Review: Newer Technology NuGuard KX for iPhone 5
First displayed at the 2013 International CES, NuGuard KX for iPhone 5 ($50) is Newer Technology's most distinctive iPhone case to date. While the design looks like relatively plain plastic, the main selling point is a soft lining called X-Orbing gel, which is supposed to offer enhanced protection from substantial drops. The case comes in eight color combinations, and is also available for the iPhone 4/4S.
Compared to the average rubber case, NuGuard KX is a little bit bigger in every dimension. The exterior feels like smooth rubber, with a raised, textured pattern and imprinted logo. In addition to an overly large rear camera hole, there are openings underneath for the speaker, Lightning port, and another for the microphone and headphone port. You’ll be able to connect small- to medium-sized headphone and Lightning plugs, but the largest ones out there will present a problem. The included button protection is always something we appreciate, but the rubber dampens the tactility here, especially for the Sleep/Wake Button.
While weren’t able to test all the extreme conditions Newer Technology put NuGuard KX through, such as dropping it off of a wind turbine, it’s clear that it’ll be at least somewhat more protective than the average case when it comes to falls. The gel, combined with the larger than average protective front lip, should keep an iPhone in fine shape despite significant drops. It won’t be protected from water or dust, though, and apart from the lip around the screen, the glass doesn’t receive any special protection against impacts.
At $50, NuGuard KX is pretty expensive by iPhone case standards. While the X-Orbing gel may be of real value when it comes to high drops, the premium likely won’t seem worth paying for the average user, and those who expose their devices to serious risks will likely want a more comprehensively armored case. As it falls somewhere in the middle between those options, NuGuard KX is worthy of a limited recommendation. If you’re at risk of dropping your phone from high heights on a regular basis, but aren’t concerned about other types of accidental damage, you might want to consider it.