We've been reviewing wildly unique and quirky iPhone cases from SwitchEasy for the longest time. It was one of the earliest case brands to come up with some of the boldest and most inexpensive protective cases for the iPhone. One of SwitchEasy's latest and perhaps the most fascinating accessory for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is called the AirMask. Dubbed as the "world's first instant makeover kit", the AirMask is a skin-like casing or shell made out of a very thin polymer and polycarbonate hybrid that is literally skin-tight and designed to fit around the iPhone without disturbing its original curved and slim form factor. At only 0.3mm, SwitchEasy's AirMask offers 360-degree scratch protection, features seamless built-in screen protection and designed to give your iPhone a completely new colorful look from every angle. But is it for you? Find out by checking our our full review of the AirMask after the cut!
Although the AirMask is technically made by SwitchEasy, but you'd never know that by looking at the packaging or the case itself. It looks like SwitchEasy is trying to create a standalone case brand with the AirMask name, and that perfectly fine with us. As you can tell, the AirMask is available in a number of colors including red, orange, blue, white, and black. Truer iPhone colors such as Space Gray, silver and gold are only available in a matte color finish under the SwitchEasy name, but we're not reviewing any of them today. To clear things up, the standalone AirMask cases here are only available in glossy, vibrant colorways and also have a raised outer lip around the rear facing camera for added protection. The AirMask for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is available in black, white, red, orange and blue.
I think one of the most appealing part about using the AirMask is that it gives your iPhone a completely different style in whatever color you pick. Hiding the aluminum and those antenna bands creates a uniformed look to the whole iPhone that's minimalist and very attractive I must say. It's essentially a Shumuri Extra Slim case in terms of slimness only for both the back, front and sides of the iPhone with the added benefit of an integrated screen protector. The only visible parts that will show through the case that will remind you what colored iPhone you actually have are the areas where the sensors, earpiece and Touch ID button are located. Otherwise the AirMask does a great job masking everything with its colorfully protective, slick shine.
And if you've got two AirMask cases you can easily create a two-tone color scheme for the front and back of your iPhone. It's perfect for people like me who have a Space Gray iPhone and temporarily want a white one just for the fun of it. Of course this works both ways on white iPhones that can instantaneously turn into a sleek black. If SwitchEasy made an AirMask for the MacBook, I’d be all over it. The thought of ultra-slim and lightweight protection with the added benefit of a sleek glossy colorful finish is thrilling.
Inside the wonderfully packaged AirMask getup you'll find plenty of informative how-to instructions on what to do and what to avoid doing. You also get a wet and dry cleaning solution to help you with your first AirMask installation.
The AirMask isn't your ordinary case. It doesn't just snap and pop on. That's because it uses an skin-like non-marring adhesive to securely attach onto the front and back sides of the iPhone. You first start by cleaning your screen with the included cleaning wipes or your favorite microfiber cloth just to make sure nothing gets trapped inside of the case before you install it. After than, you want to start by removing the protective adhesive film from the front plate and carefully apply it to the front of the iPhone making sure you've aligned this part of the AirMask with your front facing camera, home button and power button. If everything looks centered, firmly press the plate against the device so that the adhesive can work its magic in order to minimize and gaps between the case and the device. Do the same with the bottom plate and you're done.
It's a fairly easy process to be honest. You're not going to mess the installation as easily as you can with a screen protector or skin. Now all that's left to do is to remove the protective film over the built-in screen shield.
But do this very carefully because you can easily lift up the rest of the front plate if you pull on the tab without first holding down the faceplate. I also found that I could accidentally pull out the screen shield itself from the frame if pulled too hard. This is clearly mentioned as something to be mindful of in the included instructions. Fortunately it easily stuck back into the frame after I noticed that I actually pull the built-in screen shield along with the protective film instead of only the removable film. So this also means that if you have the idea of a plastic screen protector covering your glass touchscreen, you can just pull it out and use the AirMask without it. And while it's not as quick as the two second installation that is advertised on the packaging, it's still a super easy installation that will take you a few more seconds to get done.
What worried me the most about using a full case system like the AirMask was how precise the fit would be from such thin pieces that would need to join together over an iPhone for what it ultimately a seamless finished look. Now while won't say that the fit between the two parts is 100% perfect, it's impressively damn near that. In my case, the AirMask didn't seem to want to fully close the gap between the top and bottom parts towards the bottom of the iPhone - whereas the rest of the case fit together as close as you can possibly get for that really good looking seamless, almost one-piece case design. The AirMask comes with easy to follow and understand instructions of how to install and remove the case so you shouldn't have any trouble getting this case on your iPhone on the first try. And if you mess up, you can always go back and do it again.
SwitchEasy does note that there might be a tiny gap between the two parts and that is normal and in fact intentional due to the various thickness of iPhones and their assembly process. And that does make perfect sense because there's no way that a case this thin can ever fit perfectly and have a truly gap-less finish all around.
While I do like the ultra-sleek glossy finish on the AirMask's plastic outer shell, it is just that - slick. There's no grip and you'll still be left with that slippery form factor that is the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That said, it isn't any more slippery than other similarly smooth and sleek cases or the naked design of the iPhone. So if you tend to drop your phone, you definitely don't want to be using the AirMask. Not only does it not improve the grip of the device but it offers very minimal protection - mostly in keeping the display and aluminum from small dings and every day scratches. But that's about it. Dropping your iPhone in this case will most likely end very badly for both the case and the phone.
I think one of the most appealing part about using the AirMask is that it gives your iPhone a completely different style in whatever color you pick. Hiding the aluminum and those antenna bands creates a uniformed look to the whole iPhone that's minimalist and very attractive I must say. I'm also fond of how the AirMask gives the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus an almost iPhone 5c-esque, unapologetically plastic look and feel. It's really attractive in person.
I'm quite impressed by the AirMask's built-in screen shield. It's outstandingly clear and sharp without any weird textures added to the back or front. It just naturally rests up against the glass without any watermarks, air pockets or other anomalies. Bear in mind that viewing angles aren't that good due to the added glare. Even the edges are rounded exactly like the original glass curvature so swiping sideways is met with great satisfaction. I did run into some issues with swiping up to bring up Control Center in that it would work 90% of the time. Not a really big issue but it's important to make note of and something you should take into consideration.
Looking at the back of the AirMask we can see that AirMask branding on the right bottom corner including a raised lip underneath the rear-facing camera to help protect the lens and that metal ring from scratching when put on a table. There's very little wobble to the whole device as a result, but it's a given. SwitchEasy says that the AirMask features a micro textured plastic for added grip, but unfortunately that's not true. The material is very sleek to the touch and feels ultra-smooth just like any glossy plastic. Expect your iPhone to easily glide in and out of your pocket, and if you're not too careful, it could also slip out of your hands too. That said, I've yet to experience any accidental slippage in my day to day use. And while the AirMask's shiny surface will eventually scratch and show scuff marks with use, the logo and color will retain their original look.
Because of the thin material and how the AirMask features roomy port openings, you can pretty much dock your iPhone anywhere and connect any third party connectors to it using the headphone and Lightning ports.
If wrapping your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in colored scratch-protective plastic is just your thing, you're going to enjoy what the AirMask has got to offer. I've been using an AirMask on my iPhone 6 Plus for over a month now and can genuinely say that I'm in love with it even though it isn't exactly the perfect case. And most of it has to do with the fact that it transforms the way my iPhone looks. I love the fact that I have the ability to use something that is different from everyone else. The wrap-around coverage gives the iPhone a refreshing new style using nothing but color and a bit of shine that grabs your attention no matter how personal you think you are using your phone in some dark, distant corner.
This is one of the best ways you can add full 360-degree worth of ultra-slim protection to your iPhone while also customizing the look of it without having to use a dull skin. The AirMask's semi-rigid built-in screen shield offers fantastic touchscreen usability without ever putting you through the trouble of applying one yourself. You can even remove it from the case entirely, but you'll find that it's good enough to leave in.
Services like ColorWare would charge you hundreds of dollars just for this type of look and finish, which by the way is permanent and doesn't protect your actual device from scratches as well as the AirMask does. So in other words the AirMask definitely is one of the best ways of not only protecting your iPhone from all angles, but it's also the easiest and most affordable ways that you can customize it. If you want to try something different, give the AirMask a try and you'll probably won't regret doing so. But if you're anal about your things having to be just right then you're probably going to be annoyed by the AirMask's imperfections. To others this will be a minor caveat that isn't going to ruin the experience of using such a great accessory. It's not for everyone, but we'd still recommended it. And since we've enjoyed using it for so long, the AirMask merits an Editors' Choice Award.