Review: PureGear PX260 + PX360 Extreme Protection System for iPhone 5
PureGear has released two heavy-duty cases for the iPhone 5, and they're billed as Extreme Protection Systems: PX260 ($40) and PX360 ($50) are essentially the same case, with the latter boasting one extra feature. Both are hard plastic screw-on cases, and offer significant protection for your device while also adding a lot of bulk, particularly in width. Each model comes with a screen film set and a utility tool that includes a screwdriver for installing and removing the case; PX360 also comes with a carabiner hook.
The cases are both made of matte-finished plastic, the back half of which is lined with a thin, soft foam. Once your iPhone has been sandwiched between the two pieces, screws at each of the corners and right in the middle of the long sides are tightened, locking your device in place. PureGear’s designs are somewhat like Lunatik’s Taktik, although the Extreme Protection Systems are far less bulky. When a case is fully assembled, the back of the iPhone is completely covered except, for the iSight camera.
Edges are equally well-protected: there’s an opening for the side switch and a flip-open cover for access to the ports on the bottom, but the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons are protected by raised plastic that’s been painted to look like metal. Thick or curved headphone plugs might not fit the port because of how deeply recessed it is, although all the Lightning cables—not adapters—released so far should go in without an issue. PX360 is set apart from PX260 by a raised loop above the Sleep/Wake button: this piece is lined with rubber and designed to connect to the included carabiner.
While the effort required to assemble PX260 or PX360 is definitely more than you’ll spend installing most cases, the result is a unique offering, and a significantly protective one. While not waterproof, PureGear’s case should protect all the parts of an iPhone 5 from drops, and the latter model makes particular sense as a way to secure your iPhone during extreme activities. Mostly based on their original designs, these cases earn a general recommendation: the bulk and installation process are less than ideal, but the end result will be worth the hassles for many users.
Update to our original review posted November 30, 2012: PureGear has replaced the above cases with its new PX260 and PX360 Weatherproof Extreme Protection Systems for iPhone 5 ($45-$50). The big change is the “weatherproof” component, which was not present before. The hard plastic cases still look very similar to one another, with six hex screws holding the front and back halves together. Now though, there’s coverage for the side switch, and a built-in screen protector that includes a passthrough for the earpiece. PX360 includes a loop at the top left corner, and a carabiner clip. We certainly like that even more protection was added, although we continue to be turned off by the screw-together system. Thankfully, the screen protector doesn’t take away from the overall touch sensitivity, although it does have a slight prismatic effect. Overall, the additional protection makes these cases a better value, worthy of our strong general recommendation.