Protection doesn't need to be boring
Some of you might remember buying a snap-on cover in a bid to reinvent your chunky, plastic Nokia, but phone cases have come a long way since then.
You can still add a splash of personality to your generic smartphone with the right case, and, as screens have grown bigger, so has the importance of a protective layer. But there is another class of case, and that's iPhone sheaths that bring something new to the party, enhancing a feature or delivering new functionality.
So behold: our selection of 10 special iPhone cases that change the way your phone works.
Hitcase Pro case
If you're an adventurer and you like to snag great shots of the slopes, or record video of your latest white water raft ride, this is the case you need. It may be chunky and ugly, but it will safeguard your iPhone from the elements, and from bumps and drops.
Plus, it's completely waterproof to a depth of 10 meters and comes with a wide-angle lens – and you can choose from a range of different mounts and alternative lenses if you're willing to spend a bit more.
Zagg speaker case
This unusual case delivers a couple of handy boosts to your iPhone: first, there's a wireless Bluetooth speaker on the back that can be easily detached. It's not loud enough to fill a room with music, but it's a lot louder than the iPhone's onboard speaker.
The case has a built-in microphone too, so you can use it for hands-free calls, and it doubles up as a spare battery, with an extra 1,800mAh of power to keep your iPhone going.
Best of all for minimalist types, the case itself is a simple bumper for very basic protection.
Kuner Kuke case
Battery cases tend to be weighty and chunky, but this offering from Kuner delivers an extra 2,400mAh of power in a decidedly slim package. That's enough to add up to 70% to your iPhone's usual battery life.
The Kuke also packs in an extra 16GB or 64GB of storage, and using Kuner's app you can store photos, videos, and other files in the case storage to free up some room on your iPhone. It's easy to back up and restore files, and you can even plug your Lightning cable into the case and drag and drop files from a PC or Mac.
Tech21 Evo Xplorer
Here's a tough case that's designed to withstand anything life throws at you. First and foremost it scores an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to three meters deep for up to an hour without sustaining any damage.
All your ports are sealed, but you can still use Touch ID and hear audio with the case on. It offers solid drop protection too, so falls of up to two meters, (even onto concrete) are nothing to worry about.
If you need a rugged case, this is a good pick.
If you're nostalgic for the Polaroid days, when you could snap a photo and get a hard copy of it almost instantly, then the unusual Prynt case is going to catch your eye – and it really is unusual.
It's really a big, chunky, plastic dock that your iPhone slots into, adding a physical shutter button and a photo-editing app. But the headline feature is that, once you're happy with your photo, you can print it, right out of the case.
However, while it's easy to use the photos aren't great quality, and you only get 10 sheets of paper with it.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, which means that for most people their iPhone is their number one snapper – stats on Flickr back that up too.
It already takes pretty good pictures, but you can get even better results with a dedicated lens, and Moment offers high-quality wide, tele, and macro lenses for £70 each ($100).
The cases start at £35 ($50), but the beauty of the system is that you can snag a mounting plate and use the lens with your existing case if you want to.
It's worth getting the Moment case for the physical shutter button alone, which also supports half-press features like a DSLR.
Dog & Bone Backbone Wireless Charging case
Wireless charging is growing increasingly popular, and this Dog & Bone case enables you to add Qi wireless charging capability to your iPhone – that means you'll be able to place it on any Qi wireless charging pad or cradle and it'll start sucking up juice.
The brand hasn't scrimped on the protective qualities of the case either – it's fully drop-tested and can handle falls from 1.2 meters.
Best of all, you can slide out the wireless charging element and swap in a 1,500mAh battery, although that costs an extra £42 ($60).
Rokform Predator case
This minimalist case is made from aluminium, and it makes it easy to mount your iPhone magnetically to any metal or magnetic surface.
The case may not look very protective, but it covers the corners, where you need protection the most, and it extends front and back to prevent any part of your iPhone from coming into contact with the surface it's on, or is dropped onto.
It comes with a subtle, round magnetic mount that you can stick anywhere, and Rokform also offers docks and mounts for various different situations, from your bike to your car and beyond.
Lunecase Icon case
It looks like a simple, slim, smooth, black case, but the Lunecase has a hidden light on the back that sparks into life to tell you when you have an incoming call or message.
It connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and glows softly with the appropriate icon when you get a message or call.
The best bit? It doesn't draw any power, because the electromagnetic energy emitted by your iPhone is enough to keep it working.
In terms of actually protecting your iPhone, the plain shell is tough polycarbonate, so it offers plenty of resistance to bumps and scrapes.
Speck Pocket VR with CandyShell Grip case
If you've yet to jump into virtual reality, you might want to dip a toe in the water with Speck's Pocket VR.
This clever attachment works with the CandyShell grip case to convert your iPhone into a viewer for 3D, virtual reality, and augmented reality content.
It can also fold flat when not in use, for easy pocketability, and it's Google Cardboard-certified, so there are lots of games, apps, and videos to try out.
The CandyShell Grip is also a reassuringly solid iPhone case that delivers dual-layer protection and enhanced grip, for those moments when you're in the real world and decide to fling your phone to the floor.