iPhone cases are the bike helmets of the tech world: They're aesthetically awful, but you'd have to be an idiot not to use one. So when you go to pick the right slab of plastic in which to sully the style of your sleek, glass-backed, Cupertino-designed device, go for one that makes the trade-off worth it. The low-profile polycarbonate shell of the Quad Lock Case offers protection, but is blessedly discreet, just 2mm (0.787 inches) thick, and hale enough to handle bumps and scrapes with aplomb. But the reason this case overshadows all others is thanks to a gear-shaped recess on its backside, which is purpose-built for use with a trio of included mounts (two with adhesive backs and a third bicycle-specific one). The idea being that you're able to securely mount your phone in otherwise tricky situations without the need to remove or interchange cases.
The adhesive mounts are intended to be semi-permanent. We placed one in our bedroom to the right of the bed and – voila! – we now have an easy-to-view alarm clock radio. We stuck another mount beside the stove and now consult recipes and listen to music without fear of our phone falling into the sunny-side ups. The best function, however, is as a biking companion: You secure the mount to the top tube of the bike using O-rings or zip ties and then slip the iPhone (in the case) onto the mount. While it may sound hacky, both methods proved extremely stable during multiple runs and turn your iPhone into a hands-free GPS navigation device for mapping your morning commute. In our experience, it's better than many of the more complex mounts out there.
The Quad Lock Case isn't sold on its own. It actually comes as part of the Quad Lock Deluxe Kit, which also includes the aforementioned wall and bike mounts. The whole package does more than just protect your phone: It makes it easier to use some of your handset's best features in situations that before might have given you a second thought. It's a much-needed addition to the multi-tasking, phone-bound lifestyle. [$70, includes case, two adhesive mounts, and bike mount; www.quadlockcase.com]