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.
Jugar competes for the title of plainest-looking in this group, and it’s also the bulkiest. The Joy Factory chose to use a particularly thick silicone rubber that packs in a hidden metal frame along the front edge at the top and bottom of the case. Coming in solid black, purple, pink, or grey, the case doesn’t stand out aesthetically; there are some dots for texture along the side edges, but it’s otherwise flat and plain. The one standout feature is a white plastic circle over the volume up button designed to make photography easier.
Rather than having to search for the shutter control, your finger quickly finds it by feel, and the button remains clickable. The Sleep/Wake button, on the other hand, is somewhat hindered by the thick rubber: if you press it in the right place you’ll feel it click, but the material is bulky enough that it takes a fair amount of extra pressure, and it’s easy to press around the button rather on top of it.
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. The Joy Factory’s Jugar is so plain that it doesn’t justify its $25 price, even though it’s OK otherwise and the shutter button is kind of cool.