Since I work in a rather mundane office setting, I love slim, tiny iPhone cases that protect against scratches and not much else.
But if I’m on a camping trip or spending the day at the beach or on a hike, a practically non-existent level of protection doesn’t really cut it anymore. The SLXtreme 5 case from SnowLizard was made for those trips, and for people who require an almost obnoxious amount of armor on their iPhones.
- Height: 151 mm
- Width: 70.5 mm
- Depth: 24.8 mm
- Weight: 150g
- Price: US$ 149.99
The SLXtreme 5 is top-of-the-line protection, so a bulky form factor is the trade-off. At almost 25 mm thick, it more than triples the thickness of the iPhone 5/5s, not to mention increasing the weight by over 100%. But you’re not getting this kind of a case so that it can easily slip into a handbag or slide in the back pocket of your jeans — you’re getting it so you can drop it on a rock and not worry if it’s coming back in one piece.
The case is not only made for protection, but also provides an external battery backup that can be charged via USB or from the built-in solar panel situated on the back of the shell. The battery can store a charge of 2,550 mAh which, in theory, can recharge your iPhone 1.5 times, though in practice it’s slightly less than that.
The iPhone slides in from the top of the case and a large clasp buckles down to ensure a waterproof seal. A locking door on the bottom of the case provides access to the charging port, while a second plug reveals the audio jack. The case allows full use of the home button — though sadly no TouchID functionality is provided — as well as access to the volume controls and lock button.
A lanyard is provided along with the case, which can be connected to the loop on the bottom, just in case your iPhone has a tendency to fall off of mountains or something.
As an extended battery case, the SLXtreme 5 works splendidly, and the solar charge is a neat addition. Because the solar panel is relatively small, it doesn’t provide enough power to make it a viable option when recharging your device when there is a USB port handy. In an emergency situation it would be an absolute life-saver, and having the ability to suck a few minutes of juice from the sun is a fantastic feature, but it’s more of a safety net than a daily-use feature.
The case itself feels extremely solid and it can certainly take a reasonable fall without issue. All of the locking doors feel sturdy there’s really nothing about the case that I would change from a protection standpoint. And then there’s the waterproofing…
The shell is rated as being water resistant up to 2m (6 ft), which is enough that you could take it to the beach and not worry about rolling waves. The retail box even suggests taking underwater photos with the case equipped, which is a really cool option, though the icy lakes here in southern Wisconsin wouldn’t let me test this out first-hand. I did, however, fill my sink with water, close my eyes, and throw my iPhone into it, and it emerged unscathed.
Cases like this can sometimes hinder use of the device itself, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I was able to accomplish just about every iPhone task I’m used to. The one sticking point I have is that it’s nigh impossible to do the bottom-up swipe on the touchscreen that activates the control center in iOS. The thickness of the case makes it extremely difficult to pull this gesture off, which is a bit of a letdown, as I tend to use the control center quite often.
SnowLizard has produced the cream of the crop for iPhone users seeking a high level of protection. The SLXtreme 5 is durable, well-made, and the added battery and solar charging features make it the ultimate multi-purpose accessory. The minor functionality limitations hold it back from being absolutely perfect, but it’s very close.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of a possible 4 stars