Review: Speck CandyShell, CandyShell Grip + GemShell for iPhone 5c
Long-time readers already know that we've been big fans of Speck's CandyShell family for years. These cases have earned our awards on multiple occasions, and the company has continued to make small, iterative improvements with each generation. Now CandyShell ($35), CandyShell Grip ($35), and GemShell ($30) -- a related case option -- have been released for the iPhone 5c. At this point, the company has pretty much gotten the cases down to a science, so there aren't really any surprises. They all use the same smart combinations of rubber and plastic we've come to expect.
Available in four colors right now, with many more sure to follow, CandyShell is Speck’s classic co-molded case. The glossy plastic shell, which is sure to attract a patina of scratches, is lined with a nice rubber material, using a series of indentations to lessen the weight and help absorb shocks. That rubber extends out to strips in the four corners, a ring around the camera opening, a raised border around the screen, and over the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons. The fit is tight, but not so tight that you really have to struggle with removal, and the buttons are easy to find without looking while retaining their clickiness. We found only one issue with the otherwise great case, and that’s the size of the Lightning port opening. While it’s large enough to fit Apple’s plugs, and slightly larger third-party options, it’s not big enough for the widest connectors we’ve tested.
CandyShell Grip is almost identical to CandyShell. It’s the same size and shape, with the same button protection and openings along the bottom edge. The main difference is found in four segments of raised rubber rows. These add grip to the back of the case, and change the aesthetics. While not empirically better or worse than the plain CandyShell, it’s at least an alternative.
Finally, GemShell takes the same basic setup of the CandyShells, but does away with the back rubber lining, and switches the colored shell to clear plastic. A degree of shock protection is lost along with the rubber, but ultimately, the case is very much the same. It makes a lot of sense paired with the colorful shells found on the iPhone 5c.
Once again, Speck has brought its flagship cases to Apple’s latest handset—pretty much a given at this point, but a good thing nonetheless. The only fault with these three cases is that the Lightning ports are just a bit too small; sticking with the size found on the iPhone 5 cases would have been a smarter move. In every other regard, though, we highly recommend these three cases; they offer superb protection and great looks, besides.