Review: First crop of iPhone 5 cases available now

iPhone 5 Lightning dock connector

A gorgeous new iPhone 5 in hand, pristine right out of the box — you might want to protect it with a case, but with Apple shipping the iPhone 5 so soon after announcing it last week, you may be scrambling to find a good compatible case. Fortunately, a few manufacturers have confirmed cases available starting Friday and provided samples for review. Here are some great choices.

Tech 21 Impact Band $39.99

This minimalistic design provides basic bumper protection on the sides as well as a clear plastic back to protect the finish from scratches. The soft D3O® material fits snuggly around the phone and protects the edges from drops and adds color (nine choices) and personalization to your iPhone without adding bulk. This is a great case for people who don’t generally like cases.

X-Doria Dash $34.99

Want protection but don’t want anyone to mistake your iPhone 5 for any other product, like the iPhone 4? The Dash provides side and back with hard plastic protection for your iPhone while leaving a clear window to show off the distinctive iPhone 5 logo and coloring. Currently available only in black, it’s a slight step up in protection without much compromise

Scosche Kickback $29.99

The kickBACK is a thicker hard plastic protector for your iPhone 5 with a sporty finish that makes the phone easy to grip even with sweaty hands. The case comes in five different colors as well as basic black and white.

The cool feature of this case is the integrated kickstand which makes FaceTime easy as well as movie viewing in landscape mode. Clever.

Gumdrop Drop Tech $44.95

Although the more traditional extreme case manufacturers such as Otterbox were not able to provide samples in time for this review, Gumdrop actually sent me a case for review the day of the iPhone 5 launch. This case provide complete integrated protection for all ports as well as the screen in a dual-layer design of hard plastic skeleton enveloped with a soft plastic exterior with stylized tire-inspired texturing. Currently only available in black, more colors are on the way

This is a slightly bulky product, but if you need hard core protection, this is a great case.

As far as how these manufacturers developed cases so quickly, basically they guessed. “We made some assumptions to be in a position to move very quickly once specs are unveiled by Apple,” tech21 CEO Jason Roberts said in a statement.

Because this iPhone is made out of aluminum, it’s supposed to be less likely to crack or shatter. Are you going to get a case for your iPhone 5 or go “naked”?

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