Review: SwitchEasy Monsters for iPhone 5
SwitchEasy's cases are usually most successful when they're simple, as demonstrated by Tones, among others. However, three iPhone 5 cases fall on either side of the "straightforward" line. Bonds ($30) is a very good example of how an understated design with just a little bit of flair can have a lot of appeal. Bones ($30), alternatively, starts with a pretty similar base but has accents that make its appeal much more limited. Then there's Monsters ($20), perhaps the funkiest of the bunch, but also the most fun. All three cases come in a variety of colors, and include standard SwitchEasy pack-ins: two screen films, a microfiber wipe, one squeegee, and port protectors. Bonds and Bones also come with film for the back of your iPhone.
Despite Monsters’ silliness, the case design has elicited pretty positive reactions. Most of our editors and others who saw the case reacted with “that’s cool!”—not the sort of response such an unusual design would normally receive. Compared to Bonds and Bones, it’s a more basic option in case construction: each of the five cases is a silicone skin similar to Colors. The big difference is that molded on the back of each is a different raised mouth and accompanying designs, such as hearts or scratches. Monsters’ designs are all goofy and fun. Plus, the texture’s neat and doesn’t add a significant amount of bulk.
Like Colors, Monsters offers about as much body protection as a silicone rubber iPhone case can. Of course the back and sides are covered, but so is the bezel underneath the screen with a raised Home Button protector. It provides great tactile feedback, although if the phone is laid with the screen laying down and any pressure is applied to it, Siri can be activated unintentionally; this happened to us on a few occasions. The other buttons are equally well-protected, without sacrificing any of their clicky feeling. Along the bottom, there are two separate openings: one is for the speaker, the other for the Lightning port, microphone, and headphone port. Whereas Bonds and Bones come with individual port protectors, Monsters’ are combined into one unit with a hole in the middle.
Were Bonds to have a slightly larger opening for the Lighting port, it’d be a great case—it’s otherwise an elegantly designed option with a great feel. SwitchEasy chose great colors, priced the protector fairly, and as is the case with all three options here, included valuable pack-ins. For those who are going to be sticking with first-party cables, Bonds is very much worth considering. It earns a B+ rating, though; we can’t highly recommend it with the accessory compatibility issues. Bones is a bit tougher to evaluate. It offers a similar amount of protection to Bonds, although Bones has more appropriately-sized connector openings, which would normally help it to rate higher. On the other hand, the crossbone design is very niche, dragging it down a little to a B+ rating. Finally there’s Monsters. For only $20—$10 less than Bones—you get an even more protective option with real character. Again, the look isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it inspires more positive reactions than Bones, and there’s little more one can ask for from a case technically, especially at that price. It merits a high recommendation and A- rating.