by Brad Moon | January 22, 2014 3:44 pm
Here’s a next-to-impossible question to answer: What’s the best iPhone 5s case available? There are there hundreds (if not thousands) of cases on the market — Apple (AAPL) may be way behind Google’s (GOOG) Android when it comes to smartphone marketshare these days, but there’s no mobile phone that attracts the attention of accessory makers like the iPhone.
Logitech (LOGI) is one of the leading manufacturers of computer accessories and peripherals. You’d think the company would have been all over the smartphone game –the number of these devices in use around the world topped one billion in 2012 and is expected to double by 2015. Yet Logitech remained wary and left the business of protecting and accessorizing smartphones to others. Until now.
With the new TidyTilt, LOGI is pushing into the business of selling iPhone 5s accessories. Looking at it, the TidyTilt is certainly one of the coolest iPhone cases available, but is it the best iPhone 5s case?
Logitech sent me one to try out. Here’s what I thought of it.
Logitech is a recognized name brand and a long-time leader in the computer and technology accessories industry. However, despite being in the business of selling accessories since 1981 and moving $2 billion in gear yearly, Logitech has been strangely absent from the booming smartphone add-on market.
Perhaps having so many companies claiming to make the coolest iPhone cases meant breaking in at this point was tough — like Intel (INTC), LOGI is late to the mobile game.
However, an opportunity to enter into the iPhone 5s accessories market with a bang presented itself when TT Design Labs — a startup founded by two Chicago design students — drew attention for the TidyTilt, an iPhone case they launched as a Kickstarter project. TidyTilt quickly gained recognition as being possibly the best iPhone 5s case available and the $10,000 in funding TT Design Labs was looking for turned into a $223,000 Kickstarter success story with more than 4,000 backers.
Logitech snapped up TT Design Labs in 2013 and brought the TidyTilt under its umbrella, signaling its entry into the iPhone 5s accessories market.
What makes the TidyTilt stand out from pack? Why is it generating so much buzz as the best iPhone 5s case?
I’ve always thought that the coolest iPhone cases provide the expected protection for your smartphone, but go beyond that to add extended functionality. Microsoft (MSFT) pulled that kind of trick off when it released the TouchType covers for its Surface tablets.
The TidyTilt designers thought outside the box to make something unique but innovative when compared to typical iPhone 5s accessories. Drawing inspiration from Apple’s smart cover for the iPad, TidyTilt has a flexible magnetic cover that folds to provide a stable support stand for the iPhone.
That folding cover also serves as secure ear bud management –wrap the cable around it to prevent tangling and keep the ear buds safely attached to the back of the iPhone. And that magnetic panel also makes it possible to stick the iPhone to metal surfaces, keeping it at eye level while being hands free.
The result is a case that largely lives up to the hype. It’s certainly the best iPhone 5s case if you use your smartphone for multimedia (watching movies or FaceTiming). It seems durable, and, like Apple’s smart cover, the magnets hold the device and stand securely in position. The ability to stick your iPhone on a vertical surface is genius.
In practice, I ran into one minor snag. If you’re a fan of stainless steel appliances, that magnetic mount may not work and this might not be the best iPhone 5s case choice for you. I have a Samsung (SSNLF) stainless steel refrigerator and no such luck for me, although I can confirm that the TidyTilt magnetic mount holds the iPhone solidly when used on most metal surfaces. If in doubt, try a magnet — if it sticks, TidyTilt will too.
Note: Although listed under iPhone 5s accessories at most retailers, the TidyTilt is also compatible with the iPhone 5, but not the iPhone 5c.
This may not be the best iPhone 5s case if you’re looking for all-weather or ballistic protection, but it’s up to typical use.
In a world where there are literally thousands of iPhone 5s accessories to choose from, Logitech has a winner in the TidyTilt, one of the coolest iPhone 5s cases and a clear contender for best iPhone 5s case.
When it comes to protection for your $649+ smartphone, the TidyTilt performs as well as most other slip-on cases. With all the added functionality it offers, the TidyTilt ranks up there as one of the coolest iPhone cases ever, especially when you consider the affordable price. And with a choice of panel colors and materials, it’s highly customizable.
Is TidyTilt the best iPhone 5s case available? That depends on your needs. If you don’t see a need for sticking your iPhone to an appliance, you don’t have a tangled mess of earbuds in your pocket or purse, you don’t use your iPhone for watching movies or you’re looking for ballistic grade protection, then the appeal of the TidyTilt may be lost on you.
But the TidyTilt would be a good choice for many people and it has the gee-whiz appeal that makes it one of the best iPhone 5s cases currently on the market. Most importantly for Logitech, it should provide a solid entry into a crowded iPhone 5s accessories market currently dominated by OtterBox and others that have enjoyed a seven-year head start.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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