Posted by Jim Martin 03 October 2013
Best iPhone 5 and 5S cases and covers: protect your iPhone in style
If you’ve managed to get your hands on an iPhone 5s, you’ll want to protect its delicate aluminium and glass body. Apple’s new smartphone is identical to last year’s iPhone 5 in size and, since the buttons and ports are all in the same place, any case designed for the iPhone 5 will fit the iPhone 5s.
However, the new dual-LED flash might be blocked by certain cases that have a teardrop-shaped hole for the rear camera and flash. Fortunately, most cases have a big enough opening – the new flash is in the same place as the old one, and isn’t much bigger.
Whatever your budget and whatever level of protection you require, you’ll find a case here to suit.
Standard iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 cases
Apple leather case for iPhone 5s review
£35 inc VAT
Apple chose not to produce a case for the iPhone 5, but has now launched a range of leather cases for the 5s. They fit the 5 just as snugly as the 5s of course, so if you like to have the official product, this £35 is a great choice.
It’s smooth to the touch and doesn’t add much bulk or weight to the svelte iPhone 5s. There’s a choice of colours, including ‘brown’ which we’d call tan, plus beige, black, red, blue and yellow.
The inside is lined with microfibre to protect the easily damaged aluminium of your iPhone. The sides are shaped to accommodate the buttons, with precision cutouts for the speaker, microphone, headphone jack, Lightning port and mute switch.
The volume buttons are easy enough to operate, but the sleep/wake button requires a little more pressure. If you’ve never used a case that covers the buttons, it takes a bit of getting used to.
Buy from: www.apple.com/uk
Vans Wafflecup case for iPhone 5s by Belkin review
£18 inc VAT
If you’ve always wanted to buy a shoe for your iPhone, now’s your chance. Purveyors of casual footwear Vans has launched a range of cases in collaboration with gadget manufacturer Belkin.
The Wafflecup is a one-piece case that looks like a rubber sole. We prefer the white and blue version, but it’s also available in black and brown.
There’s a large camera hole which easily accommodates the new 5s flash. The iPhone’s three buttons are covered – only the mute switch has a cutout. At the bottom are three holes for the headphones, microphone, Lightning connector and speaker.
Buy from: shop.vans.co.uk
Be.ez LA cover Allure Estival for iPhone 5s review
£15 inc VAT
As basic ABS plastic cases go, Be.ez’s LA cover Allure is one of the more stylish offerings, as long as you like stripes.
The sides of the case are transparent, and it’s easy to snap on and off for those who like to change their iPhone case regularly.
It’s not the best case if you need total protection for your iPhone 5s, but all four corners are covered. There are large cutouts on the top, side and bottom for all the buttons and ports and, although the camera aperture is small, it’s just big enough for the 5s’s flash.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
ZeroChroma Vario Clear for iPhone 5s review
£35 inc VAT
ZeroChroma's Vario Clear offers something truly useful: a built-in stand. It folds completely flat and adds only 2mm to the thickness of the case. It rotates 360 degrees, clicking into position at 90-degree intervals so you can stand your phone upright or in landscape mode on either side.
A rubbery band around the edge means it’s relatively easy to take off and back on, and there are cutouts for the mute switch, headphone jack and Lightning port – all three buttons are covered up.
A generous camera cutout offers plenty of room for the iPhone 5s’s flash.
It's now available in grey, green, red and pink, with prices varying between £35 and £40.
For the full review of this case, click here.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
Sports & Rugged cases
Tech21 Impact Band for iPhone 5 and 5s review
Price: £25 inc VAT
Tech21’s Impact Band costs £25 and holes are cut out for the mute switch and Lightning dock, while embedded plastic buttons make contact with the iPhone’s volume and standby buttons.
As well as the clear option, the Tech21 Impact Band is available in a choice of colours: Green, Purple, Blue, Smokey and Pink.
All the extra padding around the circumference does make using the phone’s three buttons more tricky. Namely, the power switch on top, and volume up/down keys on the side.
The extra D3O around the edge, clearly visible in its trademark bright orange, makes the phone feel even wider and flatter than before. Made from TPU it has a slightly clammy feel which nevertheless really aids grip in the hand.
At the bottom is a huge cutout which means reduced protection, but more convenience. For example, Apple’s Lightning-to-30 pin adaptor will slot in easily. Cases with a cutout only for the USB-to-Lightning cable will have to be removed in order to use the 30-pin adaptor.
The band comes with a removable clear insert which protects the back of the iPhone, but you can just use the band on its own if you prefer.
See the full review here
Buy from: shop.tech21.uk.com
Incipio Foreman for iPhone 5s review
£30 inc VAT
Incipio has partnered with well-known tool manufacturer Stanley to launch a range of rugged cases which are also available for the iPhone 5S. Our favourite is the Foreman (far right in the image below), which strikes a good balance between protection and bulk. The main case is made from silicone, but a plastic (actually Plextonium, which sounds entirely made up) frame clips onto the rear to provide additional protection.
The case comes with a plastic holster into which you can slip the case. The holster has a swivelling belt clip, so you can attach it to a belt or loop on your clothing wherever it is.
The softish silicone means it doesn't take huge effort to press the iPhone 5S's buttons (as you do with the Tech21 Impact Band) and there's good protection all round. You get a screen protector in the box as well. If you want the trademark Stanley yellow, it's also available with a yellow instead of black plastic frame.
Considerably better protection is offered by the Dozer case (second from left), but not many people will be willing to put up with the bulk and flaps covering all the ports (and camera).
Buy from: www.mobilefun.co.uk
iChic Oxford Folio for iPhone 5s review
£20 inc VAT
Made from genuine tweed, this iPhone 5 and 5s flip case is the ideal winter accessory for your stylish phone. The iPhone clips into a soft-feel plastic shell, and the microfibre lining helps to protect the screen.
A magnetic popper holds the Folio shut, and there’s room for two credit cards in the flap. We’d hesitate from storing cards there, though, as they might scratch or mark your iPhone’s screen.
As ever, there’s a range of colours to choose between, including brown herringbone with orange lining and black herringbone with purple lining.
If you’re not a fan of flip cases (the flap does tend to get in the way of the rear camera), then iChic also offers the Oxford Shell which is coated with tweed. Best of all, it’s half the price at just £10.
Buy from: www.ichic.co.uk
Marc Jacobs Javier for iPhone 5s review
£16 inc VAT
Fashion statements don’t come much stronger than an iPhone case with ears. Marc Jacobs has an extensive range of iPhone 5 / 5s cases, several of which are animal cases. This owl-like case is made from silicone and will ensure no-one misses your statement when you’re on a call.
If owls aren’t your thing, there are also cat, dog and zebra (Julio) variants.
The case covers your iPhone’s three buttons and has a cutout for the mute switch.
Buy from: www.boxytech.com
Battery cases for iPhone 5 and 5s
Mophie Juice Pack Helium / Air / Plus for iPhone 5 and 5s review
It might have a faster processor and smarter camera but the iPhone 5s still has the weedy battery of the iPhone 5. Power users therefore either need to throttle back apps and features that drain battery power (dim the screen a little, switch off push notifications, turn off apps that track your location) or boost that charge with an external battery.
Top of the power pops for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s battery cases is the Mophie Juice Pack range, available in three powerful flavours.
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium features a 1,500mAh battery that boosts fading power back up to around 70 percent of a full charge.
£70 inc VAT
The Mophie Juice Pack Air has a 1,700mAh battery for a 90 percent charge.
£90 inc VAT
The Mophie Juice Pack Plus boasts a 2,100mAh battery that will give you a full battery recharge and a little over.
£90 inc VAT
Each case offers good protection with the added benefit of saving your iPhone 5 or 5s when that dreaded red battery icon pops up in the top-right corner.
When your battery starts to fade just flick the switch at the back and the Juice Pack battery kicks in charging your phone back to life again. Just re-charge the Juice Pack when you get back to civilisation.
Battery cases do add a little bulk and weight to your super-slim smartphone but you soon get used to the extra weight and width.
In our tests the Mophie battery cases worked well with the iPhone’s new dual-LED flash.