iPhone 5 cases, Round 2 goes to Ten 97, but musubo Retro is pretty cool looking.

I’ve received another batch of cases, and I continue to find the innovation and variety amazing.

I was in a MacStore the other day and saw a Ten 97 iPad case. The workmanship and quality of materials were superior to most leather cases I’ve seen. And I do mean leather, not micro-fiber leather, not pleather, I mean calf-skin. Sure, you pay a bit more, but the luxurious feel is worth it. I received two different types of iPhone cases, both available only for pre-order at the moment of the Ten-97 website.

The 9705 Flipcase for iPhone 5 features a camera hole, magnetic closure and a credit card/ID pocket. The sister case, the Pouch, offers the same rich leather, but in pouch form — you need to remove the phone to answer it. I like the flipcase much better. My only complaint is it flips down rather than up. The gang at Ten-97 don’t seem to be Star Trek fans. Both cases feature microfiber linings to protect the surface of the phone. It appears the microfiber is part of the P-TEK™ layered protection system that, according to Ten-97, protects the iPhone from a 6-foot drop (you can find videos of people dropping iPads on their website).

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I also received the musubo Retro and Mummy.  Although one might think the Retro a through back (they invoke an old-time Radio microphone), I think it more of a through forward. I get an H. R. Giger-esque feel more than an E.R. Morrow one. The white ribbing against the silicon-interior layer creates a good contrast. It feels great in the hand and looks flashy and new. The Retro is one of my favorite cases, but it just happened to come in at the same time as the Ten-97 cases, and I have a hard time choosing plastic over leather. But that may just be me. The phones also come with a little stand that folds from flat to stand. Nice accessory, but it doesn’t integrate with the case, so put it somewhere you will remember it when needed. The Mummy has good styling, but doesn’t afford the same level of protect, as it is not a multi-layer case. The design: think beard of an Egyptian pharo. I like that musubo is staking out a niche inspired by design icons. The musubo entire collection has a more emotional connection than other lines.

The most recent case to arrive was the iHangy™ Keychain & Slip in 5 Case™, a rather unique case that offers double-layer protect in a slim profile. I have to say, this is not the case you want if you change cases very often. Getting the silicon sleeve over the iPhone 5 is a breeze, getting into, and out of, the plastic shell takes some work. I understand the snugness, because the real unique feature comes from three holes at the bottom of the case that can accommodate the iHangy keychain—and you don’t want a hanging iPhone to accidentally slip out of its case. And yes, you can but keys on it, but as the product name implies, the keychain is designed more as a iPhone hanger-oner thingy.  Clip it to clothing, a bag, a belt loop. I found the clip to be pretty robust, though I would feel better if the tiny retractable bar attaching it to the case was metal rather than plastic. I’d be cautious using this case in a crowded area that may subject the phone to untoward tousling and, perhaps, clip snatching.

Each of these cases has a uniqueness to it that makes them hard to compare. As I’ve already said, I’m a sucker for leather, which places the Ten-97 at the top of this list, but I often find myself slipping on the musubo Retro just because it is so damn cool looking (and functional, and protective). The iHangy™ has to really appeal to you because it will likely be the case you use most often given the struggles to take it on-and-off, but if you like hanging things on things, then this is your case.


9705 Flipcase and Pouch
Both cases available for pre-order at $59.99


Retro: $34.99
Mummy: $29.99

iHangy™ Keychain & Slip in 5 Case™

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Daniel W. Rasmus is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Serious Insights. Rasmus is the author of Listening to the Future and Management by Design. Rasmus teaches at Bellevue College where he teaches Social Media and Personal Branding. He is also the Chief Knowledge Officer with the Virtual World Society.