Since Speck popularized the co-molded rubber and plastic style case with multiple generations of the CandyShell family, many companies have since adopted the same idea. Until now, we had yet to see one that uses the same kind of flip-open bottom as CandyShell Flip. Thanks to that bottom, Incipio’s Stashback for iPhone 5 ($40) allows for full accessory and dock compatibility, while also adding wallet functionality to the mix.
Like CandyShell—and Incipio’s earlier Faxion and [Ovrmld] cases—Stashback is mainly hard plastic on the outside, and lined with rubber. That softer material extends above the iPhone’s front edge, creating a protective lip. It also pokes through the plastic to cover the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons. The former feels a bit squishier than when it’s not covered, but the latter set maintain their tactility.
One immediately obvious difference between Stashback and the aforementioned cases is Stashback’s lower level of protection along the bottom edge. Instead of covering the corner and some of the metal band, it leaves these elements fully exposed. While most accessories will fit in the headphone and Lightning ports because of this opening, users also have the option of flipping the bottom inch or so of the case back. This is particularly handy for docking, a task that accessories will not handle well if the earliest ones we’ve tested are any indication.
The other noticeable difference is Stashback’s extra thickness. Most of the case is raised in a bulge about a tenth of an inch thicker than Faxion, although it tapers down underneath the camera. This size differential may not seem like a lot, but it feels like it. Thankfully there’s a good justification for the bulge: like Incipio’s earlier Stowaway, Stashback has room inside for up to three credit cards, accessible when the bottom is flipped open. Of all the wallet cases we’ve tested, this is the least conspicuous spot we’ve seen for holding cards, and it’s incredibly easy to use. No friction impedes insertion or removal of the cards, and thanks to the clear back protector included along with the screen film and installation tools, you don’t need to worry about the back of your iPhone 5 getting scratched. It’s a really smart solution, and we’re frankly surprised that no one else came up with it earlier. The only downside is that you may hear your cards rattling around if you shake the case.
As wallet-and-case combinations are becoming quite popular, we think Stashback is going to be a big hit for Incipio. It takes an attractive and protective iPhone case design, then adds wallet functionality that works flawlessly. Although it is thicker than otherwise comparable cases, the added size is necessary for the intended purpose, and not so large that it’s a problem. The one improvement we’d like to see from Incipio is a little bit more coverage along the bottom edge, on par with Faxion and CandyShell Flip. Otherwise, we highly recommend Stashback. At a $5 premium over CandyShell Flip, it will thrill people who want a similar design, but are looking to transition away from separate wallets.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhone 5