Review: Incipio DualPro Shine for iPhone 5
Incipio's new iPhone 5 case DualPro Shine ($35) has a trick up its sleeve, using realistic-looking but simulated metal in its design. The two-piece case separates into a rubber skin and a snap-on metallic shell, parts that combine to offer solid protection. While real metal could degrade reception on a phone, Incipio's actually using an ultra-thin layer of faux, radio transparent metal instead. Packed in with the case are a screen protector, cleaning cloth, bubble remover, and plastic folding stand.
Incipio has released so many different cases over the years that there was no single design theme unifying its family, so we particularly appreciate the consistency Incipio has shown in its iPhone 5 lineup. DualPro Shine is clearly part of the same family, with the same handsome signature design features, notably including a concave rear pill that extends out from the camera hole to the edge of the case. Similarly, while rubber skins can often feel cheap, the one provided here does not: it’s neither too thick nor too thin, and fits tightly around the iPhone’s borders, extending just a bit over the top and bottom of the bezel. The material’s button coverage works well because it offers protection but doesn’t impact tactility in the slightest. Instead of one long opening along the bottom edge, an easy design shortcut, DualPro Shine uses three separate holes: one for the headphone port and mic, another for the Lightning port, and the last for the iPhone’s bottom speaker.
The plastic and metallic outer shell easily fits over the rubber, with the shapes of the two pieces complementing each other well, and together forming a substantial lip to protect the screen. While the combination is a little bit bulkier than we prefer, it’s not bad—thicker than Incipio’s earlier Faxion and [Ovrmld], for example, but still slimmer than some of our favorite iPhone 4/4S cases. Despite the fact that the metallic material isn’t actual metal, it looks and feels like the real thing; just as Incipio claimed, it doesn’t impact reception at all. You can decide for yourself whether the brushed metal look is appealing; we would have preferred a surface texture more like the iPhone 5’s matte aluminum, but personal tastes will obviously vary on this.
DualPro Shine is one of the more distinctive options from Incipio’s current lineup, and a very nice choice—the metallic finish will certainly appeal to some people. Because it’s protective, attractive, fairly priced, and comes with some extras, the case earns our strong general recommendation; thickness aside, it’s a peer option to Faxion and [Ovrmld], with a somewhat different look at the same price.
Updated December 4, 2012: Incipio has also sent us its DualPro ($30). The case is essentially the same as DualPro Shine, replacing the metal outer shell with a plastic one.
Updated January 14, 2013: We’ve also received DualPro CF ($35), featuring a carbon fiber finish in place of the metal or plastic shells.