STM Opera for iPhone 5
Prior to the third-generation iPad, STM made some of our favorite computer bags and sleeves. When Apple released its newest tablet, the company ventured into iPad cases, and now it has expanded its lineup to include protectors for the iPhone 5 as well. Based in Australia, STM chose its native country as the theme for this series of cases, and the simplest among them is Opera ($30), named for the famous Sydney Opera House. Available in blue, black, pink, grey, or white, the case isn't perfect, but it's good for a first attempt.
The case is one piece of TPU, a plastic with some elasticity. It takes a little bit more effort than we’d prefer to get the case around the body of the iPhone 5, but once it’s on, it fits snugly; the only issue we saw was a slight curve along the top of the protective lip where it should run straight across. The sides are smooth and the back has a sneaker-like tread that helps the case stand out a bit from the pack. Rather than covering the buttons like the best cases do, STM left the Sleep/Wake and Volume controls exposed, and also left one long opening along the bottom. The volume buttons share a hole with the side switch, while the Sleep/Wake button is on its own. There’s a slight step in the material around each button.
As simple as it is, we do like Opera’s look and feel. It’s slim and light, but still reasonably protective. We’re hoping that STM will resolve the small issues we saw with the fit of the case and in future models will add button protection. As it stands, Opera is a good first go at a slightly high price. It warrants a general recommendation.