I haven't posted one of these types of articles in awhile so I thought I'd throw one up. There's been a couple of significant changes in some of the primary apps I am using on my main iPhone home screen:
I know I'm fickle when it comes to iPhone cases. But honestly, I don't know if I will ever have a reason to replace the Power Support bumper currently on my iPhone 5. This Japanese import (yes, it was expensive for a bumper), is sleek and sexy. Power Support Japan has had these bumpers available for quite some time on the iPhone 4/S, but due to the difficulty of getting them thru online importers, I was never quite interested. I am really glad I was able to pick this sleek beauty up through Amazon.
I had originally purchased the Blue/Black version of this case. I wasn't really happy with the glossy blue color but I was happy with the way the PS bumper looked and felt in my hand. The new Slate version (officially called black), arrived today and it is wonderful. The plastic is a matte feel as opposed to the glossy, slippery feel of the blue bumper. The feel is equivalent to the SGP Neo Hybrid EX which is to say there is some slippery feel but nowhere near some of the slippery feeling plastic cases I have had in the past. Overall, this case is pure perfection in terms of look and feel. This bumper looks like it belongs on the iPhone 5.
Understanding that nothing is "truly" perfect, the Power Support Bumper does have a couple of disadvantages, one of which is really nothing major. The first disadvantage is the deep cutout for the side mute switch. I haven't had much issue with getting the switch flipped. Second, in order to get that "click" feedback for the sleep/wake button, you need to apply one (or more) clear stickers on top of the power button. Power Support includes 5 stickers and the instructions (in Japanese) show applying them to the interior of the case. I needed about 2 of them applied to the power button to get that satisfying click feedback. Once the case is on, you forget about them. The side volume buttons are very responsive, even without the stickers. I didn't feel the need to apply any there. Other than the aforementioned "issues", everything adds up to make this a really nice bumper.
Finally, the Lightning connector cutout is shaped wide enough to accomodate Apple's 30 pin-to-Ligthning cable connector (.02) which is a wonderful thing considering I can once again plug the phone into my iHome alarm clock. In terms of the headphone jack, I have only used my phone with the Apple Earbuds and the Bose over-the-ears that I have. Both worked perfectly.
You can pick up one of these beauties at Amazon for $44 USD. Expensive, I know, but if you want sleek and sexy, you have to pay for it.
Just wanted to post some quick thoughts on a case I just received, the SPIGEN Neo Hybrid EX Slim. This is not a full review but rather some initial thoughts about the case.
A couple of weeks ago I had received a Spigen Linear EX slim which IMHO wasn't so slim. Almost as soon as I put the case on, it was wrapped back up and heading back to SPIGEN for a refund. I then threw caution to the wind and figured I try my luck with the Neo Hybrid EX Slim case which I have always liked for prior iPhones (4, 4s). However my experiences with each Neo Hybrid case without fail would suffer from becomimg loose and the case would be relegated to my desk drawer.
My initial impressions of the Slate Neo Hybrid EX are very positive. The Slate color closely matches the slate sides of the black iPhone. The plastic of bumper feels very nice but is a bit on the slippery side. The volume and power buttons which are part of the interior rubber lining (hence the Hybrid name), provide very good tactile feedback. Some folks have complained about the coloring or feel of the buttons, but honestly, I have no issue with them. This is the case that SPIGEN should have released initially when the iPhone 5 was introduced. The first generation Neo Hybrid for the 5 was a bit thicker than this version. The iPhone does feel a bit wider in the hand with the Neo Hybrid than the Caze ThinEdge and some of the cheaper bumper cases I own, but not enough to make holding the phone uncomfortable.
Overall, I really like the quality, look and feel of Neo Hybrid EX Slim bumper. The real acid test will be whether it holds up over time and doesn't suffer the loosening issues that plagued earlier generations of this case.
I purchased the Neo Hybrid during the holidays and included along with the usual SPIGEN accoutriments (front and back Screen Shields, Jelly home buttons), was a Kuel H10 stylus (a $12.99 value) and a $7.99 SPIGEN gift card that can be used for a future purchase.
The Neo Hybrid EX Slim is $31.99 and can be purchased on Amazon or directly from the SPIGEN site.
Just an update regarding the protection I am using on my iPhone 5. I had my Ghost Armor matte rear shield re-installed. Thanks to the manager at Ghost Armor (Roosevelt Field), I didn't have to pay the 5 dollar re-installation fee (because I am such a good customer, LOL). It looks great with the Caze ThinEdge Matte case. As you can see from the photo, the Ghost Armor skin does not go totally from edge-to-edge allowing for bumper type cases to be applied without affecting the skin, causing it to lift or bubble up. While I was at the GA booth, I had my wife's iPad Mini fully protected with a front and rear (clear) skin. What a great product the Ghost Armor is and the guarantee/replacement program is second to none.
I have a Skinomi TechSkin for the screen on order from Amazon so that will complete the protection for the iPhone. I have had some rotten luck with SGP and other screen protectors. There always seems to be that one (or more) piece of dust that gets under the protector and ruins the installation. I have tried everything, including the old "shower steam trick", to no avail. I am hoping the wet installation of the Skinomi's helps make the process easier. I rarely use screen protectors on my iPhones but with the Caze having no front lip, I think using one would be advantageous since I like putting my phone face down, especially during work meetings.
As I mentioned in my Caze review, one of the downsides of this extremely thin bumper is the lack of wired or accessory connectivity aside from the default Apple charging cable. Even the JBL speaker dock I tried in the Apple store today did not fit with the Caze on. I am not quite sure what type of desktop charging solution I will settle on but for now it's the Apple cable.
The search for the perfect iPhone 5 case continues. Next stop on the case express is the ThinEdge Matte from Caze. Caze has redesigned the bumper style case previously available for the iPhone 4/4s to be even more svelte and low-profile to match the design of the thinner and lighter iPhone 5.
The ThinEdge is a bumper style case that wraps around the metallic antenna band and is held together by a single snap on color piece of plastic that Caze provides in two colors for the black case, red and a slate gray. One the the two sides are attached via the snap on piece, the bumper forms a tight seal around the phone. The bumper is a very nice smooth feeling matte plastic. It's not too slippery and provides the extremely thin iPhone with enough grip to feel comfortable in the hand. In terms of protection, this type of case is primarily for anti-scratch with some very minor drop resistance. Let's put it this way, I wouldn't want to test this bumper against the rigors of an over 3 or 4 foot drop on to concrete. The fit and finish of this case is really nice and I am impressed with the quality for a case that was less than 30 dollars. While I am not a big fan of the button cutout on the side of many thin cases, the overall look and feel of the ThinEdge Matte make up for the button inconvenience. Volume button presses need to be a concerted effort pressing hard to activate the click necessary to perform the action. I suppose with a case that fits something as thin as the iPhone 5 there's not many choices available to make a structurally sound encasement of the phone. Same situation holds true for the power button.
One of the things I found odd with this case is that there is a small amount of "lip" on the back for a lay on the table protection but the front of the case is pretty much flush with the screen. I haven't tested the case with any rear or front screen protectors but I plan to re-apply my Ghost Armor matte rear skin to see if the case causes any bubbling or peeling. The Caze comes with both a front and rear shields but I found the quality of those just run-of-the-mill quality. The bottom of the ThinEdge completely covers both speaker areas and provides a port adapter big enough only to fit the standard Apple lightning cable. Unfortunately, neither the 30 pin adapter nor the 30 pin cable adapter fit the opening. If you are totally in with the Lightning cable, this case is a really nice choice for minimal protection that compliments the iPhone 5. Initially I was disappointed regarding the cable connection options. As much as possible I'll use the Apple cable to charge the phone and use Bluetooth to connect in the car. As more Lightning enabled docks and cables become available, they will make using this case less of a compromise.
Overall, I would rate this case very high in terms of quality and looks. If the Caze accommodates the rear Ghost Armor skin, I'll keep it on for the long-term. The Caze is available to order from their website and is available in black, clear, orange, pink, silver, and white for $22.90 USD.
* Update contains new pics of the Silver case I received from Caze.
Caze ThinEdge Matte
Incipio has jumped out the gate offering a bevy of cases for the newly released iPhone 5. The DualPro hardshell case with silicon core is a nice solution that offers a good level of protection and a bit of unique style to your iPhone 5.
The DualPro comes with the usual accouterments that accompany iPhone cases: a clear screen protector, plastic applicator, and a small microfiber cloth. The package also includes a black plastic piece, which for the life of me, I could not figure out what it was for and how to use it. The instructions that came with the case did not explain what it was for. I decided to ignore it and move on to the case.
The case is a two-piece design, consisting of a soft silicon inner shell and an external soft-touch shell made of what Incipio calls Plextonium (plastic). Once the iPhone 5 is placed into the silicon and the shell is applied, the iPhone is fully covered from top to bottom. The power button and the side volume buttons are fully covered and have decent tactile feedback when pressed. The DualPro also offers lay-on-the-table protection for the screen as the sides of the case extend over the edge of the iphone. One complaint that I had with the design is the outer hard shell does not cover the front of the device around the button area so the silicon is exposed. This part of the case had some give to it, which is understandable, but became a bit annoying after some use. Also, I found some difficulty accessing the side mute switch with the tip of my thumb. I had to make a concerted effort with my index finger in order to flip the switch up or down. Your mileage may vary. The back of the case has an oval cutout for the camera and flash which is outlined by a blackout ring which assists in keeping down any light reflection that surfaces can produce. The bottom of the case has individual cutouts for the speakers and the headphone jack. I had no issues plugging in any of the headphones I had available (Apple Earpods, Klipsch s4i’s, and Bose OE2i’s),
Overall, this case with its two levels of cover protection offers a good amount of drop protection and covers enough of the phone to absolutely minimize the possibility of damaging or scratching the iPhone 5. The DualPro sits in the middle of case designs in terms of bulk and protection with the Otterbox defender (most protection) and the bevy of ultra thin shell type cases (least protection). This is a good choice for anyone looking for good protection in a relatively compact form factor. The case I received for review is a Cyan Blue with Grey. Several other colors are offered on the website, with enough combinations to satisfy even he pickiest individual.
As an avid tech fan I look forward to sharing my tech experiences both personally and professionally with those that have similar interests and passion for technology.