Review: The Joy Factory Airmax for iPhone 5
While the general shape of The Joy Factory's Airmax ($35) is pretty standard, the textured back gives this iPhone 5 case some unique character. We've never seen a soft plastic case with the kind of raised rear surface this one has. We're not very fond of the camouflage pattern, but the design combined with the included screen film and water-resistant pouch make it worth consideration.
Airmax is a one-piece case with a soft plastic bumper covering the metal edge. Although we’d prefer a slightly sturdier material, the fit is good, and it doesn’t pull away unintentionally from the iPhone’s sides. The Joy Factory tightly tailored the openings around the headphone port and microphone, Lightning port, and speaker, while also providing button coverage. While button tactility is moderately reduced, it’s not altogether destroyed. Thankfully the case forms a lip that prevents the iPhone’s screen from sitting flat.
The back of the case features a series of soft, clear raised diamonds that The Joy Factory calls Diamond Air Cushion, claiming that the texture provides extra shock resistance. At the very least, it looks and feels cool. Despite the fact that it’s raised, it doesn’t dramatically increase the case’s bulk relative to other designs.
It’s not the best new design we’ve ever seen, but Airmax is one of the most distinctive soft plastic cases we’ve seen in recent memory. That said, we encourage The Joy Factory to explore different patterns underneath Diamond Air Cushion, as camouflage has limited appeal. If military-style coverings are your thing, though, this case is worth checking out—good enough to merit our general recommendation.