Review: Sena Cases LeatherSkin, Magnetic Holster + WalletSlim for iPhone 5
New from recently-acquired Sena Cases are three leather iPhone 5 cases based on offerings we've seen for prior-generation devices: WalletSlim ($45), Magnetic Holster ($45), and LeatherSkin ($45). Magnetic Holster is made to be worn on your belt, while WalletSlim and LeatherSkin are very similar playthrough-style cases. The former of the two comes with a removable ratcheting clip, while the latter has slots for three credit cards. LeatherSkin and WalletSlim come in multiple colors, while Magnetic Holster only comes in black.
We last reviewed WalletSlim when the CDMA iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S version was released. There are some minor changes to this version to accommodate the iPhone 5’s longer body and shifted ports, but it’s essentially the same case: the whole thing is made of leather, with limited protection for the bezel and edges but significant coverage for the back.
All four of the device’s corners are exposed, and the walls along the long edges come right up to the top of the metal antenna. Only the volume buttons are covered, right below a side switch that’s somewhat difficult to manipulate through the leather around it. Underneath a snap-equipped tab on the back are three credit card slots that take some breaking in. Thankfully, the slots are designed such that the rear camera isn’t obscured by the highest of the three cards.
LeatherSkin is essentially the same case as WalletSlim, minus the credit card slots; the body’s concept is the same, as are the materials. It does add one thing, though: the aforementioned clip. Users who clip their iPhones to a belt or bag will find it to be valuable, but everyone else will be glad that it’s removable. We found our review unit didn’t fit the iPhone quite as well as WalletSlim—some of the openings were poorly shaped—and the clip attachment on the back wasn’t properly centered.
Magnetic Holster is exactly what the name implies: a belt holster with embedded magnets in the flap to hold it shut, a case design that was once much more common, but has gone out of style over the past few years. The leather is rich and supple, just what we expect from Sena, while the inside is lined with soft fabric. It’s capable of accommodating a bare iPhone 5, or one with a thin shell on it. Thicker cases may fit, but they won’t slide in and out as easily and could damage the leather. The device can be quickly pushed out of Magnetic Holster through an inch and a half long opening on the bottom edge. On the back you’ll find a fixed-position clip, suitable for slipping onto your belt.
WalletSlim fell short of a recommendation last time we reviewed it, and although Sena didn’t make a lot of changes this time, it did lower the price enough to bump it up to our limited recommendation level. The wallet capabilities will appeal to some, but even though the case is made of nice materials, it feels poorly put together. LeatherSkin, on the other hand, doesn’t make the grade. It suffers from the same problems, but doesn’t make up for them with a truly useful feature. Finally, there’s Magnetic Holster. It does just what it’s meant to do, and is the most attractively put together of the bunch. We believe the market for holsters like this has all but dried up, but it’s a good option if you’re sticking with the classic style. It earns our limited recommendation.