Either Apple was more forthcoming with accessories manufacturers or the rumor mill was extremely accurate, but it seems that there were a lot of cases for the new iPhone 5 available even before it was released. SPIGEN SGP sent a couple of different cases for our review, and we’ll be looking at their Ultra Thin Air case for iPhone 5 in this review.
All images can be clicked for a bigger view.
The Ultra Thin Air case is available in four colors: Smooth Black, Smooth White, Crystal Clear, and Soft Clear. I was sent the Smooth Black and the Smooth White cases.
Each case comes with three Home button covers (black, white, and orange), an Ultra Crystal screen protector, and a microfiber cleaning cloth. The cases are smooth, and they don’t improve the “grip-ability” of the iPhone 5. The case adds 0.4 ounce of weight to the phone, and it’s so thin that you don’t really notice any difference in the dimensions of the iPhone 5.
The case is very simple; the back is plain save for an embossed SPIGEN logo. There’s a generous opening for the camera, flash, and back microphone. You can just make out a black insert in the camera cutout. That little insert popped out of the black case as I was inspecting it. It snapped back in with no trouble. The white case also had the matte black insert, so I imagine it’s there to reduce possible flash glare. The case didn’t interfere with the camera’s operation.
It’s hard to see in the photos, but the sides of the case just fit over the metal sides of the iPhone 5, leaving the glass front completely uncovered. I prefer a back cover that wraps around and over the edges of the glass. That serves two purposes: it protects the edges of the glass screen, and it keeps the glass lifted off the table top if you lay the phone face down. Because it just fits over the chamfered edges, the case is much easier to put on and remove than other back cover cases I’ve tried on both my iPhone 5 and my old iPhone 4. That’s good if you like to take your cover off frequently for some reason, but I wonder how easily it might pop off unexpectedly.
I put the black home button cover on, but you can see I got it on crooked. Luckily I have two replacements if I decide the off-kilter button bothers me. These button covers make the Home button feel more flush to the bezel.
The side with the SIM tray is completely covered by the case. You’ll notice a SPIGEN logo on this side. The other side has openings for the mute slider and the volume buttons. These controls were easy to use while the iPhone was in the Ultra Thin Air case.
Coverage stops just as the case rounds the bottom corners. The headphone jack, Lightning connector jack, and the grills for the bottom microphone and speaker are left completely open. I didn’t have any trouble plugging in the Lighting cable or headphones.
Again, top coverage stops just after rounding the top corners. The sleep/wake button is completely open and useable.
The case is very thin, but it should protect against scratches and light dings – at least to the parts that it covers. There’s no padding or cushioning inside the case, so I’m not sure how much drop protection you can expect from this case.
The screen protector is a dry-apply type, which I prefer. It went on pretty easily, and it didn’t degrade the appearance of the Retina display. I could tap, swipe, and slide my finger on the screen easily. It had cutouts for the Home button, the phone speaker, and front camera. However, it left the ambient light sensor covered.
If your biggest concern is adding some scratch protection, especially to the back of your iPhone 5, without adding any bulk or weight, you might like the SPIGEN SGP Ultra Thin Air case. If you choose the Crystal Clear one, you could still enjoy the look of the aluminum back. It does leave the edges of the glass screen unprotected, and it may not provide a lot of drop protection, though.