If you’re in the market for a new case for your iPhone 5 or 5s, you’re probably having a hard time choosing. There are so many options out there that you can easily find yourself wanting one of everything. One style of case keeps the metallic quality of the iPhone 5 and 5s while protecting your expensive device. The Element Case Solace is just such a case. It combines polycarbonate with aircraft grade aluminum to make it strong and light, but that aluminum will cost you a pretty penny. Is it worth it?
The Solace is fairly thin. The top and bottom edges of the case are made of T6061 aircraft grade aluminum. The polycarbonate is lightweight and durable (which is why basically every case on the market is made out of the stuff), while the aluminum makes the case feel even slightly more sturdy.
Unfortunately, the Solace might be the most difficult case to install. First you attach the polycarbonate case to your phone. This is actually the vast majority of the case’s surface area. Then you’ll have to attach the top and bottom edges (the aluminum parts). These are held onto the polycarbonate case with four tiny little screws. I had considerable difficulty getting these screws to line up with the case. The included screwdriver isn’t much help either. It, too, is very small and seems to be designed to not be easily twirled in your fingers to drive the screws in with two flat edges instead of a nice barrel. The upside to this difficult installation is that it’s equally hard to get off. In terms of protecting your device, that’s good.
Overall, I found the ElementCase Solace to not live up to its price. Although functional, it’s expensive, hard to install, and doesn’t feel much sturdier than a fully plastic case. Even worse is that the it doesn’t really feel premium like it’s price would suggest. There’s very little metal on the case, which is what makes these metal cases seem like higher quality cases to begin with. If you’re looking for an aluminum case for your iPhone, you’d be well advised to bump up to Element Case’s Sector 5, or look elsewhere.
Sleekon was previously featured here on AppleTell for their glow-in-the-dark cases, which served up a healthy dose of nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the late ’80s (it seemed like everything lit up after the lights went out from about 1985-1992). Move forward about a decade, and you have the inspiration for Sleekon’s latest addition: Shirts that changed color when heated (anyone remember making handprint patterns?) and endless tourist novelty items that go from white to vibrant color out in the sunlight. The latest addition to their lineup is the Sleekon Photochromic iPhone 5 case, which turns your iPhone into a sunlight-activated color changing accessory.
Bask in the Sunlight
Rather than glowing in the dark, the Photochromic case performs its trick in direct sunlight. All the modles feature simple black and white designs that receive a punch of color when you expose them to UV radiation (simple sunlight, nothing too dangerous). Take your phone outside, or even just put it on a windowsill and you’ll notice it starts to change colors instantly. The effect is best in direct sunlight, but will still work even inside a car (car windows generally reflect some UV rays, but enough get in to trigger the color change).
Sleekon provided me a review case that’s sure to make any Douglas Adams fan happy (I certainly never panicked when using it). Called Whale’s Dream, the case features a whale on a white background; whip your phone out in some sunlight, and suddenly the whale is suspended in a midair, surrounded by fluffy white clouds. Sadly, a bowl of petunias is not included.
Fit and Finish
The Photochromic case is the same style as the previously-reviewed Luminous glow-in-the-dark cases. It’s a basic snap-on design that adds less than 1 mm to your iPhone on all sides except the screen. A super thin bezel snaps around the sides to hold it in place, and there are cutouts along the top, left, and most of the bottom to accommodate your iPhone’s switches, ports, and mic/speaker. In addition to Whale’s Dream, there are seven other case designs featuring a variety of nature and film noir/comic book styles