SwitchEasy has brought back its Tones series of iPhone cases, one of the perennial favorites amongst iPhone 5 users. And instead of using the same exact concept as before, SwitchEasy made some adjustments to welcome Apple's new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c devices. Today we'll be taking a look at SwitchEasy's Tones cases for both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The two share a similar familiar two-tone styling and co-moulded hybrid concept from before, with the exception of a few minor differences that shape the two cases to their respective devices. The ultra-slim NUDE case is also making a welcome comeback, and we've got one for the iPhone 5c to check out. So be sure to check out the full review on these three cases after the break.
Starting out with the Tones case for the iPhone 5s - the case will run you $25 and it combines two different types of materials to form a hybrid protective case. But unlike most dual-layered cases such as Spigen's $25 Slim Armor S which happens to be the Tone's slightly more protective case rival, the Tones is a single-layer case that features a single hard polycarbonate midsection with seamless co-moulded top and bottom TPU portions which are semi-flexible and also extend to form the periphery around the front of the case as well as to provide coverage for the button controls around the iPhone. The Tones itself cannot flex as it's mostly a rigid piece that is augmented by the hard polycarbonate frame. As the name suggest, this ends up forming the Tone's mundane two-tone design which has been influenced by the iPhone 5's industrial aluminum and glass construction.
What makes the Tones a great companion is that it's got a really slim form factor that is shaped in keeping with the original lines and subtle rounded corners of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, and that makes it feel more discrete and overall a likable form factor to pick up and use as it's almost like there isn't a protective casing on your device. While we're on the subject, the Tones offers a decent amount of protection but for drops we feel more secure using Spigen's Slim Armor S since it features a dual-layered shock absorbing construction that we favor a little more. In comparison, the Tone's hard plastic shell is thin and isn't covered with a TPU interior except for the top and bottom portions which aren't as impact-protective as the Slim Armor S's air-gap cushioned corner design.
The fit is spot on, snug and tightly held all around. However, there isn't much grip being offered and the polycarbonate has a slick finish that although is textured so that it resists scratches which is does incredibly well, feels underwhelming like cheap food container plastic that isn't very pleasing to the touch. Fortunately it doesn't attract any dust and lint nor does it pick up any fingerprints so overall it can be considered to be very durable in terms of aesthetics. The same can be said when feeling up the TPU around the case which is also matte in texture and doesn't attract any lint or fingerprints. Also, the straight lines of the Tones case for the iPhone 5s isn't as comfortable to hold as SwitchEasy's more rounded-off Numbers case. That said however, it isn't terribly bad either. If only the hard polycarbonate had some type of rubbery coating on it to make it more pleasing to hold it would have made a much bigger impression tactile wise.
The Tone's bullet-point volume and oblong sleep/wake buttons are all far more tactile and responsive compared to the Numbers case, and the cutout around the silent switch can be easily reached as well. And thanks to the black outlines camera opening, you can use the True Tone dual-LED flash in the dark with no color washout from the color of the case itself.
Onto the Tones case specifically made to fit the tapered shape of the iPhone 5c of course, and as such it is noticeably more pleasing to hold than the iPhone 5s variant. It's also less expensive too at $20, and we're not sure why exactly that is. But it seems like no matter what, SwitchEasy'siPhone 5c cases are mostly less expensive than its iPhone 5s offerings.
While it still features the same exact design using a hard polycarbonate midsection and interior layout, it differs by the fact that its got matching colorful translucent TPU top and bottom portions that are glossy in finish whereas the Tones case for the iPhone 5s features an all-opaque matte color scheme. This changes the two-tone design a bit as it lets part of the original iPhone 5c color to show through and looks more sprightly overall. There are four colors to choose from that mimic every available color that the iPhone 5c comes in including the standard white and black flavors too.
You can either pick a Tones case color to suit your particular iPhone 5c, or pick one that creates a different two-tone color which is caused by overlaying the translucent TPU parts of the Tones case over a clashing colored iPhone 5c like we've done with our blue iPhone 5c and this yellow Tones case. When blending yellow and blue the outcome is a green hue, basic color knowledge right there. It should be noted that the white colored Tones case has clear TPU top and bottom parts which will fit nicely with any iPhone 5c color.
Contrary to SwitchEasy's product images of the Tones case for the iPhone 5c, its polycarbonate is completely opaque just as it is on the iPhone 5s variant and does not show the Apple logo underneath. Overall both cases have very little grip, and that textured polycarbonate does more to avoid getting scratched than anything else.
Every covered button on the Tones case for the iPhone 5c is super tactile and easy to press. And thanks to the black outlines camera opening, you can use the LED flash in the dark with no color washout from the color of the case itself.
As for that shiny TPU material, it also extends to provide a lip around the iPhone 5c's display whilst also creating this neo-like effect which looks great compared to the dull iPhone 5s Tones case.
Both of the Tones cases have the same newly redesigned integrated bottom port protection in the form of flap plugs compared to the iPhone 5 Tones variant which came with individual plug piece that you would end up losing soon after you've starting using the case for the first time.
Each Tones case also comes with a decent screen protector along with a cleaning cloth.
We noticed that the Tones case for the iPhone 5c doesn't have the same tight fit all around like the iPhone 5s version. More specifically the bottom and top areas of the TPU pull away from the edge of the iPhone. This issue is more apparent when using a Tones case that doesn't match the color of the iPhone 5c, otherwise you won't pay much attention to it. Though we are upset about finding out about this, and typically such an outcome is not tolerated.
Finally, there's SwitchEasy's ever so popular $15 NUDE case that's available in a glossy clear color and in four other opaque pastel colorways that are meant to color-match the iPhone 5c nicely. It's also available for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 in many different colors for $20.
The NUDE case for the iPhone 5c is a very simplistic back snap-on case made from hard polycarbonate that fits around the iPhone 5c like a shell. It's ultra lightweight, ultra-slim and you barely even notice that it's there. The finish on it is matte with a fine soft-touch coating that provides the most satisfying grip out of the three cases while surprisingly not attracting lint nor displaying fingerprints.
Going around the case we can see that the NUDE has really wide and exposing openings for the button controls and bottom areas of the iPhone 5c. Where the NUDE case for the iPhone 5s features integrated covered control buttons, the iPhone 5c variant doesn't and simply features generously wide cutouts instead which make accessing the iPhone 5c's buttons a real treat.
Although the bottom is also exposed by default, the NUDE case does come with a matching bottom piece that's a long connector protector which plugs into the Lightning connector and 3.5mm audio ports to cover up that bottom exposed portion of the NUDE case. You'll have quick access to your audio port by flipping open a small flap while accessing the Lightning connector requires that you pull off the entire plug piece which could result in you losing it more quickly. The connector piece does have all the necessary perforations made for the iPhone 5c's bottom microphone and speaker.
ThankfullySwitchEasy does right in including an extra set so you'll have another replacement port protector piece on hand should you lose one. Also inside the packaging are a cleaning cloth and a decent quality screen protector. You really can't beat the additional extras for the price.
Looking at the NUDE straight on is when you can see that it encases the iPhone 5c in such a way that it allows for the native color of its polycarbonate to show through around the edges. And if you've got a different colored NUDE case than your iPhone 5c, you get this two-tone color accent reminiscent of Apple's official iPhone 5c Case. Another small but welcome detail about the NUDE case is that although it's a super slim back snap-on style case, it makes sure to protect the front screen with a minimal lip around the edges of the iPhone 5c's glass panel.
The NUDE case snaps on and off like a breeze, but maybe it comes off a little too easily we find. It requires literally not effort to pull off the NUDE from the iPhone 5c, and we're a little concerned that during an impact the case will simply snap off and will not protect the edges of the iPhone 5c towards the front side. Then again, if you are using the NUDE as your protective case you should be aware that it isn't designed to drops and impacts.
A case this slim has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, the NUDE's soft grippy coated plastic and rounded edges makes it a delightful case to hold and use. The thing is though, it doesn't offer the same level of protection as the Tones case. But if you're looking to protect your iPhone 5c against scratches while adding extra grip to its glossy polycarbonate body, the NUDE case is a great start and we can even recommend it at just $15.
SwitchEasy's Tones cases for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are two fairly decent, slim and protective form-fitting case options with a contemporary two-tone hybrid design, alas one is slightly better executed. The Tones case for the iPhone 5s receives a solid recommendation from us while its plump twin for the iPhone 5c would too have received an honorable recommendation if only it had a tighter fit around the device instead of a droopy top and bottom.
iPhone 5s Tones / iPhone 5c NUDEiPhone 5c Tones