Test cases

Test cases

Trevor Tan checks out three rugged iPhone 5 cases to see how much punishment they can take.

OtterBox Armor for iPhone 5 (top photo, left)
$129; 110.9g

The OtterBox Armor looks the way you expect it to. It is like a shield for your iPhone 5, complete with two solid metal latches on one side.

This case also comes in two parts - a front casing and a rear shell.

It promises to stay waterproof down to depths of 2m for up to half an hour. It should withstand drops from up to 3m and even protect the phone from being crushed by a force of up to two tonnes.

At 110.9g, the case is almost as heavy as your iPhone 5.

It is also the thickest of the lot here, adding 10.2mm to the device.

In my tests, the case withstood an hour's soaking in the sink, with no leaks. My iPhone 5 also emerged undamaged after being dropped from a height of around 1.5m a few times.

Lifeproof Fre iPhone 5 Case (top photo, centre)
$129; 29.8g

The thinnest lightest tough case for iPhone 5 here adds a mere 4.6mm and 30g to your iPhone 5.

It is supposed to be waterproof down to 2m for up to an hour and shockproof, withstanding drops from up to 2m. It also protects the iPhone from dirt, dust, snow and ice.

Installation of the Lifeproof Fre is easy as it comes in the form of a front casing and a rear shell.

When the device is encased, the display does not become recessed so swiping and zooming is easy. You also do not need to press extra hard on the buttons.

I left it in a sinkful of water for an hour and found no leaks. The iPhone also functioned perfectly well after I dropped the case from a 1.5m height several times.

Griffin Survivor for iPhone 5 (top photo, right)
$128; 112g

The Griffin Survivor looks the part. It consists of three parts - a silicone outer cladding, an internal polycarbonate frame and a front screen protector.

Its specifications are impressive. It is supposed to withstand drops from up to 1.8m, prevent dust from entering in 64kmh sandstorms for up to three hours, survive 200mm rain for an hour and remain shockproof for up to 18 hours in vibrating conditions of up to 2,000Hz.

Unlike the other two cases, this one has no clear opening for the camera. You need to peel off a small cover in order to use the camera.

The case doubles the weight of the iPhone and adds 9.1mm to its thickness. It also makes the screen effectively recessed, making swiping and typing a chore.

There are a few tiny holes at the bottom for the speaker, so I skipped the sink test. Instead, I held the case under the shower for 20min and no water seeped in. The iPhone 5 in the case also survived the 1.5m drop test unscathed.

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