iSkin Fuze 360 for iPhone 5
With Fuze and Fuze SE for iPhone 4/4S, iSkin split the lineup it's had since the original iPhone into two different cases. Now there's Fuze 360 for iPhone 5 ($50), which has the line reverting back to just a single case and the styling that's been present since the first generation. Except for some moderate changes to accommodate the body and realigned ports, it's essentially the same as Fuze SE, and comes with wet and dry screen cleaners, plus a piece of iSkin's ProTouch Titan High-Impact screen film.
Fuze 360 consists of two pieces of hard plastic that snap together over the front and back of your iPhone, interlocking like puzzle pieces. Getting them together is easy, although you may struggle with finding the right place to reach in and split them apart. The case doesn’t add much bulk, but includes significant protection for the body of the device. In addition to full coverage for the back, the front bezel is protected under plastic, visually augmented by a brushed aluminum finish. The Home button gets a molded rubber protector, which only slightly takes away from the tactility.
Similarly, the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are covered, although they remain a little clickier. The side switch is exposed, and so is the headphone port. We like that iSkin included a Lightning port cover, and that it built a small divot into it to make removal easy. Even with very short fingernails, you’re able to get in there and flip it open. As for the speaker and microphone, corresponding holes in the plastic expose the grilles, allowing audio in and out with no problem.
A little bit thicker than the average screen film, iSkin says Titan uses multi-layered “anti-break technology to help prevent damage to the iPhone 5’s Retina display from unusually hard impacts.” At the top is an opening for the FaceTime camera and earpiece, but at the bottom the company went with a scoop to expose the Home button. It’s perfectly clear, but you will have to wipe away fingerprint smudges from time to time. On its website and in person at the 2013 CES, iSkin illustrates the strength of the film by installing it on an iPhone and hitting it with a hammer. While we didn’t replicate these tests, the inclusion of screen film is usually a good thing, and in this case it may offer even more protection than most.
We’re happy to see that iSkin went back to its original styling with this edition of Fuze; it’s a genuinely nice looking case that offers an appreciable amount of protection. The inclusion of the Titan film means that the iPhone 5 should be protected from pretty much any fall it might sustain. Thankfully, the company also brought down the price a bit, although it’s still a premium accessory compared to other options on the market. It’s the best version of the case yet, in looks and protection. If you’re willing to pay the price, you’ll likely be very happy with it, and that’s why it earns our limited recommendation.