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ego Hybrid Series USB case: Hands-on review

Last month we announced the availability of a unique iPhone 4/4S case that included a 4, 8 or 16 GB USB flash drive as part of the design. The idea behind the case, formally called the ego Hybrid Series USB Case, is that you'll always have a USB drive at your fingertips wherever you have your iPhone. Let's take a look and see how this idea works in reality.

Design

The design of the ego USB case is actually rather mundane; it's a very thin wrap-around case made of a scratch-resistant resin that comes in a variety of colors including gray, pink, sky blue, light green, red and black. What makes the case unique is what's on the back -- a slot for a thin USB flash drive.

The flash drives also come in colors that signify their capacity. A 4 GB drive is either pink or blue, an 8 GB drive is either yellow or light green, and the 16 GB drive is red or black. The result is that you have a variety of color combinations that you can come up with, mixing and matching case and flash drive colors.

Price-wise, the ego USB case goes for US$34.95 (4 GB flash drive), $39.95 (8 GB flash drive), or $49.95 (16 GB flash drive).

Functionality

As I noted, the case isn't anything special by itself. But add in that flash drive and suddenly you have increased the utility of the ego USB case.

Most of us who own iPhones are glued to those devices. With an ego USB case, you now have a flash drive in your hand anytime you're holding your iPhone. I personally use a LaCie iamaKey to perform the same function, as it's with me any time I have my keys in my pocket. But there's a downside to having a flash drive on your keychain -- it's constantly smashing against metal keys, and the drive in my pocket is beginning to look increasingly fragile as time goes by.

Most of us treat our iPhones with a lot more respect than we do our house and car keys, so a flash drive in an ego USB case should have no problem surviving at least as long as your iPhone.

If I have any regrets about the ego USB case, it is that Apple has unfortunately made it impossible for us to slap the Camera Connection Kit onto an iPhone or iPad and offload photos from the iOS device to a flash drive. A flash drive attached to an iPhone case would be an awesome way to always have a backup buddy close at hand. But that's an Apple issue, not an ego USB case problem.

Conclusion

While the design of the ego USB case is pretty pedestrian, the manufacturer has come up with a clever way to insure that you always have a way to transfer files en masse from one computer to another any time you have your iPhone with you. The choice of mixing and matching colors is also something that I haven't seen before, and it's a good method of turning the case into a colorful extension of your personality.

Pros

  • A smart way to always have a USB flash drive with you
  • Mix-and-match colors provide a variety of configurations
  • Resin material used for the case has a good sharp look and nice soft feel

Cons

  • The flash drive alone is more expensive than competing drives on the market; you're paying about $10 - $19 dollars extra for the convenience of having the drive clipped into an iPhone case.

Who is it for?

  • iPhone owners who want the convenience of always having a USB flash drive available wherever they have their iPhone.

Giveaway

We're giving away a gray ego Hybrid Series USB case with an 8 GB light green flash drive. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before August 15, 2012 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive an ego Hybrid Series USB case with an 8 GB flash drive valued at $39.95.
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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