With diamond-cut beveled edges, and an anodized aluminium back with ceramic glass inlays, the iPhone 5 looks more like a fine piece of jewlery than a smartphone. After recently upgrading to a new iPhone 5, I noticed some finishing defects after taking off the protective film. Sadly, the anodized aluminium back on my iPhone 5 had shiny aluminium peaking through. A quick search online reavealed this issue was more common than I had suspected. Once Applecare replaced my phone, I decided some proper protection was in order.
After looking at a variety of cases, I decided to try my luck with the SwitchEasy TONES case. Not only does the two toned color scheme match the iPhone 5's design, it also offers solid protection for around $25. Those two colors are made of two different materials. The top and bottom parts are more resilent to prevent shock while the middle section is a bit harder. These cases also prevent your screen from touching down with slightly raised edges.
Switch Easy even includes rubber covers for the lightning port and headphone jack as well as 2 front screen protectors and one rear protector. Overall, the TONES case has good looks, tactile grip, and decent protection for a minimalist case.
Power Support of Japan makes the Crystal Screen Protection Film that can be found online or at Apple retail stores. These ultra clear protectors are precsion cut and provide an excellent touch experience. Furthermore, they have made sure to cut away holes for all the key ingredients on your iPhone 5; home button, earphone, camera, and sensors.
For $14.95 you get 2 front protectors and a special tape to remove dust. An anti-glare version is also available, but I found that one to create a rainbow effect. I am also told that Power Support will soon have a Crystal Protection Film for the rear of your iPhone 5.
What's better than an iPhone 5 case? A case for your case! Originally designed to hold GPS navigation devices, the LowePro Navi 4.3 ($10 on Amazon) works as a mini neoprene sleeve for your new iPhone 5. If you're prone to accidents like I am, you'll love the thick neoprene outside and the soft lining on the inside. And yes, the iPhone 5 fits inside, even with the TONES case on.The SwitchEasy case works well for everyday use, and the LowePro neoprene sleeve is great for hiking or any activity where accidents might happen.
Finally, there's our managing editor Gregory Han's current pick for iPhone 5 protection, the Moshi's iGlaze Armour hardshell case. He says what he likes most about the iGlaze Armour is it addresses what he most dislikes about cases: the added bulk. A noticeably slim diamond-cut aluminum backplate adds just a smidgen of bulk, and the manufacturer includes the addition of a backside buffer film for extra protection against any scratches from debris caught inbetween your iPhone and the hardcover. Available in three two-tone colorways, the bronze edition being quite the fashionable looker. $40.00.
But if you dare to go completely bare without an external case or cover, there's Liquid Armor Invisible Screen Protector, a nano-coating which chemically bonds upon spraying onto your iPhone (or any electronic gear). This solution is for the design purist who veers away from the added bulk and superfluous designs of cases, but doesn't want keys or other objects scratching the screen or back. But of course, even nano-technology can't protect your iPhone if you drop it and you'll need to reapply the coating every 6 months, so be warned this last solution comes with its own caveats.
(Images: as linked above)