Review: SwitchEasy Bones for iPhone 5
SwitchEasy's cases are usually most successful when they're simple, as demonstrated by Tones, among others. However, three iPhone 5 cases fall on either side of the "straightforward" line. Bonds ($30) is a very good example of how an understated design with just a little bit of flair can have a lot of appeal. Bones ($30), alternatively, starts with a pretty similar base but has accents that make its appeal much more limited. Then there's Monsters ($20), perhaps the funkiest of the bunch, but also the most fun. All three cases come in a variety of colors, and include standard SwitchEasy pack-ins: two screen films, a microfiber wipe, one squeegee, and port protectors. Bonds and Bones also come with film for the back of your iPhone.
Between these three cases, we like the look of Bones the least. It’s reminiscent of SwitchEasy’s CapsuleRebelX for iPhone 4/4S, but more cartoony. The base of the case is pretty straightforward: polycarbonate covered with solid colored polyurethane rubber that easily wraps around the iPhone’s body. That’s then augmented by reinforced plastic bones—actual bone shaped protrusions—around the edges, over the buttons, and, most pronounced, on the back. They’re hard and likely will help prevent damage, but we think the look has a very limited appeal. Naturally, they make the overall thickness of the case greater than comparable models.
While the style is questionable, the level of protection Bones offers is totally respectable. Pirate-style crossbones cover the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons, keeping them clicky, while the openings for the headphone and Lightning ports are just about perfectly sized. They’re large enough to allow you to connect oversized plugs, but still cover a lot of the metal edge. As for the speaker and microphone, they’re protected by rubber with a grid of small dots letting sound through. The one thing we would’ve preferred is a greater lip around the edge of the screen to protect the display from landing flat on the ground if the iPhone falls on that side.
Were Bonds to have a slightly larger opening for the Lighting port, it’d be a great case—it’s otherwise an elegantly designed option with a great feel. SwitchEasy chose great colors, priced the protector fairly, and as is the case with all three options here, included valuable pack-ins. For those who are going to be sticking with first-party cables, Bonds is very much worth considering. It earns a B+ rating, though; we can’t highly recommend it with the accessory compatibility issues. Bones is a bit tougher to evaluate. It offers a similar amount of protection to Bonds, although Bones has more appropriately-sized connector openings, which would normally help it to rate higher. On the other hand, the crossbone design is very niche, dragging it down a little to a B+ rating. Finally there’s Monsters. For only $20—$10 less than Bones—you get an even more protective option with real character. Again, the look isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it inspires more positive reactions than Bones, and there’s little more one can ask for from a case technically, especially at that price. It merits a high recommendation and A- rating.