Trident Case’s Kraken A.M.S. Case for iPhone 5 ($50) is clearly inspired by the company’s prior version for iPhone 4/4S, although unlike some other ports, it’s been changed more than simply stretched. As the company’s most heavy-duty case, it offers a very sturdy plastic body with a rubber layer for even more protection. Unfortunately, the design leaves a lot to be desired. At a time when companies such as OtterBox and Griffin have been able to make attractive cases that offer high levels of protection, Kraken’s bulk and design aesthetic are a step behind the pack.
The case breaks down to three pieces: a floppy rubber skin that fits directly around the body of the iPhone, a plastic front and side frame with built-in permanent screen protection, and a wide back panel. Assembly is easy, although fully put together, Kraken adds 0.38” of height, about a quarter inch of depth, and 0.82” of width—the last is the most noticeable dimension. The plastic shell snaps together with screw head-shaped plastic jutting out through the sides of the front piece into holes on the rear component. Separating the case is more difficult, as it requires wedging a fingernail or other flat object between the layers of plastic to pry them apart. Ridges on either side allow the included belt clip to snap on over the screen.
Kraken does a very good job of covering the iPhone 5’s many ports and buttons. The volume, Sleep/Wake, and Home buttons are all protected without sacrificing tactility—the first two by plastic, the last two by rubber. The company deserves some credit for including a headphone extender, allowing headphones with plugs wider than those produced by Apple to connect, and vents the speaker and microphone forwards with slits along the front of the bottom edge. Flip-open rubber protectors give way to the ports on the bottom as well as the side switch. For some inexplicable reason, Trident chose to leave a hole directly through to the Apple logo; it’s not even covered by transparent plastic, which neither looks great nor protects the device, a poor choice. There’s also a metal kickstand on the back, which works well for landscape viewing, and can be pried off and replaced by other accessories from the company.
While Kraken provides about the same level of protection as OtterBox’s Defender, it’s simply far less attractive. For the same $50, you end up with a case that’s larger in all dimensions, and looks somewhat cobbled together. Other small details such as how difficult it can be to separate the case, or the hole over the Apple logo on the back, just add to the issues. Ultimately Kraken is still a pretty good case, but we wouldn’t be as quick to recommend it as others in its category. It merits a B- rating.
Updated May 2, 2014: Trident has shipped us the newly revised version of its Kraken case. While our policies prohibit a full review, we did want to touch upon it as it’s a more streamlined option, yet offers the same amount of protection. A belt clip is still included as well.
Company and Price
Company: Trident Case
Model: Kraken A.M.S. Case
Compatible: iPhone 5