STM Catch for iPhone 5/5s
Hitching onto the wallet case trend, STM has introduced Catch for iPhone 5/5s ($35). Coming in black, grey, or purple, the case is made from rubber with plastic reinforcing the edges. Instead of a bulky addition on the back, Catch can hold credit cards in two slots in the material; this makes it thinner than most iPhone wallets. To ensure that the cards don't damage your phone, STM includes film for the aluminum and glass back, as well as two pieces of screen film, a cleaning cloth, and a squeegee.
As with most co-molded cases, installation and removal is easy; simply pop the case on and off as needed. It’s something of an unusual setup, as the plastic usually makes up more of the case, but it’s perfectly suitable for preventing scratches. The rubber rises up a bit higher than the screen, so it also helps keep the display safe from damage. Port access is pretty standard, with openings that’ll fit all but the largest plugs, but there’s an issue with the button protection. The rubber over the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons doesn’t prevent their use, but it does almost completely eliminate any sort of tactical response. You won’t be able to tell by feel if you’re actually pressing the buttons or not.
Some cases with wallet features hide the cards, either under a front cover or inside the body of the case itself. Catch leaves them partially exposed, as they simply slide into the rear slots, with about half still sticking out. Two cards may be enough for a night out — a credit card and an ID, perhaps — but for many people, may be limiting for day to day use. They’re at least secure; although they pull out easily enough, we have no concerns of cards simply falling out.
The big benefit of Catch’s design is there’s no real added bulk, especially when you don’t have any cards in the case. Almost every other wallet case is at least a little thicker, and some are larger in other dimensions. Only being able to carry two cards is a small downside though, as is the button issue. Yet for certain situations, it could be pretty useful, enough so that it’s worthy of a general recommendation. There are better options, but this one is pretty good.