Review: X-Doria Defense 720° for iPhone 5c
Like many companies, X-Doria took a gamble by releasing iPhone 5c cases before the product was even announced; review samples of the case arrived in our office the day before Apple's keynote address. There were enough part and spec leaks, however, that the company was able to design accessories that fit properly without hindering usability. Three of the cases -- Rapt ($25), Scene Plus ($30) -- are similar to one another, and match common styles on the market, while Defense 720° ($30) adds a component that make it its own distinct piece.
Made popular by Speck and its CandyShell series, one of the more prevalent case concepts today co-molds rubber and plastic in a single piece. That’s exactly what Rapt is, although X-Doria adds a unique design aesthetic that helps differentiate it. The body is just what we’d expect: its core is hard plastic, with soft rubber at the front edge, running over the buttons and around the ports. Despite the fact that the case is just slightly stretched out around the front, the button coverage is perfectly executed, and all the port openings line up correctly. Flip the case over to the back, and you’ll find the most unique aspect: rubber and plastic zig-zag across the back in a cool pattern that doesn’t add extra protection, but does help the case stick out. Rapt is available in grey on black, blue on blue, and fuchsia on pink color combinations.
While Scene and Scene Plus also use both rubber and plastic, and include the same button protection and port access as Rapt, the big difference is their back panels. Scene combines a blue, grey, red, or yellow frame with a totally clear back, letting the iPhone 5c’s colored shell show through, while Scene Plus features one of three semi-transparent patterns. Compared to Apple’s own iPhone 5c Case, this is a much better way to show off the colors. There’ll likely be many more cases in the coming weeks and months that utilize this kind of design: it’s simple, but offers good protection and lets the iPhone shine through.
At first glance, Defense 720° may not look much different than Scene: it has a rubber border for edge protection, the same pleasantly clicky button coverage, and individual openings for the speaker, Lightning port, and headphone port/microphone on the bottom. The back is cloudy, rather than totally transparent, with an X pattern. Again, it’s a nice way to show of the multihued iPhone 5c.
The handset actually fits just fine in the case by itself, but X-Doria sets it apart by including a hard plastic screen protector, which clips in place on the front of the phone. Leaving well-centered openings for the front-facing camera, earpiece, and Home Button, the shield doesn’t impact touch sensitivity in any way. It does, however, take a toll on how the screen looks: this is one of the most pronounced examples we’ve seen of a prismatic effect, a rainbow-like sheen when the display is turned on, especially over white portions of the screen. While the display is better protected, it doesn’t look nearly as nice as it does unobscured.
We have no serious objections to any of these four cases. While none are best-in-class, they each are respectable for what they are. Rapt and Scene both earn our strong general recommendation. The prices are slightly higher than what competitors already are offering, and the fit around the front needs to be tweaked a little bit, but they’re still very good. Scene Plus comes in just a little bit lower; while the design on the back is a nice touch, nothing here is worth an extra $5. Finally, there’s Defense 720°, which is a bit more complicated. It offers the same level of protection around the sides and back, plus similar good looks. The screen protector, however, is the weak link. Skip it and you’ll be fine, but if it’s include, it should be executed properly. For that reason, the case also earns a B. It’d be a better value if the display cover didn’t negatively impact the way the screen looks.