After 6 generations of iPhones, it’s rare to see unique cases anymore. With 100s of options available, if you’ve seen one, you’ve mostly likely seen them all. That’s why I was surprised to come across the PureGear Retro Game Cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s, an incredibly uniquely designed way to protect your phone. How does it work? Read on for the full review.
PureGear’s Retro Game cases come in 3 different designs: Amazing, Groovy, and Undecided. Each design features not only a different color scheme, but a different retro game embedded into the back of the case that not only functions as part of the design, but as a real, working game as well. The Amazing case features a bright red outer edge and classic bright blue maze on the back. The Groovy case is bright blue around the edge and has a circular green maze with three silver balls to maneuver to the center. Finally, the Undecided case has a bright yellow outer edge and pink back, offering not a maze, but instead a pinball-like plunger which propels the ball to either a “yes” or “no” section after falling through a maze of dots.
Though each one is different, all three of the cases share some common design elements. Around the outside, you’ll find raised buttons for the lock button and volume buttons, along with a cutout for the mute switch. This side also features the PureGear logo, extending towards the bottom of the case. On the bottom is a cutout for the headphone jack and the lightning connector, with additional room for the microphone and speakers. Part of the speaker is obscured by the case, so there are small holes cut in the same configuration as the iPhone’s speaker, in order to let sound through. On the back you’ll find a black-rimmed cutout for the iPhone’s camera and LED flash, and inside the back of the case you’ll find both introductions for the game and the name of the case printed.
The cases are all made of a rigid, yet soft thermoplastic, with a standard transparent plastic back face, in order to view the game. The games themselves are extruded from the back of the case, and really give the design a unique and distinctive look. It adds a real sense of depth you don’t find in a standard case.
I’ve been testing out the Amazing version of the Retro Game case for about 2 weeks at the time of this review, and I’ve been overall very pleased with it. The case hasn’t shown any signs of wear, the clear plastic on the back hasn’t scratched, and the front of the case provides enough lay-on-table design that I haven’t worried about my screen getting cracked. The construction looks and feels very solid, and the colored accents around the edge contrast well with the display of the iPhone. The case really stands out.
One immediate worry I had was that the camera flash cutout had too much depth, and that it would cause glare from the LED flash.Fortunately, I haven’t found any problems, thanks to the black ring around the cutout. I’ve also really enjoyed the games built into the back. Not only do they give your phone a really cool, retro look, they’re fun to play if you get bored. While I found the maze on the back of the Amazing case very easy to finish, the circular design of the Groovy case makes it’s course a lot tougher to pass. You’ll need a pretty steady hand to get all three of the silver balls into the center at the same time. The first day or two I used the case, I was often caught off guard when I’d hear the ball inside the case move around, thinking that something was loose inside my iPhone, but after a little use, you won’t even notice anymore.
Of course, with every pro, there’s a con, and these cases aren’t perfect. The volume and lock buttons are a bit mushy for my taste, and the cutout for the headphone jack is too small in my opinion- you’ll need to use your Apple earbuds with it. This case also adds quite a bit of thickness to your phone, since there is an entire game built into the back. It doesn’t bother me personally, but those who are ultra-conscious of phone thickness might see it as a turnoff. Last, but not least, I found it to be very difficult to remove the case from my phone. The plastic shell is incredibly rigid and snug fitting, and I had a difficult time taking it off when I needed to use a larger headphone connection with my phone. Unless there’s a better way to remove it I haven’t found, it’s quite a chore and requires a lot of pulling on both your phone and the case, something that doesn’t seem good for either. It’s definitely a case you’re going to want to leave on once you put it on.
Although it has its drawbacks, I’m still overall incredibly pleased with the PureGear Retro Game Cases. I plan on using it as my sole case for my iPhone for the foreseeable future. It’s incredibly unique design makes it one of my favorite cases I’ve seen. You can buy either the iPhone 5/5s or iPhone 5c versions of the case for $29.99.
Thanks to the generosity of PureGear, we’re able to giveaway two Retro Game Cases to 9to5Mac readers- one Groovy and one Undecided model. Entering to win is simple. Just leave a comment below on this post with your Twitter @name and the model of case you’d like- Groovy or Undecided (both pictured above), and in 1 week, we’ll randomly select two winners. Make sure you’re following 9to5Mac on Twitter, as we’ll direct message you on Twitter to inform you that you’ve won and to get contact information.