iSkin Exo for iPhone 5/5s
Just a few weeks after coming out with versions of the case for iPhone 5c, iSkin began rolling out Exo for iPhone 5/5s ($35). Coming in at five dollars more than the first model we saw, this one shares a pretty similar design, while adding in a splash of color. Whereas the 5c version only comes in black and frost variations, the 5/5s edition is available in black/black, yellow/blue, pink/purple, and white/gray.
Exo uses a co-molded setup. Instead of a single depth of rubber around the iPhone’s body, this one is molded with six raised columns running down the back, on top of rubber, offering extra shock protection. This not only makes the case more protective, but gives Exo a design that stands out.
While we found the Sleep/Wake button protection to a bit more dampened than we prefer when it came to the iPhone 5c case, this Exo is properly tactile both there and at the volume buttons. Along the bottom, iSkin outdoes many competitors. A flip-open protector helps keep debris from getting into the Lightning port while it’s not in use, while the headphone port, mic, and speaker are left exposed. Seeing as it protected one of the ports, we’re somewhat surprised iSkin didn’t go for the other as well. One is better than none though, and leaving the headphone port exposed isn’t an unreasonable compromise; it’s used more often than the Lightning port.
The first Exo we saw came in at a B rating, while this one jumps up, deserving our strong general recommendation. Although it’s slightly more expensive, the improvement to the Sleep/Wake button and extended color options increase the appeal. It’s rare to find a case in this price range that incorporates a port protector, and the design otherwise stands out from the crowd.