SwitchEasy Tones for iPhone 5
Tones for iPhone 5 ($25) seems to be SwitchEasy's spiritual successor to its great Eclipse for iPhone 4/4S. Resembling the glass and aluminum construction of the iPhone 5 itself, Tones combines a polycarbonate backplate with attached TPU segments. It comes in a handful of colors -- some unfortunately a bit muted -- and ships with two screen films, a microfiber cloth, a squeegee, a pair each of Lightning port and headphone port protectors, and a "back protecting adhesive membrane." We've never seen the latter from SwitchEasy before, but it demonstrates just how serious the company is about iPhone protection.
Rather than the mostly plastic back with a backwards L-shaped strip of rubber seen on Eclipse, the company this time went with central core of hard material, while rubber at the top and bottom match the iPhone 5’s glass antenna windows. The rubber also extends to the top and bottom edges of the device, forming a protective raised lip around the screen. It offers full button coverage and dedicated openings on the bottom for the speaker, mic, Lightning and headphone ports; the latter hole is on the very small side.
We really like how Tones looks and feels. The Sleep/Wake Button is ever so slightly less clicky, but not enough to cause problems. Otherwise it’s solid and slim. Our only real issues with the case became evident after a few days use. The black paint that serves as a flash diffuser ring begin to chip quite noticeably, and after extended use, might come off all together. While the case won’t be any worse at protecting your iPhone, pictures taken with the flash could be affected.
Overall Tones is a qualified success for SwitchEasy. It looks good, it feels good, it comes with lots of extras, and it rings up at a pretty fair price. On the other hand, Tones is more expensive than Eclipse, and doesn’t include a stand. These aren’t make or break factors, but when combined with the paint-peeling problem, it falls short of our high recommendation, earning a B+. This is still a very good case, but it misses the “great” mark, largely for quality control reasons; hopefully SwitchEasy will improve future production runs and work out the kinks.