When Logitech launched its case+ modular iPhone 5/5s case system a few months back, we were intrigued by the idea, but passed on reviewing it based on the shell-style case and $200 price tag; you had to buy everything at once, rather than individual pieces as you go. The company is taking another stab at the concept, and we think this new approach has greater appeal. protection+ ($35) is a much more protective case, military-rated for drop protection. Inside, there’s a hidden metal plate that can magnetically attach to accessories, such as +trip ($30). This mount fits onto a car’s vent, and then magnetically holds the case in place. Two extra plates are included so that the mount can be used with other cases as well.
It often seems that when there are accessory ecosystems built around a case, the case actually receives the least attention in terms of design. That’s what seems to have happened with Logitech’s original case+, a plastic shell that left the bottom of the iPhone exposed, and didn’t cover its buttons. The story is different with protection+. It’s a very good case in its own right, even before you consider the other accessories.
Much like Speck’s CandyShell and all the other cases that have been inspired by it, protection+ is made of a combination of rubber and plastic, although instead of a glossy exterior, this one has a matte, soft-touch finish. There’s a protective lip around the display, plus rubber button covers that only slightly dampen the tactility. Instead of one long opening along the bottom, small strips of rubber divide the headphone port and microphone, Lightning port, and speaker.
There are three elements of the case that help to set it apart from other co-molded options out there. The first is the inclusion of specially padded corners, lined with shock-absorbent material. Next, the rubber layer of the case extends into two horizontal bars across the back, which Logitech calls impact channels. They’re supposed to help absorb energy from drops. What really separates this case from others on the market is the 1.7” tall segment of brushed metal-looking material on the case’s rear. Underneath, there’s a hidden metal plate that makes the case compatible with accessories.
It works in much the same way Scosche’s MagicMount system does.
Currently, there are two accessories compatible with protection+: +trip, which we received for review, and a second car mount called +drive, which we did not. The former is a simple accessory, and reminds us of Kenu’s Airframe. Just over an inch deep, it’s a 1.4”-diameter magnet, padded with rubber, with rubber arms sticking out of the back. The idea is that you’ll fit it onto one of your car’s air vents, and then be able to easily attach and detach your phone. If you’re not using protection+, two magnetic plates are included that can be stuck to the back of any device, or simply inserted between a case and a handset.
We found the setup to work just as expected. The magnetic grip is nice and strong, so there’s no fear that the phone will fall off. We did find that in our car, the position of the vents made it somewhat difficult to use the mount; longer arms might be a solution to increasing compatibility.