Silicone rubber and soft plastic cases are not only some of the simplest cases available for iPhones, but they’re also among the most pervasive — inexpensive to produce yet sold at $20-$25 prices similar to more advanced cases. Here we’re taking a look at a large collection of options that have arrived following the launch of the iPhone 5. The cases include Bone Collection’s Phone Bubble 5 ($25) and Phone Cube 5 ($25), Jugar ($25) from The Joy Factory, Origo from Moshi ($25), Scosche’s glosSEE ($20), Skech’s GripShock ($20) and Groove ($25), and finally XtremeMac’s Tuffwrap ($23). Some are especially plain, while others have distinguishing features that make them worth a second look.
Phone Cube 5 is the cheapest-looking and -feeling case among the group, and one of the weakest rubber options we’ve seen for the iPhone 5. On a positive note, Phone Cube 5 wraps around the entire phone, leaving only the display and some of the I/O exposed. The rubber is incredibly thin, though, so much so that the Apple logo shows through the back. It’s also ill-fitting, particularly around the screen where the edges don’t sit flat.
We did like the pattern of raised squares that runs from the back to the bezel on the front, but it doesn’t make up for the overall quality of the case; the included screen protector or wrist strap don’t, either. At least the buttons are covered and the thin material doesn’t affect their clickiness.
Of the cases considered here, XtremeMac’s Tuffwrap is our favorite. It’s a combination of all the style’s best features, plus a truly nice design on the back, resulting in a very nice case and earning our strong general recommendation. GripShock is on the same level. Although we’re not as fond of the Sleep/Wake button coverage, the case is quite nice looking and features the closest tailoring on the bottom edge of any iPhone 5 case we’ve yet seen. The screen inclusion of screen film is also appreciated.
Despite its confusing pricing, GlosSEE earns our general recommendation. It’s a bit thicker than the others, button tactility is an issue, and it’s otherwise plain looking, but when purchased at the two for $20 rate, it’s hard to go wrong. Phone Bubble 5 warrants a B- mostly for its distinctive look. It’s not for everyone, but the case is protective and the cute Home button covers will certainly appeal to some. We just wish the material felt a bit less cheap. Groove earns the same rating; especially compared to GripShock it just isn’t as nice of a case as some of the others. And so does Origo, which could easily have been an highly recommended case if it wasn’t so squishy.