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Review: Speck CandyShell Grip for iPhone 5

by on March 1, 2013

Speck has been making cases for Apple devices long before the iPhone, and was one of the first to transition from silicone “skins” to thermoplastic polyurethane for a good chunk of its lineup. The major exception has always been the CandyShell, an often colorful, glossy, hard case, with a rubbery lining. This combination offers a mix of protection and shock absorption. With the iPhone 5, Speck has updated the popular line, and reworked the $35 Grip variety.

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Marketed as a variant of the CandyShell for those who want a bit more grip for games, texting, or general usage, the CandyShell Grip is also a bit less boxy, featuring curved edges and horizontal rubber ridges across the back and sides. These are actually part of the inner lining, which also acts as a seam in the corners and a lip around the screen. For some reason, this lower profile and extra use of rubber means that this case is easier to get on and off than prior CandyShells.

Currently available in white & black, white & blue, yellow & blue, blue & pink, pink & black, purple & black, black & red, and black & grey, more color combinations will most likely be added, as was the case of other CandyShell models. The plastic is glossy and still slightly scratch-prone, although the rubber ridges prevent contact with most surfaces. A common complaint with “grippy” cases is poor pocketability, but the CandyShell Grip seems to find a happy, usable medium. Ours had been used for over a month in a number of different kinds of pockets and the rubber ridges haven’t worn as of this writing.

All sides of the iPhone are protected, as rubber covers the sleep/wake button and the volume buttons. The silent switch is exposed with a reasonable-sized cutout. Around back, the camera cutout has the obligatory black ring to prevent reflective glare from the flash. At the bottom, tiny holes allow the speaker and microphone to be usable, but not exposed. A relatively large cutout should allow most Lightning cables to work, including Apple’s Lightning-to-Dock Connector Adapter Cable. In all, the CandyShell offers very good protection in a slim package.

Our only minor complaint is that Speck didn’t include a screen protector, despite the case being on the pricier end of the spectrum. Additionally, we’d like to see a matte finish to help hide potential scratches. Still, when you look at the case as a whole, these are very minor issues, if any at all.

Overall, the CandyShell Grip is a very good case, and should satisfy most users. It protects just about every part of the iPhone, doesn’t add a lot of bulk, and (obviously) helps with grip. Even if you don’t need the extra grip, this case is still a very suitable choice.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

If you’re looking for a case that doesn’t add much bulk, protects well, and could help prevent drops, the Speck CandyShell Grip is hard to beat.

Pros: Well-designed, grips on most sides, Lightning connector cutout large enough for some third-party cables, excellent protection
Cons: None significant
Rating: 10/10

The Facts

Product: CandyShell Grip
Company: Speck
Platform: iPhone 5
Price: $34.95

This post has been filed in iPhone, Mobile Devices, Reviews