After I got my iPhone 5, I decided I would keep it "naked" — no case or screen protector of any kind.
As regards a case, the iPhone 5 is as stunningly designed, light and thin as any smartphone I have ever seen. "Why," I mused, "would I want to spoil all that with some bulky, inferior-looking case?"
As for the display, I had given up on screen protectors years ago. I see little need for them, as the iPhone's Gorilla glass offers more than enough protection for me. Any added protection was not worth the hassle of trying to apply a thin film that inevitably traps dust and air bubbles — and that (after left in place for awhile) can't be removed without ruining the film.
That's why, when Moshi recently asked to show me their line-up of iOS and Mac products, I was less than enthusiastic. Moshi makes a worthy assortment of electronics and accessories, from keyboards and cables to cases, covers and film protectors. Their latest cases and covers were the primary items on the agenda for the meeting.
With some reluctance, and on the theory that "you never know," I agreed to the meet. This turned out to be a wise decision. In the end, I was so impressed with Moshi's products that I now use three of them — including a case and screen protector for my iPhone! These are clearly head-of-the-class products, designed to match the simplicity and elegance of the Apple devices themselves.
To be clear, I focused on just a subset of what Moshi offers. My strong preference is for products that only minimally alter the look and feel of the device itself. I'm not interested in leather-like wallet cases, for instance. With that in mind, here are the three Moshi items that especially turned my head:
iGlaze Armour for iPhone
The iGlaze Armour is an aluminum and polycarbonate hardshell iPhone case. It is ultra-thin but thick enough to protect the iPhone from scratches and other minor hazards. Just as importantly, it stunningly mimics the external appearance of the iPhone itself. I have a white iPhone, so I went with the Armour that combines the white plastic and brushed aluminum look of my phone. After I snapped on the case, a rear view of the iPhone looked almost as if the case was not there. Only the circle cut-outs — for the Apple logo and the camera — gave it away. The effect is truly impressive.
I confess that I have not made a thorough study of all the current iPhone cases. Still, I have checked out many of them. I thought the Incipio feather SHINE was quite nice — until I saw the Armour. It was no contest. For starters, the feather uses an "aluminum look" plastic; the Armour uses an actual aluminum backplate. Much nicer. Moshi itself makes a simple "ultra thin" all plastic iGlaze line of cases. Again, the iGlaze Armour is superior. For my money, there is not a better iPhone case on the market.
iVisor AG (and iVisor XT) for iPhone
The iVisors are screen protectors. The Visor AG has a matte finish, offering anti-glare protection. The Visor XT is transparent, mimicking the appearance of a "naked" iPhone. They both do a superb job.
Rather than merely a sheet of film, the iVisors are film framed by plastic that matches the look of the iPhone itself (white, in my case). Because of this construction, you can easily place an iVisor over the face of the device without any trace of air bubbles. And it can be just as easily removed without damage, allowing for repeated use.
Once the iVisor is in place, you'd be hard-pressed to tell it was there. As with the iGlaze, only the cut-outs give it away. I'm still not convinced I need a screen protector at all. But I'm currently enjoying having the anti-glare effect of the AG.
My iPhone 5 with a matte iVisor over the front. You can also see the side edges of the iGlaze Armour that covers the back.
With both the iGlaze and iArmour in place, an iPhone is protected on all sides, with only a barely perceptible change to the original appearance of the device. Fantastic. In fact, by choosing black accessories for a white iPhone (or vice versa), you have the option to change your iPhone's appearance to either of Apple's two color styles.
If you like the iVisor approach for iPhone, you might also want to check out the similar products that Moshi makes for the iPad and MacBook.
iGlaze + versa cover for iPad
When Apple first released its Smart Cover for the iPad, I bought one and have never looked back. I've never considered replacing it with anything else. Until now. I'm now using Moshi's iGlaze + versa cover. It offers two advantages over Apple's product.
First, the cover connects to a case that snaps on to the back of the iPad. As with the iGlaze for the iPhone, it's a thin case that adds only a minimum of thickness and weight. The advantage here is that the case offers protection against scruffs and scratches to the back of the iPad. I chose the translucent model — again to minimize the evidence that I was using a case at all.
The cloth cover works very similarly to Apple's product, including having magnets that turn the iPad on and off when you lift and close the cover. The advantage of the Moshi product is that it folds in an origami-like pattern (which takes a bit of practice to figure out) that supports the iPad in both landscape and portrait orientations.
Moshi will soon release a version of this cover/case for the iPad mini. I have some concern about the long-term durability of the cloth "hinge" that connects the cover to the case section, but it's holding up so far.
If you're willing to stray from the "minimalist" preferences that determine my choices, browse through the full assortment of Moshi's products. You'll find intriguing other items, such as a "coming soon" iGlaze Kameleon case for the iPhone that includes a built-in kickstand.
Otherwise, if you're like me, I highly recommend starting with the three products described here. When I agreed to meet with Moshi, I never expected I would wind up writing an article like this. But here I am. Sometimes you get pleasantly surprised. This was one of those times.