Rokform’s Rokshield v3 for iPhone 5 ($49) forgoes the screw-together metal design we’ve previously seen from the company — instead, it’s a slider-style plastic case that shares many features with the iPad case Roklock v3. This case notably isn’t only for protection; it also offers two different mounting solutions. Not everyone will like the style, but this strikes us as a much smarter design than what the company was offering before.
Rokshield shares design elements with cases such as Rokbed, but executes on them in much smarter ways. It comes in three pieces: two slide together plastic components lined with soft fabric and a rubber bumper that snaps in place over them. The back of the case has a number of ridges and valleys, plus an opening over the Apple logo, which we’re typically not fond of.
Users can choose whether to install the bumper, but it makes sense to do so: not only does it provide extra shock absorption, but there’s button protection built-in, as well. The rubber covers the Sleep/Wake, Home, and volume buttons without significantly reducing their tactility. It does reduce accessory compatibility slightly, though, as the Lightning and headphone ports are more deeply recessed with it installed. If this turns out to be an issue, take the frame off.
Unlike most cases, Rokshield v3’s hole around the Apple logo actually serves a purpose: it’s used to connect an included mounting bracket, designed to semi-permanently attach to a surface with its adhesive backing. The idea is to put the bracket in place—in your car or a wall, perhaps—and then snap the case in place when needed.
Additionally, an embedded magnet is included that can do the same thing to metal surfaces. Despite its small size, the magnet is quite strong. Rokform sells v3 Lil’Rok, an adhesive backed magnet that can work with this system, for $16.
Rokshield is much more affordable than previous Rokform cases, and more protective as well. The look doesn’t have universal appeal, but there are plenty of users who will like it. The mounting options are pretty cool too, for those who need them.