I have been a fan of Case-Mate Tough case, used it on my Note 2, and reviewed it in the past to share my experience about it. One of the selling points of Tough case for me was it's very slim profile while still offering a decent drop protection. Once I got S5 for my wife and knowing she might not be a fan of bulky cases, I decided to get a review sample to see how it will look with S5. But here is a twist. Since this is technically not my phone, I figured it would be nice to look at some cases with a more flashy appeal for the ladies in our community who consider a smartphone as an accessory thus dressing it up accordingly. Since I got a lot of review samples and have a ton of pictures to share with you, I will try to be brief with my write up and let the pictures do the talking, but will offer my comments as well.
Let's start first with a Refined Collection samples. Just like the name states, it's more "refined" with a flashier look and more expensive material used to make each one stand out in it's own way. They each have a similar 2 piece design with a backplate piece which has a layer of thin shock absorption material and raised edges where you place your phone, and a frame piece you apply from the top which latches securely to backplate and holds S5 in place. Each design has it's unique back finish where Caliber (more appropriate for guys) uses some fancy material made out of GIO Ballistic Composite, Glam has a shiny sparkly finish under laminating anti-scratch cover, and Brilliance uses genuine crystal pieces (very securely glued to a surface) and leather. The rest of the material is plastic. They all have identical precise cutouts for all the ports, where Brilliance and Glam also offer metallic looking physical buttons for power and volume while Caliber has it in matching case color. I also have to note that a design gives S5 a squared off look in iPhone style. In my opinion it offers a level of protection for your phone to survive a drop, but with an exception of Caliber, it's hard to tell how much of a damage it will cause to a fancy backs of Brilliance and Glam. Furthermore, I noticed the case design wasn't too friendly with my tempered glass screen protector, where the edge of it was lifted off, but it shouldn't be a problem with a regular PET film screen protector. Obviously, the intention of these cases is to make a bold statement rather than being used while you are hiking outdoors or working on a construction. In addition, although Case-Mate is very well known for their super-coupons where you can save a lot of money, I would always start by looking on Amazon where you can find a better pricing for these.
Here are the pictures.
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Next, let's take a look at Sports Collection which consist of Tough and Pop! Stand cases.
As I mentioned before, I'm quite familiar with Tough case for Note 2, so was expecting a similar one for S5. I found the case to be redesigned and now offering a better protection while still remaining relatively slim. The case offers dual layer protection with inner layer being a typical TPU shell for shock absorption. It has a nice snug fit, precise cutouts and alignments with all the port openings, metallic power and volume buttons - a nice touch you won't find with your typical TPU case, and a small lip to be able to place your phone case down without worrying about glass screen touching the surface. I found no issues with my tempered glass screen protector since softer TPU material wrapped around it rather than pushing on the sides. As a bonus, there is a second shell PC layer for impact resistance. It wraps around the TPU shell and securely latches to it. Another very important feature of this second layer is textured surface which offers an excellent grip for your hand, anti-skid protection when phone placed down on the flat surface, and still smooth enough to go easily in and out of your pocket without grabbing it.
If you are ready for a tougher protection, Pop! Stand will be your next choice. It's equally slim in comparison to Tough, but in my opinion it's fused dual layer design can take a bit more abuse. With inner TPU layer offering shock absorption and outer PC shell for impact resistance, it wraps your S5 very secure. Though the outer layer doesn't have the same textured finish, the side TPU grips compensate for that very nicely. Just like with Tough, Pop! has all the precisely aligned cutouts, but the power and volume buttons are part of TPU layer and sealed. They are made out of more flexible material to offer a tactile response of buttons. The bonus of this case is the kickstand which allows S5 to be placed in panoramic view for watching movies, etc. In comparison to Note 2 Pop! case which I also reviewed in the past, the rubber tip of this extended kickstand is better fused with the rest of it (in comparison to Note 2 Pop! design where it got separated after a short while). It also offers a small protection lip around the face of the phone and will secure a phone from sliding placed either on the back or the face down.
Last edited by twister6; April 27th, 2014 at 09:21 PM.
From the Studio collection, I received Naked Tough and Slim Tough cases.
As the name suggests, Naked Tough will make your phone look "naked" while still offering a level of Tough protection. This design consist of two pieces with an inner slim TPU bumper which also has metallic power and volume buttons, and an outer transparent PC back shell to go on top of it. It's very similar to Tough design with an exception of inner TPU shell being replaced with a bumper to keep back transparency. Obviously, it will not offer the same level of protection as a regular Tough case because you no longer have additional shock absorption layer on the back, but it has a very slim form factor, offers a bumper protection, as well as scratch protection of your battery cover. It will definitely help you if you drop your phone in it, but don't expect a high level of protection. This is more for a minimum protection while keeping it slim, easy in and out of the pocket, and no additional color beside your original S5 skin.
Slim Tough has a very similar 2-piece design as Refined collection without any fancy finish. It actually has an inner TPU shell which wraps around the phone, and a plastic frame piece that adds a nice bi-color detail including metallic buttons for power and volume. Slim Tough does a good job to square off the outline of S5 to make it look very iPhonish. As with other cases, all the ports have a precise cutout and nice alignment. In theory this case should be more durable than Refined collection since inner TPU shell fully wraps around the phone, but the protection level is still not exactly heavy duty.
Last edited by twister6; April 27th, 2014 at 09:44 PM.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is Samsung's 2014 flagship smartphone. As its name implies, it would be the 5th smartphone in the revered Samsung Galaxy S lineup.
The phone has a 5.1-inch 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED HD display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8... Read More