Review: Urban Armor Gear Composite Case for iPhone 5
Urban Armor Gear caught our eye at the 2013 CES, where it was showing off soon-to-come iPad mini cases, as well as its Composite Case for iPhone 5 ($35). Coming in six colors, each with a different name such as Scout or Outland, it's another take on the co-molded plastic and rubber case that's so popular these days, although far more stylized. An included screen protector film helps keep the display free of scratches.
Instead of the glossy plastic we’ve seen time and time again, Urban Armor Gear chose to use a matte material with a slightly grainy finish. Each of the colors are muted shades, with a military-themed look and feel. That style follows over to the shape of the plastic, which has a spoked depression around a brushed-metallic UAG panel in the center. The design features what appear to be rivets, but they’re actually just decorative.
Rubber lines the inside of the case, and sticks out from the top, bottom, and front of the case. As with comparable cases, installation and removal are quite easy; you simply push in or push out. The rubber layer includes protection for the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons, which thankfully have a distinct feel from the rest of the rubber and maintain their tactility. Openings on the bottom for the headphone port and microphone, Lightning port, and speaker are large enough to accommodate oversized plugs.
While we really like the look and feel of Composite Case, the distinctive appearance mightn’t be as broadly appealing as a neutral design such as Speck’s CandyShell—in no way is this design bad, however, it’s just not for everyone. That said, Urban Armor Gear’s iPhone 5 case is very protective—especially when you consider the film—and certainly stands out from the crowd. If you’re searching for something a little different, it’s worthy of your consideration, and earns a strong general recommendation.