We rarely cover shell-style iPhone cases, but then again, it’s not often that such cases are built like Swiss Army Knives. In1’s Multi-Tool Utility Case for iPhone 5/5s ($45) packs a cool feature set that we’re frankly surprised no one did first. Inside the soft touch-coated plastic case, which comes in black, clear, or white, there are eight tools that can be pulled out and used as needed. As a cool touch, the color of the tools’ half-inch handles can be customized from a selection of six shades when ordering.
Instead of snapping onto the back of the iPhone, as most shells do, this one is a slider. A small cap along the bottom pops off when it’s time to install or remove the handset, which easily slides in and out. Like most shells, however, it does leave the top and bottom edges, and the ports and buttons along them, unprotected. With a depth of roughly 0.6”, Multi-Tool Utility Case is thicker than many cases, but not unbearably so.
Starting at the iPhone’s top right corner, there are two pens; one is red, the other blue. At only 2” long, they’re difficult to write with for long periods of time, and are more suitable for jotting down quick notes. Next, you’ll find small Philips and flat-head screwdrivers underneath the camera. These are even shorter, at less than 1.5”, but again, may come in handy in a jam. The collection of tools is interrupted by a kickstand on the right side of the case, which holds the iPhone at a roughly 50° angle in landscape orientation. Then, along the left, there are four more tools: a nail file, tweezers, scissors, and a toothpick. Despite its collection of tools, the case is TSA-compliant, meaning you can fly without having to remove any of the pieces. This likely explains why there’s no knife.
It’s cool to see all the tools packed inside this case, but given the current array and size of the tools, we can’t help but feel the accessory is a novelty at this point. Sure, there might be instances when a pen or tweezers would be useful to have on hand, but the compact size of all the pieces makes their real-world functionality more questionable. That, combined with a case that’s less protective than it could be, earns Multi-Tool Utility Case a limited recommendation. We can definitely see some people getting excited over this one, but it’s likely not going to have an extremely wide appeal.
Company and Price
Model: Multi-Tool Utility Case
Compatible: iPhone 5/5s