Although they’re not our favorite iPhone case style, folios appear to be gaining somewhat in popularity, and the iPhone 5 launch saw more folios out of the gate than we’ve seen early in previous generations. Today, we’re taking a look at several of these cases, which share many core characteristics but have notable differences between them. Our roundup includes Hex’s Axis Wallet ($50), Lab.C’s Smart Wallet Case ($42), Simplism’s Flip Note and Vertical Flip Style Cases ($30), Spigen SGP’s Illuzion ($33), Uniq Creation’s Couleur ($27), and Zenus’ Diary Collection ($35-$60).
Simplism offers two different folio cases: Flip Note Style opens like an Asian-style book with the spine on the right, while Vertical Flip Style flips open at the top, conjuring up the image of a detective’s notepad. Both cases combine obvious faux leather with nice wood accents and plastic iPhone frames. Flip Note Style packs in two credit card slots on the inside of the front cover and has a rear iSight camera hole, while Vertical Flip Style only has one slot located behind the iPhone itself and requires the front flap to be fully removed for camera access. Both do benefit from the ability to be used as stands, a minor plus. We noted that the build quality seems less than stellar; for instance, the shell on Flip Note Style was glued on crookedly, and its faux leather lining was peeling at the edges.
While we wouldn’t strongly recommend any of these Folio-style iPhone cases, some are more worthy of consideration from those who do like the style and are willing to deal with a flap during phone calls. The best of the bunch are Hex’s Axis Wallet, Zenus’ Color Edge Diary Collection, and Zenus’ Lettering Diary Collection for their styles, and Lab.C’s Smart Wallet Case for its ingenuity; all of these cases earn a B, our general recommendation. Vintage Leather Diary Collection is deserving of a limited recommendation largely because its price is higher than generally makes sense for a case of this sort. By contrast, Illuzion’s price is fair, but it’s less exciting, and merits a limited recommendation as well. The two cases from Simplism and Uniq’s Coloeur all fail to earn a recommendation. Build and/or material quality limit their appeal, and even the stand functionality doesn’t make them worth consideration. Illuzion can be had for just a few dollars more, and it’s a better case.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPhone 5