Art of the iPhone’s Rating: ★★☆☆☆
(2 stars out of 5)
Review Summary: The Incipio KickSnap has a poorly designed built-in stand, an easily scratched glossy surface, and very little shock absorption. It makes for a poor choice of case for the iPhone 5.
Reviewed by: Art of the iPhone
Certain themes emerge after years of reviewing iPhone cases, and one of those themes is that glossy style hard plastic cases exhibit poor durability and soon degrade into scratch-covered messes. And so it was with the Incipio KickSnap ($35 suggested, bought for $10 on Amazon), which after just a day’s use, looked liked it had been worked over with sandpaper. But the KickSnap does have another key selling point, its built-in stand. Too bad it’s poorly designed as well.
The Stand. The Kicksnap’s “stand” really is just a loose rectangular strip of plastic that you pull out with your fingernail. The “stand” flaps about like a broken wing—there is no hinge or other mechanism to provide resistance. To use it as a stand, you simply lean the plastic flap and iPhone against each other—a sloppy design that shows a total lack of imagination. The stand gives you a grand total of 1 viewing angle for the iPhone (about a 70-degree landscape viewing angle).
Protection. On its website, Incipio says the the KickSnap provides “excellent shock absorption.” Well, in my testing, not really. The KickSnap is a thin hard plastic case, which means most of the energy from an impact will transfer into the iPhone. That is not “excellent shock absorption.” The KickSnap does have a thin soft rubber inner lining, but there’s only enough for preventing the hard plastic of the case from scratching the iPhone itself, not enough for shock absorption duties. In terms of protection, the Incipio KickSnap is only good for everyday wear and tear—too bad the case itself will look worn and tired with just a few days use.
Buttons & Ports. There is one element of the KickSnap that is well designed, its buttons. The case’s buttons cover the iPhone’s own volume and sleep/wake buttons, and they work accurately when pressed. In fact, they are very clicky and responsive when pressed—I like them more than the iPhone’s own buttons. The case has cutouts for the iPhone’s lightning and headphone ports, leaving plenty room to plug in your earphones and charging cords. Likewise, a cutout for the iPhone’s camera leaves plenty of room to take photos. Overall, the KickSnap gives you excellent access to all the iPhone’s buttons and features.
Fit & Feel. The KickSnap is a slim-style case, and thus adds barely any thickness and weight to the already slim profile of the iPhone 5. The case feels very solid and tight, with no creakiness to the plastic or looseness to the fit. Unfortunately, the glossy surface is also quite slippery, meaning you’ll have a bit more difficult time keeping a firm grip on the iPhone with the case on. Another reason to avoid the “glossy” style of iPhone cases.
Looks. Glossy hard-plastic cases almost always look great coming out of the package, and so it was with the KickSnap. But due to durability issues, they don’t look so great after a few hours of use. So it was again with my “Obsidian Black” version of the KickSnap, which is also available in Optical White / Charcoal Gray. Scratches and scuffs will soon cover the delicate surface, making the case look worn even though it’s barely been used. The KickSnap is a slim case, so it maintains the iPhone 5’s slim profile, which is nice visually, but again, a closer look will reveal the scratches and worn look. The stand, too, is a bit of an eyesore, even though it snaps flat when not in use.
The glossy plastic of the Incipio KickSnap case for iPhone 5 ($35) is easily scratched, and its built-in stand is poor designed. Add in poor shock-absorption, and you’ve got a dud of an iPhone case, even at the discounted $10 I found it it for on Amazon.com. Not recommended.