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.
Origo in an example of a design that inspires excitement through its looks, but doesn’t quite match up in feel. It’s best understood as an opaque-colored rubber bumper that has been completed by adding a translucent rubber panel to its back. Inside the rear panel is a very unique hex and circle pattern made from opaque rubber, subtly showing through the translucent material. If Moshi had made the whole case from TPU or another stiff plastic material, the idea would have worked perfectly, because it looks very cool, provides top and side button coverage, and even protects the front Home Button. Unfortunately, the rubber is so soft and squishy that the case tends to slide off around the screen when you hold it, the Home Button becomes hard to feel and depress, and the Sleep/Wake Button requires extra pressure even when you find it with your finger. Rather than screen film, Moshi includes back film to protect the iPhone 5’s rear surface from damage inside the case. Cool in concept but not quite right in execution, Origo just needs new materials to live up to its potential.
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. The Joy Factory’s Jugar is so plain that it doesn’t justify its $25 price, even though it’s OK otherwise and the shutter button is kind of cool. It earns a C+ rating. Finally there’s Phone Cube 5. Of all the cases reviewed here, it looks and feels the cheapest. You do get screen film and a a wrist strap with it, but they don’t justify the price. As such it deserves a flat C.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhone 5