While it pains me when I've got to give up using a case like the one I've been recently using and have reviewed, the Ronin Titanium G10 by Element Case, to continue on with having to spend time testing out the next case which happens to be the Seismik case for the iPhone 5, surprisingly the transition from an ultra-premium $350 case to a regular one that costs $35 isn't as bad as you would think.
Leaving behind such a special case is something you wouldn't want to be doing willingly. Fortunately, I do enjoy a superb non-premium case with cool features once in a while and that case just so happens to be the Seismik. A case made by Lunatik, designed by the renowned design firm MNML and made available for the iPhone 5 and now also the Seismik Touch for the iPod touch 5, the Seismik is a special kind of case in its own right. Let's go have a closer look at what the Seismik has got to offer in exchange for $35 down below.
Lunatik makes some great stuff for Apple devices like the Taktik Extreme, a fully loaded tank of protection featuring integrated Gorilla Glass screen protection and a sealed construction preventing water and dust from ruining your iPhone. But that's a case for the most extreme measures, and one that'll cost you $125. The company was most known for its iPod nano wristband watch kits back in the day when the iPod mini ruled people's wrists not for its smart and capable features, but as a dumbwatch of all things.
Backed by its partnering design firm MNML, Lunatik has some of the more unique looking case designs. And although Lunatik has very few iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5 cases, it makes up for its lack of selection with a few very solid offerings. One of those is the Seismik. What makes this case unique is its suspension frame design which was first discreetly implemented in the bulkier Taktik Extreme case that gives the Seismik its shock and impact protection abilities. In other words, this is a serious drop-protective case your iPhone 5 can appreciate as it is well designed and visually different from the rest. Smart design mixed with form and function, and that's exactly what the Seismik does. It puts its good looking design into good use, and that is keeping your iPhone 5 safe from a drop and other daily hazards.
Now would be a good time to tell you that the Seismik comes in a vibrantly colored two-tone colorways including gray/lime, gray/blue, gray/pink, gray/clear and black/smoke. The two last colors feature a semi-transparent frosted back panel that lets you see the Apple logo. Otherwise the rest of the Seismik colors have a solid color that isn't see-through like the gray and lime we're reviewing. I should mention that the Seismik is a one-piece case with no interchangeable parts. The back side is simple in a modern, and dare I say minimalist way. At least until you look at that geometric pattern that is the Seismik's suspension frame.
I don't think I've ever felt more compelled to hand over $35 for a plastic case than I do after using the Seismik. It's very well made with materials and a build quality that's well above the cheapness grade that you sense with a lot of cases below this price. The Seismik's hybrid construction seamlessly blends a tough polycarbonate hardshell back panel that's matte and grainy in texture which gives the case its rigid non-bendable form with a shock-absorbing TPU rubbery material that has a grippy texture to it. Combing the two types of materials makes for a really great protective case that will not droop or flex off of your iPhone.
The Seismik is essentially a more simplified version of a middle layer that has been plucked out of the $125 Taktik Extreme and strengthened with a back support, and made into a standalone case. The fit is very snug just the way it should be requiring a little force in popping out the iPhone. Conversely, getting your iPhone into the Seismik is easier and it just gently snaps into the case similar to using a Speck CandyShell case.
The Seismik's suspension frame truss surrounds the case and critical impact points such as the corners where it bends and flexes upon impact. Drop it and it'll literally bounce like rubber. It works brilliantly in absorbing an impact and as you can see, the truss pattern effectively bends when pressed with a firm force only to spring right back to its original form. That's what I call effective drop-protection you can see working in action.
The thing is, that suspension frame also widens the narrow form factor of the iPhone 5 considerably to the point where it is considered to be bulky width wise. The difference in added width is very prominent and if you put a Galaxy S4 beneath it you can see that both share the same exact size. A 4-inch iPhone 5 with a Seismik case will feel like you're holding a 5-inch iPhone you've always dreamed about. The Seismik is otherwise a slim case in a thickness standpoint.
So you while you won't be able to use your thumb to reach your entire screen, the Seismik as a case is still very comfortable to hold and use on a daily basis. There's plenty of grip to the case as well thanks to that tacky rubbery suspension frame. Speaking of tacky, it isn't a lint catcher and it still slides in and out of the pocket easily. When you've got such great impact protection in a case, it really isn't all that bad when your iPhone suddenly gains an inch of fat in a good way.
When your common sense tells you to feel confident about dropping your iPhone, you know this is the sort of case that will deliver on its protection promise. What worries me a little is the minimal lay-on-the-table designed edge keeping the iPhone's screen slightly recessed both to keep the Seismik's profile slim as well as to help elevate the iPhone away from the ground if dropped or place screen side down. But a tiny rock like gravel on smooth pavement or any dirt trail is enough to potentially damage the screen obviously. This is true to a lot of cases, but I felt it was worth noting because of all the aforementioned drop-protection boasting.
Also, you may have a problem using a tempered glass screen protectors with this case on, but most plastic screen protectors should fit just fine.
Buttons are interestingly implemented into the design but aren't as easy to press as I would have liked requiring more push than usual. You still get a clicky tactile feedback though. On the bright side, the bottom side cutouts although individually separated, are very spacious allowing your to plug in Apple's larger Lightning adapter cables and other not to slim third party cable connectors. With that being said, these cutouts are extremely recessed due to the thickness of the Seismik's suspension frame, but since the cutouts are wide enough I don't see this being an issue really other than not being able to plug Apple's 30-pin to Lightning adapter and other similar dongles.
What also helps the Seismik feels great to hold in the hand is the way its back contours slightly off the edges before meeting with the suspension frame periphery, which makes the case feel a lot slimmer than it really is.
By this point you may have already noticed that little bright green button right above the volume buttons. That is in fact an integrated silent switch that functions just as you would expect. Press it down or up to engage the silent switch from off to on. I honestly could not have asked for a better silent switch integration.
Lunatik's Seismik has got what it takes to protect your iPhone 5 from drops using a uniquely creative and updated drop protection design. And it does it really well. In fact, I like the Seismik so much that it's now one of my top favorite drop-protective iPhone 5 cases. One that isn't overly bulky like a lot of other offerings out there yet it still offers a pretty impressive amount of impact and shock protection through an awesome, urban looking design. The Seismik is a real pleasure to use even when you don't constantly require the amount of protection it has got to give, and that is what makes a case this great. Sure it's reasonably bulky around the edges, but if you need drop protection but hate unproportional protective cases that aren't designed to impress, the Seismik is the case you should seriously consider but not without acknowledging your iPhone 5 will take on a new 5-inch form factor. Clearly, that hasn't prevented us from awarding the Seismik with our Editors' Choice Award.