Based on its earlier Slim Armor case, Spigen SGP has introduced Tough Armor for iPhone 5 ($30). At its core, the basic structure is the same: a silicone rubber body reinforced with a plastic backplate. There are both obvious and subtle difference that make this one unique, although it’s clearly still part of the same family. Its key feature — “Air Cushion Technology” — is actually hidden from view. As with Slim Armor, Spigen includes a set of Home Button stickers with the case.
Based on the name, we expected Tough Armor to be significantly larger than Slim Armor, but it’s actually about the same size. It’s only slightly taller and wider, and they’re about the same thickness.
Spigen chose to redesign the button coverage on this newer one. There’s still full protection for the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons, but instead of being shaped to the metal controls, they’re wide boxes that work just as well. It also went with a slightly more exposed bottom. Instead of rows of pill-shaped openings over the speaker and microphones, there are just large holes. It’s a small difference, and for the most part, a non-issue. Both the headphone and Lightning port openings are large enough that you should be able to connect most any plugs.
It’s the small pocket of air in each of the four corners that Spigen promotes as the main protective feature of the case. These invisible cushions are meant to help absorb shocks, and protect your phone. While there’s no way to test them, the case does feel like it would do pretty well in a fall. The one aspect we take issue with is the round opening over the Apple logo. We’ve never been fans of the aesthetics of that design used on any case, and it exposes some of the metal back to scratches in some circumstances.
Spigen has been on a roll, especially over the past year or so, and Tough Armor is no exception.