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5 Disappointing iPhone 5s Cases You Should Never Buy



We often collect some of the most interesting or useful cases and recommend them to readers, but in the case of these 5 iPhone 5s cases we came across a few that left us wondering why the manufacturer even bothered.

The following cases might look cool, come in great packaging that exudes quality or be shipped with great fanfare. In all 5 cases we found them terribly lacking, not worth the money or just not a good fit for some buyers. Avoid these five cases!

qronoCase 01:HR

The qronoCase 01:HR looked cool on the website and when it arrived. Even the packaging made me literally say, “Wow!” We don’t often take pictures of a box to show in a review, but the qronoCase o1:HR forced me to do it. Unfortunately, that’s where the wow-factor ended.

qrono case 01:hr

The qronoCase 01:HR looks great in small online pictures or from a distance. It even looks neat before a person picks it up. When someone feels the flimsy cheap feel, the enjoyment fades quickly. We read the copy on the site that says it made of aluminum. I’m not sure I believe it because it doesn’t feel like it.

qrono case back

The case offers some interesting features:

  • An elastic strap that can hold some business cards, credit cards or cash.
  • The strap doubles as a place for someone to hold the phone securely with a finger or two slipped in there while they use their other fingers to multitask.
  • The top and bottom parts fit in a gamer’s hands while using their iPhone 5s to frag bad guys in a shooter or flap their little bird through a maze of pipes.
  • The case comes with replacement parts that hold the elastic band in place so the user can add a splash of gold to possibly match the gold iPhone 5s.

The case comes in two plastic colors – Timeless Silver and Executive Black. The silicone inner lining might keep the case scratch free and absorb the impact of a drop.

The company makes a lot of the fact that they’re only making 2,000 copies in a limited edition. We think that’s all they will sell considering the case costs $199. You read that right! For $200 we expected much better materials and more than just a handsome box.

See our list of 5o Amazing iPhone 5 or 5s Cases that will work better than these.

Apple 5s Case Product Red

iphone 5s product red case

Apple’s iPhone 5s cases suffer from a durability problem, especially with coloring. They wear out and quickly look dingy. The $39 Product Red version costs about four times too much. We’d expect a chintzy $10 case to look bad after a few weeks, but Apple should offer better. Sadly, it’s not just the paint on the Product Red version that wears off. All of them do this, except the black case.

Typo iPhone 5s Case

typo case

The $99 Typo iPhone 5s case looks like a great idea, especially for those who switched to an iPhone from a Blackberry, but can’t stand the touch screen keyboard in iOS 7. However, they Typo Case, aside from an unfortunate name for a keyboard case, fixes one problem while introducing others.

The case covers the iPhone 5s fingerprint reader. That’s one of the most interesting features on the iPhone. It’s so good, we demand that Apple put their Touch ID system on the iPad as well. Covering it up with a keyboard makes no sense at all.

Second, the case makes it hard to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to show the iOS 7 Control Center. That alone makes it a deal breaker for some.

Users must charge the case and the phone separately, making it strike three. A lot of cases that cover the iPhone charger will offer a pass through charging system, but the Typo doesn’t. We don’t like needing to remove a case to charge a phone.

We’ve heard from some users that the case fails at a high rate. Leo LePorte’s review show Before You Buy (shown above) featured the case in a recent episode. The reviewer, their security expert Steve Gibson, loved his Typo Case. However, Leo mentioned that a few others on their staff had to get the replacements after a few weeks due to failure. If they’re failing at a high rate, then that’s a bad thing. At $100, we recommend readers avoid the Typo Case until see more tests.

Element Case Sector 5 for iPhone 5/5s

The Element Case Sector 5 looks like a cool aluminum case. The video above shows how the company makes the case using some precision equipment. But too many Amazon users find it complicated to fit together and others say it doesn’t protect the iPhone 5 very well. Every one of the versions of these cases gets below 3 stars.

Our biggest gripe is that a case that costs too much. A $150 case should universally impress owners, Avoid the high-priced Element Case Sector 5.

Rugged Cases

We’re kind of cheating on this one, but we recommend that a certain class of users avoid the popular rugged cases including Otterbox, Lifeproof and Griffin to name a few.


These cases often work great and many users swear by them. So why would they make this list? Some of us hate bulky cases. The makers intend for users to keep these on the phone all the time. They often cover up charging ports or headphone/mic jacks, making it difficult to plug in a charger or ear buds.

People who prefer simple cases that snap or slide onto the phone and that come off quickly should avoid rugged cases. A rugged case that protects the phone in extreme environments is overkill for many users. If this describes you, then never buy a Lifeproof, Otterbox or Griffin Survivor case.



  1. Lanestew

    03/08/2014 at 6:45 pm

    Lunatik Tatik should be on this list. Over priced, heavy, and cheap. The case scratches with a fingernail and there are terrible rainbow effects associated with the screen protector.

  2. oakie

    03/10/2014 at 2:32 am

    you mention that the ElementCase Sector 5 is poorly reviewed on Amazon, yet your link also shows 6 reviews. of the 6, only 1 complained about assembly. 3 complained about getting a wrong, possibly counterfeit item, based on their descriptions.

    News Flash: if you bought any “Element Case” product on Amazon, it’s counterfeit. Element Case and their authorized retailers do not sell on Amazon. eBay is the only place other than direct from Element Case or their authorized retailers’ websites, and even then, many of the “Element Case” products on eBay are also counterfeit.

    so why are you purposely trying to slander Element Case without even trying to qualify your statement? do you have a personal problem or are you just lazy?

  3. oakie

    03/10/2014 at 2:35 am

    btw, most of the reviews on Amazon, despite being mostly counterfeit product, are 3.5 stars or better. I looked it up and I encourage you to do the same since you’re clearly wrong. if you were right, you would have posted a link to that, too.

  4. JSchultz

    03/10/2014 at 10:37 am

    I have never used Element myself because of the screws. They do look really nice. I switch between my Rokform aluminum case and a charging case a lot because it doesn’t need screws to assemble. That is for my iphone 4s though. I have not used their iPhone 5 case but it still looks like it installs without any tools.

  5. Vincent

    06/08/2014 at 9:05 pm

    I’m speaking on behalf of the qronoDesign team. Finding this article and having our product deemed disappointing, we wanted to briefly explain our thought process and goals in creating this case (and address some issues/doubts the reviewer) to help better inform where we’re coming from.

    We’re a relatively new start-up company, and looking at the current offerings in the market we didn’t see a case that matches the iPhone’s design in terms of uniqueness and ambition.
    We constructed the main parts of the qronoCase with high-precision CNC using 6061 aluminum (or recently known as “aircraft grade” aluminum), but unlike other cases on the market our design required a much longer than average processing time. From start to finish, it takes 20 plus hours of milling to fulfill the design of being ultra lightweight and thin, without sacrificing strength. With this we also created a 3-piece custom silicone layer to protect the phone, rather than using cheap strips of cushioned tape that don’t offer full protection. The cost of the silicone molds alone is equivalent to making tooling for 2 separate iPhone cases.

    With only 2000 pieces being made, our focus was on quality not quantity. This product was never intended to be profitable on our end but instead as an example of our work aesthetic in creating the best product possible. We aimed to make a product without any compromise in design, detail and function. With these conditions being met we believe the price justices the effort we’ve put in this case. We know this isn’t a case for everyone, but we created this without the limitations of cost or profitability looming over us to dictate the best we could offer.

    I hope this answers questions in regard to this review and show you where we as a dedicated and hardworking team are coming from.



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