I remember when I first held the iPhone 5. It felt fake. Incredibly thin and light, in part due to the aluminum casing, which apparently is susceptible to scuffing. Some say scuffing adds character, but I’m not in that crowd. I like my devices to remain as if they were just removed from the box. I’m willing to take the trade-off of added bulk for an iPhone that stays in pristine condition. That being said, I’m always conflicted because I want to experience the thin, light design of the iPhone 5 as intended by Jony Ive and company. I was eager to try the latest from SwitchEasy, a manufacturer I’d heard plenty of over the years, but never had a chance to test out. Read on for my full SwitchEasy Tones Case for iPhone 5 review to see if this is a case worth considering for your iPhone 5.
The SwitchEasy Tones case is constructed of what the company calls duo material. The shell is composed of a hard polycarbonate, while the sides are a soft rubberized material. The polycarbonate features a texturized finish. This is a very hard material that offers very high quality protection. With the case, you receive port inserts for the headphone jack and lightning connector. Once you insert these rubberized pieces, you have to remove the case in order to remove them. I suppose if you don’t use your headphones, then closing up that port might offer you protection you wouldn’t normally find in a case not named Lifeproof or Otterbox. The iPhone 5 has a water damage indicator inside the headphone jack that will change color if exposed to water. If you have a problem with your iPhone, Apple will refuse your warranty if it’s deemed to have water damage. I’m not sure if this marker is susceptible to false positives caused by rain or other elements. If I had to guess, I’d say no. However, if you don’t use your headphone jack, this is a great little bonus that will keep that port closed.
Following in the tradition of other manufacturers, this case also comes with a screen protector, another nice bonus. My personal favorite still remains the Steinheil by SGP. By including this with the Tones case, it becomes a complete protection package.
Shopping for cases online can be difficult, but the truth is that most folks shop for cases online. Case manufacturers have been differentiating themselves by injecting color, patterns and exclusives from actual designers. When speaking about design, the color and patterns are only one element. The way that case fits your iPhone 5 is something that cannot be determined by viewing a case online and it’s probably the most important aspect of a case purchase. How does it fit the iPhone 5? How does it feel? Does it add bulk or retain much of the sleek design of the iPhone?
This being a snap-on case, the manufacturer needed to design the case so that it could easily be installed and have a tight fit. It’s a delicate balance, often the tipping point between good and great cases. SwitchEasy nailed it with an absolutely perfect fit. When you snap the Tones case on the iPhone 5, it immediately feels as if they were separated at birth. It’s that good. You get all the benefits of the hard polycarbonate shell, yet it retains the iPhone 5’s thin, light and beautiful design. With the case on, the iPhone 5 still felt solid and not at all bulky. The material, while having a very plasticky feel, was also very grippy. The power button, along with the volume buttons are completely covered by the rubberized material. Perhaps there a touch more pressure needed, but that’s to be expected and I’m probably splitting hairs.
Ports that remain open are completely accessible. I haven’t tested the Lightning port with a 30-pin adapter, but it appears that it will not work based anecdotal information I’ve seen from people using similar style cases.
- Perfect fit
- Retains thin, light form factor of iPhone 5
- Includes port, screen protectors
- Durable protection
- Great looking
- Looks plasticky
My excitement over this product was immediate and hasn’t waned at all. I’d like to see a matte version, but the current assortment of colors offer plenty of choices to suit your personal style. I should note that ‘pink’ is not my personal choice or style, but it was the color I happened to bring in for review. What I found remarkable about the SwitchEasy Tones was the fit, the feel and the ability to retain the beautiful design of the iPhone 5, while sporting some serious protection. This is a great iPhone 5 case at a great price and I highly recommend it. It’s that good.
The SwitchEasy Tones retails for $24.99. It’s available in black, white blue, white, purple, teal, olive and pink.