Are you looking for a case for your iPhone 5 or 5s? Yes? Good. Keep reading, because here’s another iPhone case review prepared just for you.
Esoterism’s Challenge-5 iPhone 5/5s case is a polycarbonate back-plate style iPhone protector. The color option of the review unit I received is called “Lava” (charcoal grey with an orange pinstripe accent), but the Challenge 5 comes in a pale green, blue, red, pink, and jasmine (looks like a very pale lavender). The back features a cutout design which allows a view of the sheet of carbon fiber lining the inside of the unit.
As for the phone controls, there are robust and easy to use buttons for the power and volume up / down. The cut outs for the vibrate only switch, camera, the power port, speakers and 1/8” audio jack also allow for easy access. One catch with the opening for the bottom of the phone is if you have the power cord plugged in and you want to use headphones you will need a set with a straight jack—a 90 degree jack cannot be positioned out of the way and still make contact. This is really just a minor inconvenience and can be circumnavigated.
The unit is primarily polycarbonate, which provides shatter resistance and is very light in weight. The corners are a bit more robust for added protection, but are not so enlarged as to be unappealing or unduly bulky. While most of us have heard all about the wonders of carbon fiber, the application in this unit seems to be more for the aesthetics, but this is just fine. The bottom section uses a snap/friction connector so you can simply pull off the bottom if you need to dock your phone.
The main section is a rather snug fit, so once you slide your phone into the case it is held securely by friction. One concern of note, the fit is tight enough that you may not be able to use a screen protector. I tried a test fit with a screen cover and the Challenge-5 is tight enough to scrape the cover up. I even tried to use a shoehorn of sorts (no teeth) but to no avail.
The case does stand proud of the face of the phone by about 2mm, so putting your phone on a table face down shouldn’t be a big worry.
The form, fit and function are all decent, the protection and size/weight are appealing, and there are some good color options, but the Challenge-5’s price tag is $39.00, which is on the high end for polycarbonate cases. Given the range of iPhone case options, you may want to look elsewhere, first. The Challenge-5 is a good unit, but, as always, personal taste/style will be one of the larger considerations.
Provides: Scuff, scratch and drop protection for the iPhone 5/5s
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 5/5S