Review: iLuv iCA7T325 Pulse for iPhone 5
It's slightly bulkier than some rival cases, but iLuv's iCA7T325 Pulse ($30) is bigger in the service of fashion. The iPhone 5 case starts with a standard rubber protector as its base and is augmented by a removable zigzagging frame, evoking the neon look of the 1980s and early 1990s. It comes in grey/yellow, pink/blue, white/pink, or white/black, and the components are interchangeable between them.
Pulse is noticeably larger than the iPhone 5 in every direction thanks to its dual-layer design; the extra width is especially noticeable. Even though the pieces come apart, you don’t have to separate them to insert the iPhone; instead, the iPhone simply snaps into place and is deeply recessed underneath the frame. Should you drop your device on a flat surface, there’s no way the screen would touch the ground. The volume and Sleep/Wake buttons are also protected, but it takes way too much effort to press the one on the top. Between its odd location and the fact that almost all tactility is lost, you’ll likely fail to press the button more often than you succeed. Thankfully, the volume controls don’t suffer the same issue. The bottom has a single rectangular opening for both ports, the speaker, and microphone.
iLuv deserves credit for producing a case that really sticks out and will appeal to certain tastes, but it’s far from the best-designed accessory we’ve tested for the iPhone 5. While we understand why it’s as large as it is, the size is a factor that reduces its appeal, and the Sleep/Wake button issue shows that Pulse needs some refinement. Of course the device can be turned on in other ways, so its use isn’t completely ruined, it’s just impaired. As a niche retro design with a few rough edges, it’s worthy of a limited recommendation.