With the iPhone 5 going on a diet and getting even slimmer than its predecessor, there is a pretty big advantage for fans of protective cases

Just like the skinnier handset, protective cases are also much thinner and easier to hold. While OtterBox’s Defender series has always been the de facto rugged case, the category continues to grow. And that is definitely good news for consumers who have more selections to choose from.

And Hard Candy Cases is presenting an interesting option – the ShockDrop.

The Good

The textured back makes the ShockDrop easy to handle.

The textured back makes the ShockDrop easy to handle.

While most cases tend to mirror the iPhone 5’s rounded corners, the ShockDrop takes a decidedly different approach. With a rectangular form, the case turns the handset into a boxier shape. I worried, at first, that the shape would make the handset harder to hold and to use. But I’m happy to say that isn’t the case.

In landscape and portrait mode, I think the ShockDrop made the iPhone 5 easier to hold onto thanks to the textured grip on the back that is very similar to the Drop Tech Series iPad case from sister company GumDrop Cases.

And the rectangular shape also has another advantage. At all four corners of the case, there is 6mm of shock-absorbing silicone that feels very sturdy and should do a good job protecting the iPhone 5. The rest of the body slims down to 3mm of protection, which allows users to fit the case into a bag with no issues.

The power and volume switches are protected by molded-in buttons that are easy to press. The mute switch, headphone jack, speakers, and Lightning connector are all covered by rip-proof port covers that easily flip up and down. As a nice touch, the headphone port cover is separate, so the bottom of the iPhone isn’t entirely exposed when you just want to listen to music.

The Bad

Lint did accumulate on the black version of the case.

Lint did accumulate on the black version of the case.

But with the emphasis on protection there are some tradeoffs. The integrated screen protector is probably the weakest part of the ShockDrop.

Composed of semi-rigid material, it does seem to cut down on the clarity and color rendition of the iPhone 5’s beautiful screen, which is a shame. You must also push down a little more firmly on the screen to register taps. On the plus side, the protector is replaceable, I just wish it were removable.

My black version of the case also seemed to attract lint at a good pace. After a few days of keeping the phone in my pocket, I had to spend some time wiping off the material that got lodged in the case’s grooves. I suspect the red version would probably hold up a little better in a pocket or purse.

Verdict

Overall, I definitely like the ShockDrop. While it’s not the absolute favorite iPhone 5 case I’ve used so far (that title still goes to the Technician from Stanley and Incipio), it is a very nice option for users looking for a better-than-normal amount of protection that looks nice and is easy to hold.

Either color of the case is available directly through Hard Candy for $39.99, plus shipping. You can find it on Amazon for $41.99 with free shipping.