Review: Zenus Diary Collection for iPhone 5
Although they're not our favorite iPhone case style, folios appear to be gaining somewhat in popularity, and the iPhone 5 launch saw more folios out of the gate than we've seen early in previous generations. Today, we're taking a look at several of these cases, which share many core characteristics but have notable differences between them. Our roundup includes Hex's Axis Wallet ($50), Lab.C's Smart Wallet Case ($42), Simplism's Flip Note and Vertical Flip Style Cases ($30), Spigen SGP's Illuzion ($33), Uniq Creation's Couleur ($27), and Zenus' Diary Collection ($35-$60).
Zenus is actually offering several different cases within its Diary Collection family. At $40 is the Color Edge Diary Collection, while $35 gets you the Lettering Diary Collection—both made of faux leather—while the Vintage Leather Diary Collection sells for $60. These three are notably shorter than all of the other cases we’re reviewing today, which all measure up to just about the same height. This is mainly due to Zenus’s use of a slide-in frame rather than the more common plastic shells. The style actually provides more protection, mostly thanks to a covered bottom with openings for I/O, and a lip forms around the edge of the screen. Zenus’ offerings hold only a single card and some cash, so they make less sense as wallet replacements than the others; their main appeal will be the look and feel of the materials. Even the faux leather feels comparable to actual cowhide. Color Edge is rich and textured, while Lettering is embossed with script. Notably, that last one doesn’t have a snap to hold it shut like the other two, but all three have mesh-covered holes over the iPhone’s earpiece.
While we wouldn’t strongly recommend any of these Folio-style iPhone cases, some are more worthy of consideration from those who do like the style and are willing to deal with a flap during phone calls. The best of the bunch are Hex’s Axis Wallet, Zenus’ Color Edge Diary Collection, and Zenus’ Lettering Diary Collection for their styles, and Lab.C’s Smart Wallet Case for its ingenuity; all of these cases earn a B, our general recommendation. Vintage Leather Diary Collection is deserving of a limited recommendation largely because its price is higher than generally makes sense for a case of this sort. By contrast, Illuzion’s price is fair, but it’s less exciting, and merits a limited recommendation as well. The two cases from Simplism and Uniq’s Coloeur all fail to earn a recommendation. Build and/or material quality limit their appeal, and even the stand functionality doesn’t make them worth consideration. Illuzion can be had for just a few dollars more, and it’s a better case.