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.
Despite its slim profile, we weren’t fond of Groove, a one-piece case that mixes plain, flat matte edges with a glossy patterned back. It’s not a bad case in any way, it just doesn’t really stand out from the pack in any major way. On positive notes, Skech did get button coverage right, as the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons totally maintain their clickiness. Along the bottom edge, there are three openings instead of just one, showing that the designers cared to provide a little extra protection.
There’s a small lip around the screen, slight enough that it might not be totally protective if your iPhone fell on a textured surface; screen film is included, however. Compared to GripShock, Groove feels like a cheaper option, despite selling for a higher price.
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.