Review: Speck PixelSkin + PixelSkin HD for iPhone 5
Along with a number of its other cases, Speck has made minor alterations to its well-established PixelSkin ($30) and PixelSkin HD ($35) to fit the iPhone 5. The original PixelSkin has been around for generations, while the HD version made its debut for the iPhone 4; once again, Speck has made incremental improvements. Of the two cases, we're bigger fans of PixelSkin HD, but they're equally respectable options and worth checking out. Each comes in a handful of colors.
PixelSkin is a soft silicone rubber case with a raised rounded square grid covering the entire back, as well as its edges. They provide extra grip and shock protection but also add a slight but noticeable bulk when compared to other cases. The buttons around the iPhone’s edge are covered yet remain responsively clicky, a case design touch we appreciate. Ports on the bottom edge have dedicated openings, while both the speaker and microphone are exposed through a series of dots. For those keeping track of such things, this version of PixelSkin has 9 dots per square inch, whereas the iPhone 4 model had 4 dpi.
Compared to the “SD” version, PixelSkin HD is slimmer, and looks more sophisticated. The coverage is the same, but the rubber feels a bit sturdier. Rather than wrapping dots all the way around the case, here they’re only on the back—36 dots per inch. The space between them is shiny to the point of being reflective, while the sides are totally smooth. Compared to the prior version, those edges are more rounded, and Speck was able to get rid of the seam that ran down the middle, making the case even more attractive.
As is generally the case with Speck cases, you can’t really go wrong choosing either of these options. They both look quite nice, feel great in the hand, and offer almost total protection save for the iPhone 5’s screen, which would really benefit from some included film. Generally, given the PixelSkins’ prices and features, we’d recommend one of the company’s CandyShell series cases first. That being said, PixelSkin and PixelSkin HD both earn our strong general recommendation. While we’d personally rather slip the HD model into our pockets, PixelSkin works just as well and costs a few dollars less. They’re both fun, smart options.