Ok, you're probably pretty skeptical right now reading that title alone. I hear ya, so was I. Really Right Stuff is known for extremely high quality carbon fiber tripods, not cases, and definitely not something in mobile computing. After hearing my surprise, the guys at Really Right Stuff laughed and made me think of it this way: the iPhone is the most popular camera on the market. It would be weird if they didn't support it, as they are one of the best camera support companies out there. Hearing that, I was ready to give this thing a look.
Earlier this year I reviewed a prototype model of the Really Right Stuff Pocket Pod, and was overall really happy with the product. Really Right Stuff sent me the very first model of their new iPhone 5 case, and this is yet another product they can add to their line that is not only gorgeously designed, but overall a fantastic product.
When we buy a case for our phones, we really have a very short list of core expectations: we want the case to protect, we want it to look good, and we want it to not weigh our light phones down. I am usually willing to forgo one of those three desires if it means that the case excels at the other two. Currently I use a battery case, and though it protects my phone and it looks great, it weights a freaking ton and more than doubles the weight of my phone. However, I put up with it. So when we look at those three categories, how does the RRS case stack up?
Protection: It's kind of unusual to see a case with no back. When you see the case for the first time, at first you're put off by the lack of a back. Lame! No back? What the heck! Rabble rabble rabble! Then three seconds later you realize, it doesn't need a back. In fact, the lack of a back is a good thing. The backside of an iPhone 5 is really pretty, and for nearly every case out there, I never get to see it. RRS realized that to protect the phone, what mattered was frame stability and protection of the glass. Those parameters did not require a backing to their case. What it does have is that ever-popular "lip" that raises the edges of the case up away from the face and back of the phone. That lip prevents the glass from shattering if you drop it, a feature that many of you look for in a phone case.
It's made from aluminum, and when you feel the case you'll agree that you don't question it's ability to protect your phone.
Appearance: Though it will be offered in a few different colors, I'm a fan of the gun metal. It looks really beautiful on the black iPhone 5, blending in really well. I don't know what else I can say about it other than it's damn sexy. When you hold the phone in your hand with this case on, the phone actually feels better than without the case. That's not something you can say about most cases.
Weight: It weighs almost nothing. Can you tell the difference when holding the iPhone with and then without the case? Yes. Is it enough to matter? No. When I hold the case by itself, it's easy to forget I'm carrying anything- it's that light. I think the weight of this case is what is most dazzling about the product as a whole. I expected it to be far heavier than it is, and it does justice to a phone that is already insanely light.
Another cool function is how easily the case attaches to the Pocket Pod. With the right ball head, it's a quick screw on, screw off process. I like that it's an available option, but I personally can't think of a ton of times I would really tripod my phone except if I was trying to take a timer photo with my family while on vacation. And you know what? I totally would use it then. And you know what else? It would work great.
There isn't much to dislike with this case. It's great, but not perfect. The one thing I don't like about this case is the price: it's set to retail for $125. The battery case I currently use on my phone cost me $90 at the Verizon store and that charges my phone. This case just looks awesome while protecting my phone. Would I regret the purchase afterwards? Most likely not. The case is going to outlast the phone. It's not that I don't understand why it's priced how it is; I totally do. The way they machine this thing is an expensive process, and we reap the rewards with a really nice case. It's just a rather large mental hurdle to drop that kind of cash on something I'm used to treating as a commodity.
What I Liked:
What could use improvement:
This case is really awesome. Like I said, I would not regret nabbing this and putting it on my phone. It looks great, functions exactly like I want it to, and weighs less than my glasses. If Really Right Stuff makes more products that can be widely accepted by the general public and continue to maintain this kind of quality, I'll be excited.
You can check out all the options at ReallyRightStuff.com.