orders faster. And shorter distances mean less CO2.

Part of many renowned sustainability programmes

dbramante achieves further CO2 savings by shipping cases that are still manufactured in China without packaging. This means more of them fit into one container and the company ships less air. The cases are then boxed in Denmark and shipped from there to customers, including the Digitec Galaxus AG warehouse.

dbramante is particularly proud to be the most sustainable brand in the world today – at least when it comes to smartphone cases. This isn’t an official title awarded by any independent institution, but what dbramante says about itself. However, not without reason. The Danes work together with all renowned organisations active in the field of sustainability. Here’s an overview.

Climate-neutral production of leather sleeves

In some areas of the company, dbramante already is climate neutral. One of them is leather products. This is surprising, as cows aren’t exactly known for saving the climate. The Danes achieve CO2 neutrality thanks to their own production site in Calcutta, India. The energy for the factory comes from solar panels on the roof. Above all, however, the leather is produced by hand in a traditional way, which means no large machines that require a lot of energy and water are needed.

dbramante has its own factory in India where the leather goods are produced.
dbramante has its own factory in India where the leather goods are produced.
Source: dbramante

2. Quality: a clear case that stays clear

I confess that I’ve bought cheap cases myself in the past. After a few weeks, the transparent cases I went for usually proved their weaknesses in two areas:

  • They no longer held properly onto the smartphone frame.
  • The initially clear, transparent case had become noticeably yellowish.

That’s why I paid particular attention to these aspects when I tested the Iceland snap-on hard case by dbramante.

Sure, this transparent case makes my iPhone Pro Max look and feel «fatter» i.e. heavier than it already is. Even more so than a cheap case, which often feels only slightly thicker than a condom. The dbramante case adds 5.5 mm to the width, which means it adds a 3-mm layer of protection on each side.

The height of my phone increases by 1.4 mm. This is mainly due to the edge, which rises by 2.5 mm around the display. This design means the Iceland case doesn’t only protect my phone against side impacts, but also avoids scratches on the display when you place the iPhone face down on the table. It also features raised edges around the camera lenses on the back.

The outer edge is raised to effectively protect the display.
The outer edge is raised to effectively protect the display.
Source: Christian Walker

After almost a year, the case fits almost as tightly as it did on day one. I tested this by ordering a brand new Iceland case and comparing the old and the new one. Now that I see both cases side by side, I realise what the old case has already been through. It has light scratches on the back – caused by the keys in my pocket. The corner at the top right brings back memories of dropping my iPhone on the road when it slipped out of my cold hands. Though involuntarily, I’ve proved that the all-round protection mentioned in the product description works. Overall, however, the scratches are hardly noticeable and the case looks as good as new.

I recently dropped my iPhone onto its top right corner. It didn’t get damaged. And the iPhone case got away with a barely visible scratch.
I recently dropped my iPhone onto its top right corner. It didn’t get damaged. And the iPhone case got away with a barely visible scratch.
Source: Christian Walker

A direct comparison of the old and new case also shows if the material has yellowed. To give you some context, the sun, or more precisely UV radiation, is the main reason for this unsightly effect on silicone. Sweat, hand cream or skin grease deposits also play a role. If you clean the case regularly, you’ll slow down the yellowing process. I gave my dbramante case a thorough clean with a damp cloth every few weeks. In other words, I didn’t exactly set a good example here.

Nevertheless, as you can see in the photo below, the case is still very clear. There’s basically no yellowing at all. If you look closely, the older case appears slightly pinkish. However, this is only noticeable if you look at the case on its own.

The difference is barely visible: the dbramante case after almost a year in use (on the left) shows no signs of yellowing. The case on the right is brand new.
The difference is barely visible: the dbramante case after almost a year in use (on the left) shows no signs of yellowing. The case on the right is brand new.
Source: Christian Walker

How does it compare to the Apple case?

The dbramante case costs almost the same as Apple’s Clear Case. In a direct comparison between the two, the Apple case is much smoother and more slippery, offering me less grip. But it’s a bit less bulky.

The largest difference is its length. With the Apple case, my phone’s 16.4 cm long; with the dbramante case, it’s 16.7 cm. This is because of Apple’s open design at the bottom, where the charging cable and microphone/speaker are installed. dbramante certainly provides better protection here, but Apple’s case looks more elegant.

The Apple case is 0.2 mm shorter, so it has a slightly smaller edge around the display. Apple’s case is also 0.4 mm less wide. All in all, this results in a weight advantage of 2.5 g in favour of Apple.

This test report is based on almost a year of experience with the dbramante Iceland Pro case. dbramante now also offers transparent cases for the new iPhone generation and for Samsung smartphones. According to the manufacturer, nothing has changed in terms of production methods and materials. As a result, these test results apply to all clear cases.

Check out the entire dbramante1928 range.

In a nutshell

Expensive, but really good

Yes, this case costs a lot. But it’s worth getting – both for your ecological conscience and to protect your smartphone effectively and for a long time.

Pro

  • virtually no visible yellowing
  • doesn’t wear out, holds well
  • stable protection for phone and display
  • made from recycled plastic

Contra

  • makes you phone a bit «fat»
dbramante1928 Iceland Pro (iPhone 14 Pro)
Offer has ended 4 items sold
18.70 CHF was 31.90 CHF

dbramante1928 Iceland Pro

iPhone 14 Pro

dbramante1928 Iceland Pro (iPhone 14 Pro)
Mobile phone covers
Offer has ended 4 items sold
18.70 CHF was 31.90 CHF

dbramante1928 Iceland Pro

iPhone 14 Pro

Header image: Christian Walker

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Journalist since 1997. Stopovers in Franconia (or the Franken region), Lake Constance, Obwalden, Nidwalden and Zurich. Father since 2014. Expert in editorial organisation and motivation. Focus on sustainability, home office tools, beautiful things for the home, creative toys and sports equipment. 


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