Musubo, a brand name that looks to make its name known in the wester world. Chances are you haven't heard of Musubo, not did we until recently. The company's iPhone cases are amongst the most unique, stylish cases we've reviewed. In today's overpopulated case market, Musubo's cases are a refreshing new take on protection otherwise dominated by overused and boring case designs. If you're looking for something really different, you'd love the Retro, Rubber Band and Double X cases we're reviewing today. So be sure to jump past the break for the full review rundown of the unique trio!
Beware, overuse of the word "unique" ahead. The three Musubo cases we've got in to review are only a small selection from Musubo's iPhone case series totaling at 8 cases, each and its own entirely unique design. Let's start out with the Retro case for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. The first time I saw this case I was in complete awe. I'd say the same about all of Musubo's case offerings respectively, but the Retro really is a captivating case in its own right. It's the most eye catching case since the SwitchEasy CapsuleRebel series. Come to think of it, the Retro is exactly the sort of over the top case I'd expect to come from SwitchEasy, which is one of our favorite case brands out there.
The Retro is a hybrid case made up from two layers. The first is a hard, impact protective polycarbonate outer shell with a glossy finish, so glossy it isn't very grippy despite the incredible amount of ridges and spaces for your fingers to grab hold of; the second is the layer that helps protect the iPhone against vibration and shock made from a soft and flexible silicone. The case comes together perfectly and fits the iPhone as it should. The top, bottom and buttons are covered with the silicone layer.
It's worth noting that the bottom portion of the silicone isn't very rigid and will sag down if forced. Buttons remain easy to press and the back facing camera cutout does not affect the flash. However, the cutout for the headphone port is on the tight side and will only fit slimmest of 3.5mm plugs.
The Apple window on the Retro case is a little distasteful I think. Everyone knows that you're using an iPhone, there's no need to show off the Apple logo any further. When you make a case as unique as this, why ruin it with a cutout. Personal nitpicking aside though, the Retro case gets its good looks from the retro pull-down microphone it just looks super cool to look at. And the detail is amazing. The silicone layer underneath the hard shell is detailed with little microphone dots that show thru the crevices creating a true copy of what the case was inspired by. Around the front, the case adds additional protection to the iPhone's screen with an overlapping edge that surrounds the screen. Not to worry, it's screen protector friendly.
I like everything about the Retro case except for its Apple logo window, slippery grip and the additional bulk it adds. Granted you are getting a fair share of drop protection and a good amount of front screen protection with that. So it's not a perfect case, but it's too awesome looking to pass up if you're a fan of classic microphones. I know I am. The Retro case includes a foldable video desk stand, comes in red, black, white, yellow and blue for $35.
We didn't forget to share with you the package each Musubo case comes in. Musubo really pulled out all the stops with its cases. The hard plastic and rubber closure band clad package itself is as impressive as the product that's waiting inside. With each case comes a foldable desk viewing stand that's not the greatest of them all, albeit serves its purpose nonetheless. Musubo's product page suggest that each case also includes a screen protector and cleaning cloth, none of which were found inside each of the three boxes.
Moving on, the Rubber Band case for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 is just as unique if not more quirky than the Retro case, but takes it easy with the amount of protection it has to offer. It's made from TPU and feels very rigid. Unlike the glossy finish of the Retro case, the Rubber Band feels great to grasp with the incredible amount of grippy, rubbery yet stiff texture it has. The entire exterior of the case is accentuated by this pattern made to look like layers on top of layers of rubber bands stretched around the iPhone.
If you don't care much for bulky, overprotective cases, then the Rubber Band is the slimmest of the three. What attracted me more to this case is the way it was designed to cover up the volume and sleep/wake buttons without the traditional, obvious looking buttons. Instead, the buttons are covered in a discrete way by the use of the rubber bands which extend and serve as slightly raised buttons that offers great tactile feedback.
The front of the iPhone is well protected with the overlapping, screen protector-friendly edge that surrounds the screen. The Rubber Band features a side loop for attaching a strap which isn't even included with the case. Not only is that a disappointment, but having that loop sticking out the side is annoying to look at and can even get in the way when trying to pull your iPhone out of your pants pocket. We're noticing a trend here made by Musubo. Is it just a newbie mistake? Whatever it is, please stop overdoing things! Who uses a strap with their iPhone? It's pointless and only more cumbersome.
Otherwise, I found the Rubber Band case to be a favorite of mine to use. It looks really stylish, offers a decent amount of protection and it feels great to hold, and that's important. It's only a shame Musubo had to add that strap loop to the side. You can find the Rubber Band case in 10 vibrant colors for $30.
Finally, we reach our final destination with the Double X case for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. This case has a semi-bumper style to it with multiple opening around its back to create a unique look while showing off plenty of iPhone. On the contrary to what I've said earlier about the Retro's Apple logo cutout, the Double X has enough decency to make less of a fool out of you by extending the design and including the rest of the iPhone into its unique style. Musubo's Double X case is said to have been designed for those who love their extreme sports.
Made from a TPU material with rigid, vibration and shock-absorbing characteristics, the Double X's impressive curved convex bridges provide a solid level of protection and grippable surface. It sure looks cool with both the black and white iPhone. I really dig the Double X case, but when you look at your iPhone from the front, it all becomes rather dual and bloated.
The Double X isn't a slim case, and wasn't designed to have a refined anything really when it comes to the front and surrounding edges of the case. I've got a good feeling of the case in the days of using it, and I really didn't enjoy the way the case fit around the iPhone. Pressing the sides, top and bottom of the case will make the material give in slightly. In other words, the Double X doesn't form fit the iPhone as well as I'd hoped it would like. A good example of a case that is perfectly trimmed and refined to fit the iPhone so well is the Spigen Modello case. Further more, the Double X just looks too plain looking at it from the front. It's almost as if Musubo thought it did a good job around the back side, and just gave up continuing.
The buttons are all covered up with the rigid material and feel mushy and don't provide tactile feedback as the other two cases. Using the flash does cause images to come out washed out. The Double X case is pretty to look at from the back, but nothing more than that sadly. It doesn't feel pleasant to hold, and the bulkyness doesn't help either. Overall, we cannot recommend this case. You can grab the Double X case in 6 different colors for $30.
You can find the full line of Musubo's cases directly from Amazon.