We mention Speck’s CandyShell cases quite often on this site. Part of the reason is those cases our among our favorites, and have been for years, but it’s also because so many case manufacturers have been inspired by the co-molded rubber and plastic design, releasing their own takes on the style. That’s what Tech21 has done with its Impact Trio for iPhone 5/5s ($25). From the outside, it could be easily confused with a CandyShell, but inside the company has included its shock-absorbing material, which it promotes as one of the major selling points.
Impact Trio is available in three color combinations: white plastic with blue rubber, purple with blue, and black with gray. On all three, the plastic makes up the structure of the case, and is what’s mostly visible from the outside. The rubber lines the inside, coming out the front to form a protective lip, and also protects the button around the top and left edges, keeping them safe from damage while not affecting how well they click—if anything the setup actually increases the tactile sensation.
In addition to the rubber on the inside, there’s also D3O, which is Tech21’s shock absorbing foam material. This runs in columns along the left and right sides, and continues on to the side edges. While we can’t say exactly how much more effective the material is than the rubber and plastic on their own, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it here. Finally, there are the port openings along the lower edge—three simple gaps that allow access to the inputs and let audio in and out.
For many years, CandyShell has earned our strong general recommendation, and this is where Impact Trio lands as well. Speck’s success with branching out its line to include several different useful variations is a big part of the reason that company finally made it to the A- level, and while Impact Trio is very good, it lacks the degree of refinement CandyShell has achieved. That said, however, if the design is to your liking, don’t hesitate to pick it up.
Company and Price
Model: Impact Trio
Compatible: iPhone 5/5s