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(Pocket-lint) - Smartphone cases are funny things. A little like Marmite you could say. You either love the idea of protecting your device and making it different from everyone else, or you hate the fact that you essentially have no choice but to put a case on to protect your device from the inevitability of you dropping it.

We can't say we usually enjoy covering up some of the beautifully-designed devices we have sitting around, but we recently came across a case that helped us fall into the love camp when it comes to cases.

We reviewed the original Nodus Access case in October 2014 and the company has since brought out the Access Case 2 with the same idea as the original but with an added feature and an extra colour. This added feature is also found on the new Shell Case and it is this feature that has made us reconsider our relationship with cases.

Both the Access Case 2 and the Shell Case feature hidden magnets in the middle of the rear under the Nodus octopus logo. These magnets consequently allow you to mount your iPhone or iPad to what Nodus calls a Micro-Dock. More on that in a minute, first let us tell you a bit about the finish of the cases.

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Premium quality, premium design

The Access Case 2 comes in two versions - a portfolio option like the 2014 one and a flip option. Both feature the same Micro-Suction technology as the original Access Case, meaning the case is held in place on the device without a plastic snap case. It's a brilliant idea as it means a lot less bulk and although it feels a little scary relying on what seems like a sticky section to hold your device, it works perfectly. You can read more about the Micro-Suction technology in our original hands on.

The Shell Case is a new model and comes in the same three colours as the Access Case 2, meaning a choice between Chestnut Brown, Ebony Black and Yellow. Both the models of the Access Case 2 and the Shell Case are only available for the iPhone 6/6S and the iPhone 6/6S Plus.

We had the Yellow Access Case 2 portfolio in for review, along with both the Chestnut Brown and Ebony Black of the Shell Case so we have seen all three colours in the flesh. Our favourite is the Chestnut Brown but our partner loves the Ebony Black and ultimately, both are beautiful. The Yellow is for those a little more daring but the textured finish is lovely.

The Shell Case is a thin polycarbonate snap on case finished in tanned Italian leather and it oozes quality. This is a £50 case but it actually looks like a £50 case. All ports and features are easily accessible with gaps at both the top and the bottom. The power and volume buttons are covered by the case but there is a small hole to provide access to the silence toggle. There is also a hole on the rear for the camera.

The only complaint we would have is the power and volume buttons are a little stiff to depress on our Chestnut Brown version and the hole for the silence toggle seems to be cut a little too far down, but neither of these problems are present on the Ebony Black option.

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Micro-Dock awesomeness

Now let's talk about that Micro-Dock because aside from the lovely finish of the Shell Case and Access Case 2, this is thing that makes these cases more exciting than some others. The Micro-Dock is a small square N52 magnet around 15 x 15mm that also features the signature octopus etched onto it. You can stick the Micro-Dock wherever you fancy, whether that be the wall in your office or the dashboard on your car and your iPhone will then stick to it.

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As the magnet in the case is only in the middle, you'll need to make sure you place the Micro-Dock accordingly but once your iPhone is on the Micro-Dock, it won't come off without a good old tug. The N52 is said to be the world's strongest magnet and although we have no way of measuring that, it's certainly strong enough for its purpose here.

We put our Micro-Dock in our car and we absolutely love it. It works like a dream and we have had numerous people comment on it. The Shell Case is one case we won't be taking off our device anytime soon and it is certainly one we would happily recommend based on our experience. It might cover up the lovely design of the iPhone, but it is worth it in this case (no pun intended). A simple but very effective solution.

The Access Case 2 Flip, Access Case 2 Portfolio and Shell Case are all available from the Nodus Collection for £49.99 each.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 17 December 2015.