We’ve heard the phrase “thinnest case” more times than we can count over the years, but with Slims for iPhone 5 ($35), iSkin actually has released one of the thinnest cases around, and it’s not a sticker or a shell. First previewed at the 2013 CES, Slims is a two-piece, 0.4mm-thick polycarbonate case that fits around the front and back of the iPhone. It’s currently available in a grey camouflage pattern, brown wood pattern, or white with grey chevrons.
Slims ships along with a pre-moistened cleaning cloth and a microfiber wipe, which are intended to clean the iPhone 5 before you stick the front and back protectors in place. The rear panel clings to the aluminum and glass with a thin strip of adhesive around the border, and the front portion has thicker segments of the material around the screen. Just peel away the protective plastic and stick the halves in place; a narrow gap can be seen between them after installation, modestly exposing the antenna band below.
iSkin chose to skip over any sort of extra protection for the buttons or ports around the edge of the iPhone. The Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are exposed, and just about flush with the case itself, so some users might find it a bit more difficult to press them without looking. It’s the same with the side switch, although that’s raised just slightly higher than the case’s surface. The bottom is open from the headphone port to the end of the speaker, meaning you can use adapters without issue.
On the front, Slims covers almost all of the bezel, including the Home Button, which maintains proper tactility. Up at the top is a single cutout for the earpiece, FaceTime camera, and light sensor. Slims also offers full screen protection thanks to a permanent screen film. Because it doesn’t adhere directly to the display itself, it’s a bubble-free solution. It prevents glare on the display, but like most anti-glare options we’ve seen on Retina displays, there’s a mild prismatic effect. White images especially exhibit a rainbow-like shimmering of pixels.
We’re quite intrigued by what Slims offers: almost full scratch protection for the iPhone 5, with almost no added bulk. What you give up are drop and water exposure protection—not surprises given the thickness, but compromises for the price. Most users will find that Slims provides all the protection that’s necessary for day-to-day use, apart from accidents. We’d like to see later editions incorporate screen protection that doesn’t exhibit a prismatic effect, and adding solid colors to the lineup would make a lot of sense, too. The patterns we’ve seen are sort of unusual—not ones we’d wrap an iPhone in, generally—so more neutral options alongside them would broaden Slims’ appeal. Overall, this case is worthy of our general recommendation: Slims brings a truly new concept to iPhone protection, and it’s executed pretty well.
Company and Price
Company: iSkin, Inc.
Compatible: iPhone 5