Review: SwitchEasy Hero, Melt, Odyssey + Tones for iPhone 5c
SwitchEasy was clearly well prepared for the launch of the iPhone 5c, with a huge number of cases available right at launch. We've already reviewed five of them, and today we're taking a look at four more. Hero ($25), Melt ($25), Odyssey ($25), and Tones ($20) are all inspired by cases the company has released for prior-generation devices in various forms. Each uses some combination of plastic and rubber to form a highly protective accessory. All four cases come in a variety of colors, and are packaged with screen film, cleaning cloth, and a squeegee.
Similar to prior CapsuleRebel designs, Hero is a two-piece case with a glossy rubber body, and a hard plastic insert that fits onto the back for structure and support. It’s SwitchEasy’s bulkiest case from the current lineup, and the thickness can be felt in every dimension. Of course, the thick rubber will help prevent damage from drops, which may be more important to some than having a slimmer case. Since material covers the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons, using wide shapes rather than small covers molded to match the controls, clicks are dampened. They still work well, but you don’t get the same tactile experience we’re used to from SwitchEasy. The built-in headphone and Lightning port protectors are a nice touch, but the latter didn’t fit all the way into the opening with the iPhone inside the case.
The iPhone 5c edition of Melt is almost identical to the iPhone 5/5s version, which is itself heavily based on the previously-reviewed Numbers. Instead of just a flexible plastic material, this case is augmented with a hard plastic overlay, designed to look like it’s melting. The back of the inner layer mirrors the shape of the “drips,” allowing the pieces to fit together snugly. Otherwise, it offers the same high level of protection as Numbers, including good button coverage, and flip-out port protectors.
We can’t currently issue a full review of Odyssey, as SwitchEasy has confirmed that there were issues with the button coverage. For anyone who bought the case prior to the upcoming retooled unit, the company is offering free replacements. That being said, Odyssey is a handsomely designed case, and certainly an improvement over its earlier namesake. The case is made of a combination of hard plastic, and six rubberized rows down the back. That rubber material extends to the buttons, around the screen, and down to the bottom, where it protects the ports with the same sort of caps seen on the above cases. We’ll finalize our rating for the case when the revised version arrives.
Tones has been one of our favorite SwitchEasy cases in the past, and the iPhone 5c version continues the trend of strong design paired with overall protection. Unlike the iPhone 5/5s edition, which is completely opaque, this one combines a hard plastic backplate with colorful, translucent rubber above and below. There are five colors, matching the shells of the iPhone 5c, as well as a black model. It’s really an elegant case, and it offers the same high level of port protection, plus perfectly clicky button coverage.
Of this group of cases, Tones is certainly our favorite. The form-fitting case adds protection without much bulk, and mirroring the iPhone 5c’s colors makes a lot of sense. It easily earns an A- rating, and we highly recommend it. Coming in at $5 more, and with a more limited appeal due to its design, Melt earns our general recommendation. While it’s highly protective, it simply won’t be as attractive to as wide of an audience. Hero is worthy of the same rating. It offers extra shock absorption, albeit in a larger package. The look is unique among SwitchEasy’s cases, though, and it’s nice to have the option. We’ll update this piece with a rating for Odyssey when the updated version is available.