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.
Tuffwrap is the best of these cases because it combines all their best features in a single design. First, the material feels quite nice—glossy TPE rubber with a neat cascading pattern of smooth, raised, matte-finished squares. The case fits well around the iPhone’s body; it’s tight and slim. XtremeMac got button protection exactly right by covering all three along the edge without reducing tactility.
Even the rounded rectangular shape of the vibrate switch hole strikes us as thoughtful. The five bright color options are nice options, too. More thorough coverage along the bottom edge splitting up the one long opening and a bit more of a pronounced lip are the only real improvements we could ask for.
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.