What better way to start off our first iPhone 5 case review than with one of our favorite iPhone 4S case. Like many other case companies, Urban Armor Gear ported their UAG composite case to fit the new and slender iPhone 5. It's got that same kickass, military-inspired armored design and ruggedized protection to keep your iPhone protected against impending drops. Will the iPhone 5 version be just as great as it was when we reviewed it a while back? We've got more to show down below!
We're glad to say that Urban Armor Gear delivered an awesome iPhone 5 case just as we'd hoped. This time we got quite a few in retail packaging to show you. And inside you'll be treated to a screen protector in case you haven't applied one onto your iPhone 5 yet to keep your screen scratch-free.
The UAG case for the iPhone 5 comes in white, black, gray, pink, navy blue and construction orange for $35. Urban Gear Armor told us their iPhone 5 cases are in high demand which means they'll only start to ship around mid October. Lucky us, we managed to get a hold of all the colors except for black to give you somewhat better representation of color accuracy compared to the case renders found on Urban Armor Gear's product page. Check out those contrasting colors - those black fake yet extremely realistic torx screws, black TPU trim and that brushed metal UAG logo insert. Now that's what a unique case is all about. There's nothing quite like the UAG case out there, so we can definitely appreciate the original design that went into creating these armored looking cases.
The UAG is that same great case that it was when we reviewed it for the iPhone 4/S. Nothing has changed except for it now being even slimmer than before and perhaps even more refined this time around. Of course the cutouts are different to accommodate the iPhone 5, and they're all perfect and oversized so you can easily access your silent switch and plug in a large than usual 3.5mm headphone plug. Both the speaker and mic grilles As well as the Lightning connector port have adds ate large openings.
Buttons are also oversized and have a pretty solid response when pressed. If you're in the tactical side of things, then these large buttons will be particularly helpful when using gloves. They're raised and far apart more so than other cases.
If I had one little dislike about the iPhone 5 designed UAG case it would have to be the oversized cutout for the back facing camera and LED flash. If you notice, you can see the part of the aluminum or two-tone color creeping into the opening because of how large it is. However, it's only a matter of a small aesthetic detail that's not very significant. As for using the camera when firing off the flash at night, the blacked-out rim around the camera opening was perfectly done so that there is no image washout or color glare affecting the photo no matter which color UAG case you use.
Fit and finish is just outstanding. You really can't ask for anything more than what you're getting with the UAG case. It has a great tactile feel when you hold it and the composite plastic has a micro grain, matte textured finish to it that provides you with just the right amount of purchase so that your iPhone won't slip out of your hand, and at the same time you won't have any trouble slipping this case into your jeans pocket or any lint attracting to the materials. The one-piece construction allows you to easily pop your iPhone inside, but taking it out is a bit harder to do because of snug the case fits. This is actually exactly what you want to look for in these type of cases.
As far as protection is concerned, the UAG offers plenty of it without being overly bulky. In fact, it doesn't seem bulky at all for what it's worth and it's even lightweight contrary to its tough looks. Maybe it's the ultra thin form factor of the iPhone 5 playing tricks on us, but holding the UAG in the hand feels excellent just like a holding a naked iPhone 4S. On the inside, the UAG case is completely covered with a honeycomb layer of injected TPU material that's there to protect your iPhone 5 against scratches and absorb shock. The actual hard plastic doesn't come in contact with the iPhone's back.
That tough exterior composite shell and injected TPU material work in harmony to not only seamlessly blend with one another, but offer up fantastic drop and impact protection from all sides and corners. We love the subtle protection details being offered by the UAG such as its reinforced corners that help absorb shock like bumpers on a car.
The iPhone 5's large screen is protected by the UAG's rim overlay that keeps it at distance from any small debris should it fall face down onto the floor. Obviously you're not protected against direct screen impacts. It's also worth pointing out the careful attention to detail here. The UAG case keeps itself slightly elevated around the back with raised corner bumpers for anti-skid and shock protection.
We rarely give out our Editors' Choice award for a case, but the UAG is a case we fell in love with and use ourselves. $35 gets you one solid, well designed, high-quality protective case that wasn't put together in a hurry and isn't going to lose its integrity over time. We also appreciate the low-profile design that makes using the iPhone 5 on a daily basis a comfortable experience. If you're looking for tough protection without giving up on style, look no further than the UAG case.
Are there any drawbacks to the UAG case for the iPhone 5? Why yes. Unfortunately these aren't available at the Apple store just yet, but we think these cases are far more worthy of a place on the case wall than some of the ridiculous offerings being offered to people.
Update: Here's the black color just for good measure. That completes the entire color lineup for the iPhone 5 UAG composite case for the iPhone 5. Black is a stellar looking!