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On a quest for the perfect iPhone 5S case

We use four iPhone 5s cases over three weeks and see how they fare.

We tries two cases from Cygnett and two from Switcheasy We tried two cases from Cygnett and two from Switcheasy

Apple iPhone 5S is one of the most elegant phones in the market. But is metal body gets scratched easily, making it look a lot less appealing, and like any other phone, the iPhone 5S is also prone to damage after a fall. That is why investing in a case is necessary. We’ve used four cases for around three weeks each on an iPhone 5S, here’s how they fared.

Switcheasy Tones

$25 (~Rs 1,600, shipping extra)

This cover picks up dirt easily. This cover picks up dirt easily.

Switcheasy is a popular mobile accessories brand in the US. Tones is among Switcheasy’s best iPhone cases. Switcheasy ships to India for $10 (~Rs 650), and you’ll get cases within two weeks of ordering. Tones is available in several colours, but all the light coloured variants get dirty really soon. We had a turquoise and a black case for review. The edges of the turquoise case got dirty within two days. The black case didn’t get dirty.

Tones is made of two materials. The back cover is hard, while the edges are made of soft plastic. The case fits well and has excellent build quality except for the empty space for the volume button, which looks like it will break under duress. Tones has some “lip” room too, which means that your iPhone’s screen won’t touch the surface if you place it face down. Tones seals the volume buttons and the ports at the bottom. Note that the black variant came with the flaps attached to the case, while the turquoise one had them as separate components. The seal protects the phone from dust and you will lose the tiny flaps if they aren’t attached to the case itself. Check this with Switcheasy if you plan to buy the case.

Some user reviews on Amazon.com say the case tends to break easily too. Tones isn’t easy to remove, so if you need to remove your iPhone case frequently, this isn’t a great option. That may be a reason behind the issues faced by those users.

I accidentally dropped my iPhone 5S a few times while reviewing the case. It rolled on the edges and even fell screen downwards once. The case protected the phone very well and it is the reason why my iPhone is unscathed. It’s a great purchase as long as you pick a dark colour.

Switcheasy Numbers

$15 (~Rs 1,000, shipping extra)

The edges are dirty The edges are dirty

If you’re worried about breaking Tones, then Switcheasy Numbers is a good alternative. It’s made of a soft, rubberised material that will not break. We reviewed a blue Numbers case and, like Tones, it got dirty soon. Washing the case doesn’t help much, so you will have to live with an ugly case if you pick a light colour. While we didn’t review the black Numbers case, it isn’t likely to get dirty going by our experience with Tones.

Apart from that, Numbers is a great case. It didn’t fit as well as the Tones, but that is a minor inconvenience. It protected the iPhone just as well as Tones. Numbers also has the same flaps to seal the ports and a gap for the ringer/silent button. It covers the volume buttons, but we had no trouble using those buttons with the case on.

Overall, Numbers offers better value for money than Tones. If you’re not finicky about looks (Tones is better-looking), get Switcheasy Numbers.

Cygnett Alternate

Rs 2,499

Cygnett Alternate-480Do you frequently buy new cases for your iPhone? Cygnett has tried to ensure that you don’t get bored with your case by making the Alternate. This case has removable parts – top and bottom – in two colours. Each case comes with four removable parts in two colours, so you can swap them when you want a new look.

This case doesn’t seal ports, which doesn’t help if you live in a dusty area. Our review unit’s white part were made of plastic, while the blue had a rubber coating. After two weeks with the case, the blue part got dirty on the edges. The white part was surprisingly spotless.

Alternate doesn’t feel as good to hold as Switcheasy’s products, but it protects the iPhone just as well. A lot of people liked its looks and some even asked me if I had bought a new case when I swapped colours. If that appeals to you, Alternate is recommended.

Cygnett Workmate Utility

Rs 3,599

Cygnett-Workmate-480We picked this case for review because it is one of the few rugged iPhone 5S cases available in India. Workmate Utility is pretty serious about durability. The material is thick and it has a screen guard attached. It takes time to fit an iPhone in this case, but that’s just because it is a rugged case. The review unit we received had covered the home button too. This makes it impossible to access the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S. However, Cygnett reached out to inform that a new variant of the case lets you access the home button. Make sure you check this before buying.

Cygnett says the Workmate Utility can protect your iPhone even when it falls from a height of five feet. We didn’t drop the phone from that height, but there were no marks on the iPhone after a two-feet fall. It also protects the iPhone from scratches and dust. If you want a rugged case, this is a great option.

That said, the Workmate Utility is bulky. It’s as slim as rugged cases get, but if you love your iPhone because it is sleek, this case is not for you. While this case is good for iPhone 5S, it hasn’t been optimised for iOS 7. The screen guard leaves very little room around the edges of the screen, which makes it difficult to execute gestures such as swipe up to access control center and swipe down to check notifications. If your use revolves around these gestures, it’s best to wait until Cygnett makes some revisions to the design.

Read our iPhone 5s review

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