We didn’t expect to like Spigen SGP’s Neo Hybrid for iPhone 5 ($30) as much as we do. The case isn’t too flashy, made up of a TPU skin and polycarbonate bumper. But it is sleek and protective, with many small details that show it was well thought-out. It’s very similar to a rearranged Slim Armor, in everything from the look and feel of the materials, to the multiple color options, and including three packed-in Home Button stickers.
We found it easier to separate the plastic and rubber layers before installing the Neo Hybrid. When you do it this way, the rubber easily slips on, and then the frame snaps into place; if you attempt to do it while they’re together, they may split apart during the process. The components fit together seamlessly, enough so that observers probably wouldn’t realize that they’re distinct pieces. Installed, the case adds very little bulk. It’s even a millimeter or two thinner than Slim Armor, and we can feel the difference.
There are a few aspects we’re generally looking for when it comes to port and button protection, and Spigen SGP got most of them right. The first is button protection. Not only is it advantageous to have something over the Sleep/Wake and Volume buttons, but the material shouldn’t reduce their tactility. Neo Hybrid’s “metalized” button covers leave the controls nice and clicky, while fully protected. The ringer switch is exposed, although that’s pretty much expected. As for the bottom edge, there are separate openings for the headphone port and Lightning port—both large enough to accommodate third-party plugs—alongside smaller pill-shaped holes for the speaker and microphone. There is a lip around the screen, which is somewhat short, but appreciated.
Overall, this case is a success. It’s not the fanciest case on the market, but it doesn’t have to be. The plastic and rubber will protect an iPhone from most daily use and unintentional abuse, without feeling overly large in the pocket or interfering with most accessory compatibility. Our only small sticking point is the price, which strikes us as about $5 too high for a case with these materials and no screen protection. We still highly recommend Neo Hybrid, though, especially for users who prefer minimalist design.
Company and Price
Company: Spigen SGP
Model: Neo Hybrid
Compatible: iPhone 5