Review Roundup: iPhone 5S Cases

Review Roundup: iPhone 5S Cases
November 24 16:54 2013 Print This Article

We all know that when choosing a phone case, especially for a popular device such as the iPhone, there are going to be a ton of choices to choose from. I’ve decided to help you all to make this decision a bit easier by contacting several manufactures who have been so kind in sending me samples of their cases to review. So let’s get started. One thing to note, I am only adding pictures on some problematic case and manufactures to this review cause who really wants a review loaded with pictures. I’m also not adding ratings to each of the cases that I am reviewing and not each case review will be in depth. In all honesty, cases are just a piece of plastic that protect your device that “may” have some features, you really can’t write up a 5 page review about each case. 

Otterbox:

Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5S

Words can’t describe how much I love, LOVE this case. I’ve always been a huge fan of Otterbox products since I started owning mobile phones. This is such a high quality case I just can’t state how high quality it is. Why is it such high quality? It’s made of really robust materials and is easy to apply to your phone. One thing I really do wish though was that Otterbox came out with external battery equipped cases, that would rock. This case features a front protector for your screen, a back protector of course, as well as a belt holster.

Otterbox Reflex Series for iPhone 5/5S

I received this case and well, I just don’t like it. I can’t see how this case works exactly. It came in two pieces and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how these two pieces connect to each other to form a protective case. Defective case? Probably. Right now, until I get more information from Otterbox regarding why this case is just so bad, I absolutely can’t recommend it. Go for the Defender.

Otterbox Commuter Wallet for iPhone 5/5S

This is quite a rugged case for a wallet case, but was anyone really surprised? I mean, it’s Otterbox, they are pretty well known for rugged cases. I really like this case as a wallet case, but one thing that is missing is some front protection for your precious iPhone 5/5S screen. Why oh why Otterbox did you skip this detail? Think of this case as providing the protection of a Defender, minus the front screen protection + the wallet feature. I guess eliminating one feature and adding a really cool feature makes it all level out, and it does.

Hard Candy Cases:

Hard Candy makes some really nice and stylish cases, here are a few that I took a look at.

Hard Candy Triple Slider for the iPhone 5

The texture on this case is absolutely stunning and has a really nice feel. It was engineered beautifully with nice smooth cuts in the proper places. It doesn’t feel like they rushed to get these cases out, unlike some manufactures. It comes in red, but has a red, silver and black bottom piece that you can swap out. I do suggest this case if you’re looking for a simple case with a really nice feel to it.

Hard Candy Bubble Case for the iPhone 5

This is an extremely stylish case that has a very cool 3D effect. It consists of two pieces, a bumper and a back plate for the case. There is no frontal protection on this case, but it certainly looks really cool. It’s a good protective case, but it just lacks that front protection that I wish was there cause this design just rocks. It also comes in a chrome case, which I personally prefer as I find it uber sexy and has that bling I am looking for.

BRAVO:

Waterproof iPhone Alloy Case

The Bravo Waterproof Alloy Case for the iPhone 5S is really clunky and hard to install. It comes with about 7 screws that you need to undo, install your phone in and then close. It’s just way too clunky and to make matters worse, my case had one defective screw, so I couldn’t even open it. The case looks like it will serve its purpose, but unfortunately I was unable to test it because of that defective screw.

LIFEPROOF:

Fre for iPhone 5S

I like this case, I like it a lot, but I didn’t like it enough to beat the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5S. The Lifeproof case protects against shock, water, dirt, and snow. It’s way easier to apply than the Bravo alternative, that’s for sure. It’s a good case, but it just sits way too tight on my iPhone. Everything is good with it except for the switch/rocker that controls silent mode, it just didn’t work for me. It needs a few more improvements to be a top notch case.

 

TYLT:

The one thing that bugs me about this company is that they absolutely love to show off their name on their cases, like seriously, I don’t want to be a walking advertisement when using this case and having “TYLT” in 72 point font on the back of this case, takes away from any beauty in these cases. TYLT sent me both the SQRD and the Band cases.

SQRD Case by TYLT sqrd_blue_back_ip5

How much larger can that ad get? I will applaud TYLT for their good packaging, but seriously, I don’t want to be walking around with a TYLT logo all day long. There is nothing fun about this case, in fact, it’s super boring. The volume rocker buttons on this case are flat on the other side, there is no + – sign on the buttons and it doesn’t display the proud Apple logo. Inside, there is no protective soft material, just solid plastic. If you have a Makerbot, you could make this case yourself if you know what you’re doing, as that’s pretty much the quality you will get with this case, nothing special what so ever. It’s a flat color, no metallic look that would suit your iPhone 5S. In fact, this looks more suited towards an iPhone 5C. The cutouts for the lightning port are sloppy and don’t really protect your device well in that area. Overall, I wouldn’t choose this case. Save your $29.99 and get something that looks better and has at least some bling. Rating 2/5.

Band by TYLT

This case is way better designed in terms of functionality, and look and feel. TYLT made their advertisement smaller and it’s a huge improvement over the SQRD case. It has a really nice textured feel and has some functionality for the volume rockers. It doesn’t present the Apple logo, has a soft touch power button and inside it’s a plastic interior, no soft fabric to really protect your device. The cutouts for the camera are proper as well as the IP5DPBNDBL-Theadphone jack and lightning port, it’s not sloppy like on the SQRD case and feels way more secure in that zone, in case you were to drop the iPhone 5S right on the lightning port and headphone jack. It features a “band” running vertically across the back that features the TYLT logo (again with their advertising). I suggest TYLT to use an actual logo, not text that stands out from 10 feet away, who really cares what brand of case you use? TLYT took away device protection on the band area to flash off their logo, this area of the case is way too soft.

Here is what TYLT says about their BAND case:

The BAND adds just 1/8″ (3mm) to the dimensions of your phone. The colored band, liner and facing edge is a soft TPE, like our award winning BAND Car Charger. The back and sides are a rugged, yet flexible, impact resistant shell. It’s a super snug fit like all TYLT cases.

Available in TYLT gray with 3 vibrant accent colors, black with 3 accent colors and black on black If TYLT wouldn’t have done that soft band idea, this case would have gotten at least a 3.5/5, but I’m bumping it down to a 3/5.

 

Pillo Case by TYLT IP5PILSUNSET-T

 

Ok, now we’re talking! TYLT’s retro case is sexy, unique and bold. None of that stupid insanely huge TYLT branding slapped on it. ALL Tylt cases should be like that. Please TYLT please do away with slapping your brand in huge font on stuff, it’s not wanted.                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TYLT Energi Sliding Power Case

This case has its disadvantages as it’s TYLT and I just can’t stand that branding. However, it’s a really good case to charge your device and uses Micro USB to charge. I do wish it was lightning, however. Between the TYLT and the Odoyo options, I do recommend going with Odoyo’s, just cause of the branding and the LED feature which tells you how much battery is left.

Speck:

First things first, I have to commend Speck on their amazing and I mean AMAZING packaging. On the back at the top of the packaging, there is this small “push to open” button which drops a case down inside of a clear plastic box that’s super easy to open. No sticky glue, none of that, no having to pry open and cut yourself with theft-deterrent packaging. These cases offer that type of  “military protection” that most users are looking for. For packaging and how consumer friendly it is, Speck, you get a 5/5.

Speck SmartFlex Card for iPhone 5S

The first Speck case I will be looking at is the SmartFlex Card. It’s a nice rubbery case that has a really cool texture to it that’s easy to hold. The cutouts are beautiful and in the proper spots with no rough edges. It has a slit on the back to store credit cards and bills. Overall, this case really looks and feels like a high quality iPhone 5S case, but doesn’t offer any front protection.

Speck SmartFlex for iPhone 5S

The SmartFlex iPhone 5S case by Speck is a simplistic case, but it features sexiness, a really good texture and it just looks perfect. It doesn’t offer any front protection. Think of it as just a very simple case, but one that actually looks good.

Speck CandyShell + Faceplate for iPhone 5/5S

I love this case. It offers full body protection in military grade. It’s cute and really fun. If you’re seeking a second alternative to the Otterbox Defender that provides a lot of protection, the Speck CandyShell + FacePlate for iPhone 5/5S is where it’s at.

Speck SmartFlex View for iPhone 5/5S

I love this case, it’s rugged, looks good and offers a really good amount of protection to your device. It seems to me this is what M-Edge tried to do with their cases, but failed. Good news though, Speck cases don’t have a nasty smell, they smell just like a phone case should smell, “normal.” This case offers a really cool feature on the back where you pull out this type of plastic band, snap it into place and you now have a kickstand on the back for you to easily take Facetime calls.

 

M-Edge:

There is one case that just looks so bad, it really needs to be wiped from their case lineup and it smells really bad, it’s actually pretty gross. The target audience for this case has got to be between the ages of 2-5 cause no one is going to use it that’s any older than that. Simply put.

M-Edge SuperShell for iPhone 5/5S

This is the case with the disgusting smell and looks like it was made for a little kid. I’m embarrassed to use this case and honestly, I think any kid would be ashamed to even use this case. It’s just, so bulky and looks like a huge piece of rubber with a really poor design.

M-Edge Loot Wallet Case for iPhone 5/5S

Uhm, ok one thing, if this is a wallet case, aren’t you able to store stuff in it? The cutouts are so tight, it’s quite difficult to put a card in there, maybe at most a loonie, but that’s all. In terms of design and functionality, this case gets a massive “F.”

M-Edge Alter Ego Skin for iPhone 5/5s

This is another case with a disgusting smell that’s targeted towards those who are between the ages of maybe 5-7, but I’d be worried to give it to my child as children tend to put stuff in their mouths. With that disgusting smell, who knows what kind of material is inside these cases. This case also has some paint on it that makes it glow in the dark. I thought the glow in the dark fad expired back in the late 90s?

iLuv:

iLuv Mazarin for iPhone 5/5S

This case is quite elegant with the diamond shaped hardshell, but it reminds me of a Speck Candyshell case, but it lacks in terms of protecting the bottom and top areas of your device. There is also no front protection, just protection for the back of your device. If this is the type of case you’re truly looking for, I really suggest sticking with the Speck Candyshell.

iLuv JStyle for iPhone 5/5S

Now THIS is a true wallet case. It provides full protection all around your device and actually lets you store your cards and cash, unlike the M-Edge Loot case. For those looking for an actual wallet case, go for this case, or the Otterbox Commuter Wallet.

Incipio:

Incipio has some really cool and easy to open packaging, but it’s not strong at all, and just by dropping the packaging on the bottom will cause it to crack easily. This can be a huge problem in a retail environment cause no customer will buy a product that has damaged packaging unless the price has been significantly knocked down. The one thing I really like is they include a stick on protector for the back of your iPhone 5S and this comes with each of their cases. Incipio should have made their marketing on the cases a bit better, it can be a tad confusing to some consumers. What they have done is they placed a black sticker on their existing iPhone 5S cases instead of redoing the packaging that simply says “Compatible with iPhone 5/5s” where some of their cases say “For the new iPhone 5.” I found the sticker placement to not be consistent and honestly, it looked a bit sloppy. However, only people that see multiple Incipio cases will notice this and it won’t be a big deal to the consumer regarding purchase or not to purchase, but it’s a relatively small area for improvement regarding packaging.

Incipio DualPro CF – Dual Protection with Carbon Fiber Finish

At first glance, this case looks really nice with the carbon fiber finish. However, when looking very closely at this case, it looks extremely cheap and the quality looks crappy. My first review sample came with cutouts that were very sloppy and not smooth, the carbon fiber skin peeled off even before use on my iPhone 5S around the edges which tells me that when this case gets wet, or when body heat gets applied to certain areas, it’s going to peel and bubble even more. How this particular case got through quality control, I have no idea. I certainly hope Incipio has some quality control procedures in place cause honestly, a $0.05 case from eBay from some Asian seller will probably be the same quality as this case, do I suggest it? Yes, I did receive a second sample from Incipio which determined the first sample to be a lemon. The carbon fiber finish on the second sample I got was awesome, didn’t peel and didn’t bubble up.  

Incipio OvrMld Flexible HardShell Case  IMG_0135

This case wins the award for being a massive fingerprint magnet (see next to Incipio logo on case) and it also has a failpoint, which is next to the Lightning port (see below). The cutouts are not by any means smooth and if the phone falls on the port, you have little to no protection. They should have used the same ruggedness they used on the Stowaway case around the port area in this case. Do I suggest this case? It is a hardshell case, but there are many other better options.  Perhaps another case color would be less of a fingerprint magnet? But this specific Incipio case has failed, I don’t suggest it at all. IMG_0136

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incipio Stowaway case – Credit Card Case with Integrated Stand IMG_0139 Again with quality control, this case has a minor flaw. It seems to me that Incipio was trying to push out cases as quickly as possible before or the same day as the iPhone 5S launch, they didn’t look carefully into details as they should be. It’s a good case, but these details shouldn’t have been overlooked. Check out the sloppy manufacturing below. Do I suggest this case? Yes. It’s a good, built case with a cool feature to hide your credit cards. Retails for $34.99. IMG_0137        

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incipio Edge Shine – Hard Shell slider style case with aluminum finish IMG_0140 Way better case than the other Incipio cases above. I do wish however the sides of the case had an aluminum finish, but instead it’s a glossy finish which again, is prone to fingerprints. I saw no flaws with the design or manufacturing of this case. Overall, it’s a good solid case, I do recommend it. It’s available for $34.99.

 

 

 

 

 

Beyzacases:

These cases are super sexy and really offer a lot of elegance if that’s what you’re looking for. In terms of protection, it’s not that bad honestly.

Beyzacases Maly for iPhone 5/5s

As I stated above, this case is just super sexy and offers a lot of elegance that many people look for. Protection wise, it really does well. I do suggest this case for those looking for these specifics.

Beyzacases ZeroSlim for iPhone 5/5s

This isn’t a case, more like a really sexy slip cover for your iPhone 5/5S. It’s made of genuine leather and has a really good look and feel to it. One huge benefit is that it also offers charging port access. Most of the slip covers that I’ve seen previously, don’t offer this so well dont Beyzacases, for slip covers, you rank #1!

Odoyo:

I love the Power+Shell EX case as it charges your device providing an extra 2,200 mAh of juice which in turn, gives you up to 120% more battery life. What I don’t like about this case is that it charges via Micro USB, I do personally wish that I could use my Apple Lightning cable to charge this case, that would be a 100% seller for me. I do love that this case has a color changing feature telling you how much battery life you have left in it. The other thing I wish this case offered was some frontal protection. Then I’d be totally sold. It also offers a cool kickstand, for those looking for that feature.

Findables:

Findables cases have dramatically improved since they were first introduced to the market. The new Findables Flexwrap case is stylish, sexy and just does the job. It provides that protection on the top, bottom and back of your device. However, Findables has a really cool feature where they have a QR code on the back which connects to their app. I won’t go into details about that service, but if you want to check that out, you can here.

I’d like to state that I wasn’t paid by any of these companies to post any of these reviews, whether they be negative of positive. Thank you.

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About Article Author

Jonathan Yaniv
Jonathan Yaniv

Jonathan is the founder and editor-in-chief of TrustedNerd.com. Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jonathan is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you'd like to be considered for publishing? Send Jonathan an email, jonathan [at] trustednerd.com

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1 comments
Odoyo
Odoyo

Thanks for the great review! We really appreciate it! Rock on!