After he left Gizmodo, longtime tech blogger Brian Lam decided to make a website to help people buy gadgets. It wouldn't focus on reviewing every possible product in a category, but would instead answer the question "Which one of these should I buy?". Now, The Wirecutter has named its pick for best iPhone 5 case.
After trying out most of the iPhone cases currently on the market, I’m using the Switcheasy Tones to protect my iPhone 5. It’s exceptionally durable and unobtrusive, and it's a great value at $25.
Unlike the iPhone 4/4S, the iPhone 5's perimeter band — the outer edge that includes the sleep/wake button — is made of aluminum, which scratches more easily and warrants a protective layer.
After getting a launch-day iPhone, I tested cases now available from every major brand. As of now, I’ve looked at all available models from: Belkin, Incase, Otterbox, Speck, STM, and Incipio. Other brands including Ballistic, Case-Mate, Element Case, Grove Made, and Griffin won’t have samples ready until later, and I don't expect any of these cases on the horizon to be better than our current pick, based on reviews of past models with the same design as the upcoming cases.
With this first batch, I conducted drop tests, judged everyday usability, and evaluated each model's aesthetics. For the cases that are updates to previous generation models, I researched past reviews to spot design updates and improvements. I also spoke with other expert reviewers to see what they're using.
I looked specifically at slim, everyday-use cases, as opposed models with protection from severe trauma, many of which sacrifice compactness and usability. In this everyday-use category, and this should apply to a majority of iPhone 5 owners, a case needs to stand up to general use and abuse, like waist-high drops onto concrete, or a bouncy ride in a packed messenger bag.
The Switcheasy Tones is available for $24.99 in seven color options through Switcheasy's website.