Review: Apple’s iPhone 5c Case is tastefully tacky

By , Sep 24, 2013

iPhone 5c Cases

Typically, I do not bother reviewing Apple items because I do not feel like adding my $.02 to the pile of other blogging around the web. Leave the big company reviews to the big boys, is best in my opinion. However, when I saw Apple release the “iPhone 5c Case,” I immediately felt the need to pick one up and share my opinions. Feel free to call it a useless need to self aggrandize my product reviews by weighing in on the newest Apple offering. I couldn’t look past the bold and somewhat tacky bright color schemes.

What drew me into the review was Apple’s previous lack of actual cases. In most recent history, Apple released a Smart Cover for iPad and the mini. Additionally, Apple released bumpers for iPhone 4. Apple making the definitive decision to release a case for the already colorful iPhone 5c made me stop and take notice. What possessed the company to finally produce a full fledged case for iPhone and what would Apple do so differently from other case manufactures?

As Steve was a self proclaimed iPhone nudist, clearly there were some people behind the late Apple CEO that were itching to release a case…

Demanding perfection

As a borderline Apple Fanboy, I try to keep an objective eye when it comes to loving and hating Apple products. Actually, I believe most reasonable Fanboys would admit to being overly critical of Apple when judging newly released products. Inside me, I find it is easier to cast stones at Apple because of my infinitely high expectations for their products. They are the most dominating consumer electronic company on the market and Apple has high design standards. How could they produce something that left me lacking?

If Apple takes the time to sit down and design an iPhone case, you better believe I expect it to be the best iPhone case on the market. Like the iPad Smart Cover, Apple designed the iPhone 5c Case alongside the iPhone 5c to actualize the best possible user experience and design aesthetic. Consequently, I reserved judgement until using the case paired with my iPhone 5c this weekend.

iPhone 5c Blue Yellow

Tailored for iPhone 5c

I completely believe the case was tailored for the 5c during the design phase. It fits the form factor with completely exacting precision. Having reviewed many cases over the years, there are few cases that can get everything lined up precisely. The mute switch, camera port, lighting jack, 3.5mm headphone out, mic, and speaker holes could not be more precisely cut.

Rounded edges curl around the iPhone the way an old river bends through a winding field. Even the curves on the volume buttons, sleep/wake button, lightning jack, and camera port all appear to be in proportion to one another.

The silicon design sounded like a poor choice during the keynote, as many silicon cases I review are limp, rubbery, and poorly cut or molded. Apple’s case is turgid, but not inflexible. There is just enough relaxing in the silicon to pull the case off the device, but it is a tight squeeze. Every time I remove the case, either the sleep/wake button is depressed, a volume button is hit, or the mute switch is flipped.

The thickness also seems to be exactly perfect. It is thick enough to offer a slight shock absorption if dropped, but I do not have a hard time accessing the mute switch or depressing the buttons. The feel is not too bulky, as to take away from the thinly designed iPhone, nor does it overwhelmingly detract from the curves. Finally, the interior microfiber lining is soft to the touch and will prevent unnecessary scratching to the 5c’s polycarbonate shell.

Design

Certainly, I have no trained eye when it comes to good, bad, or poor design. There is no formal training in my background or actual product design experience. I am just another blogger putting words to a blank electronic canvas, but I, like everyone else, have an opinion. Before I say my peace about the case design, I wanted to embed the “Designed Together” video, highlighting how iOS 7 and iPhone 5c are inherently linked.

Like iOS 7 and the 5c, I too can see the wedding of Apple’s case and the device itself. The design is simple and minimalistic. There are no superfluous design features or optional accessories. Silicone provides a soft and unassuming feel and life. The proportional design elements, like the button molded covers, the camera cutout, or the lightning opening, all seem to match each other and, in turn, match the curves, turns, and design of the 5c. Once reflecting slightly on the design, I remembered the introduction video to Apples’ June 2013 WWDC, shown below.

Apple truly embraced the concept of minimal, but intentional design. Each element of the design, touch, look, feel, is designed to enhance the user experience not only with the case, but the fluid interaction between the case, the phone, and the operating system. Apple has stunned me with the way the three products incorporate each other. It is almost as if the 5s was the odd device in the line up.

Of course, I cannot get through the design section without touching on the circles, because with them, Apple ruined the entire sense of felicitous harmony. The three-in-one religious experience of the case, the phone, and the OS comes crashing to a disastrous, violent end when the case was peppered with 35 gridded holes. Yes, this allows the vibrant 5c colors to shine through the mask, but at what expense?

Everything fits together, except the holes. The curves, finished lines, proportioned ports are all lost with the letters “hon” glaring back at me on the back. The nirvana-like trance of the entire experience Apple worked so carefully to create is destroyed with typography. Shocking, as typography is something you would not expect to befall an Apple design.

iPhone 5c Case hon

Really, I enjoy the holes. They do let the inner iPhone shine through and provide a play on the vibrant color combinations, as intended by the Apple designers, I’m certain. However, why not leave a few holes closed? Why not work around the inscription on the back of the iPhone? The Apple logo was completely covered to prevent a similar mishap.

I cannot imagine this was an intentional design. Loving every bit of Apple’s design for many years, except the new Safari.app icon, I cannot believe Apple overlooked the holes showing typography underneath. It is a disappoint and a shame that this oversight takes away from the otherwise beautiful look and complete experience offered by the combination of different hardware and software.

It seems strange, a company so focused on the intentional redefining of a product line could also intentionally overlook such a dramatically changing design aesthetic.

Conclusion

Misplaced holes aside it is a great case for $29. The case offers six-sided protection and is great for all occasions. I especially like the lip on the front does not completely cover the iPhone edge, which leaves a two toned color outline all the way around the device face. Importantly, this also provides ample room for screen covers or skins.

I did not fear taking my phone around for the weekend or throwing it in the cup holder in my car when traveling back and forth to my hometown. The soft silicon is fine for protection, but does tend to attract extra lint. This slightly tacky feel, combined with 35 individual holes will make for quite a lint collector over the course of time.

Overall, great case for the price and it obviously matches perfectly with iPhone 5c. After all, the typography on the back is a small detractor. It serves to disrupt the complete experience I believe Apple was trying to harmonize, but, as the video clip asks: What does Apple want people to feel in design? “Delight” and I would say I’m right there with the Apple iPhone 5c Case.

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  • omrishtam

    remove the dots and i will consider it

    • pauleebe

      The dots are there to show the backside of your phone, otherwise all 5C’s would appear the same with the same colored cases.

      • omrishtam

        i am pretty sure apple could come up with other ways to show the back colour without these dots….

      • pauleebe

        Such as?

      • omrishtam

        i dunno like removing the dots and keep the camera part open (duh)…….apple could think of more ways believe me

      • Max Kas

        Clear plastic

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        clear plastic is nasty – it discolors and scratches.

    • Maxim∑

      hope your realize that’s a case

    • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

      all cases make style choices. there are literally bazillions of cases out there with a solid back, so I’m sure your personal needs will be met.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    If the case didn’t have all of those holes in and the ‘hon’ of ‘iPhone’ could not be seen the case wouldn’t bother me at all. Although like a lot of Apple fans I do not even bother putting cases on my devices. My iPhone 4S for example has an iCarbons skin on the back but that’s it…

  • Kenrick Fernandes

    Quote from the column above by Jim Gresham: “Really, I enjoy the holes”

    Erm.. Ok .then..

    • Question

      Lol

  • not a spark

    When OEMs release a case for their own product it is always awful… ALWAYS.

    • omrishtam

      actually theire smart cover and smart case are pretty good and also the iphone 5s case is actually nice

      • not a spark

        ALWAYS

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        repeating yourself AND SCREAMING doesn’t make it any more true.

      • iOops

        Not always. The 5s case is in fact quite nice looking, and feel (as long as you stay away from the god awful red one).

  • Linton Findlay

    Waiting for mophie to make a juice pack for the 5S

    • mhchehade

      You can use the same as for the 5

      • Linton Findlay

        The 5s has different wattage and voltage so im not sure if that would make any difference, and mophie havnt said anything about their older cases being compatible yet, and theyll
        most likely create a new case

  • Omar Ruiz

    Nice writing. The attention to detail when describing the product is on point and really makes you see & feel the product as if it was in front of you. Thumbs up*

  • Omar Ruiz

    You should really try reviewing the leather case next.

  • Singed

    Like it was mentioned in this blog already – let’s wait for a Kickstarter that lets us use this horrid case as a “Match-4″ game.

  • RarestName

    I always can’t keep a straight face whenever I see the “hon” at the back :D

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Wonder if the “non” text on the backs symbolises something…

  • batongxue

    Everything is great aside from that “hon”

  • Vidhu Singhal

    Steve Jobs would have shaved the head of Tim Cook and cut the head of Jonathan Ivy (can’t shave more) for this. Apple is losing it lately (believe me I am a huge fan)… They need the eyes and determination of Jobs… iOS 7 too looks unfinished business.

    On a similar note, I am not sure how are they gonna let go of skeumorphism in iBooks (the USP of application lied in skeumorphism)!

    • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

      first sign you’re a hack – “Steve Jobs would have…”

      • Vidhu Singhal

        Excuse me.. Din’t get you there! Are you referring to some incorrect
        grammar usage?… Seems you don’t have any better things to do than
        finding faults.

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        nope, grammatically you’re mostly okay. It’s the content that’s pure hackery. Only an idiot assumes Steve wouldn’t have done something. Just bec. you don’t like the cases, don’t presume what Steve would have done. Only an idiot says stupid shit like Jobs would have shaved Cook’s head and beheaded Ive. You don’t know him, so just stop trampling on his memory over a plastic case.

      • Vidhu Singhal

        I am not getting why you gettting so hyper. My comment had a lighter sense than what you perceived. And its a free world dude, everybody has right to express their opinions! Why’s that hurting you?!

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        express away, my friend. But don’t be surprised when someone calls you out for your stupidity.

      • Vidhu Singhal

        You not being agree with me does not make me stupid (or you or anybody for the matter). Your belief that everybody has to agree with you for your statements to be wise really is. I think you haven’t heard “Opinion is like an a**hole. Everybody has got one!” Anyway, this is usually where non-stupid people stop convincing each other. At least I do.

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        Vidhu, you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t think everyone has to agree with me. I think presuming to know what Steve would have done or thought about something as inane as a case is foolish and idiotic. It’s a dumb thing to say. That’s all!

      • Hugh Jassol

        You took the guys statement totally out of context so you’re clearly the one who’s an idiotic hack.

        ..of course he doesnt know what Jobs “would” have thought or done but its widely understood that Scott Forstall, who was behind skeuomorphism, which Steve also was a major proponent of just did not agree with Ives coneptual ideas.

        This doesnt mean Jobs wouldn’t have recanted & made similar moves but to pull one line from this guys post above then try to act like he was coming out of left field, …..well its foolish and dumb. Sorry.

      • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

        is it dark where you are you, Hugh? Bec. you clearly have your head up your ass. I didn’t take anything out of context, Vidhu lead off with his proclamation of what Steve would have done. It’s right there, just a few posts up. Actually, he did kinda ramble and meander around with the words, so who the heck knows what he was talking about. And for that matter, who knows what you’re talking about…What’s with you incoherent internet trolls these days?

      • Hugh Jassol

        I ask the same question….whats with these incoherent internet trolls? lol

        Its obvious you have no clue what you’re talking about or even trying to defend. You sir are the epitome of a troll.

        Mikey like lite bright? LOL

      • oNuttz

        I agree.
        Steve was a mad genius. Heavy emphasis on the word “mad”. It’s well known that he blew his top about the tiniest inconsistencies.
        Considering his typography background and his obsession with perfection, I believe he would’ve knocked the heads of Tim and Ive together like the 3 Stooges, before ripping new A-Holes for both of them.

        I also believe he would’ve picked better colors, like he did with the candy colored iMacs.
        BTW, these are just my far-fetched conjectures, “not the undisputed truth”.

  • John Gwarilla

    Misplaced holes, Lint collector — and you still think it is a great case for the price!?!? $29. I’ll assume this is your fanboyism at work here

  • Byron C Mayes

    I dunno, “hon,” maybe the holes were added by someone from Baltimore.

  • jacobkwright

    I too am an iPhone nudist. Always have been. I’ll admit I’m a lot more careful with my devices than most. But I’ve always thought, if you put a case on something like an iPhone, you’re not experiencing the device like it’s meant to be experienced.

  • Ted Forbes

    Hay, whats wrong with the holes? Anybody knows why Apple put holes in the case?
    I really don’t know why. But you don’t have to mix match case and phone colors. You can use the same color case as the phone. I don’t see a hole problem or a design problem here.

    I agree though, at first the holes in the case seem not-Apple-like, but I am sure Apple knows exactly why the holes are there, it is one of those things you have to figure out and get use to. Besides, my niece and daughter love things like this, they think the holes are cool for the mix matching and cant wait to get their 5c and a couple of cases (except the white case and white phone, they like the colors).

    Now, if I was to take a wild guess I would say Apple put the holes in the case for the teenagers, the kiddies and females, they like stuff like this. Otherwise if you don’t mix match colors the holes will hardly be notable.

  • Blue Tran

    I really like this case!!…maybe when I was a 6 year old?? But in all honestly, if I wanted to show off the colour and still mind phone protection. I would just pick up a clear soft/hard case online, easy as pie.

  • Alex Rodriguez

    Very well written blog. I am impressed.

  • Shiv

    Not gonna lie, total Apple fanboy article. I love Apple products but the case is really stupid and the hon thing is terrible. And quoting Apple’s words isn’t gonna help deal with the fact that you spent 30 bucks on a case that didn’t work too well while I bought mine for 2 Singapore Dollars, and that’s something like 1.60 USD.

  • FOFF

    another ive design fail..