When I got my first iPhone, the iPhone 4, I put Apple’s Bumper case on it as soon as I took the phone from the box. I really liked that minimal case, and I used it for many months. I finally replaced it with a case that also protected the back of the phone, but I always missed that little band of color around my phone. Apparently not everyone liked the Bumper, and it wasn’t really needed any longer after Antennagate, so Apple didn’t issue a Bumper for the iPhone 5. id America does have a bumper-style case, and they also have a skin that can be used with it to protect the reportedly easy-to-scratch aluminum back (Scratchgate). I was selected to give both the Cushi Band and the Cushi Original 3D Padded Skin for the iPhone 5. Let’s take a closer look.
The Cushi Band does look much like the official Apple Bumper. id America says it’s made with a dual-injection molding, and it has a hard polycarbonate band with flexible TPE front and back edging. The flexible edges make it much easier to fit over the iPhone than hard covers. The Band has metal buttons over the iPhone 5′s sleep/wake button and the two volume buttons.
This case is available in two styles and in a variety of colors. One style has a clear band of polycarbonate with colored TPE front and back; the other has a colored band of polycarbonate that matches the color of the TPE. I asked for the pink solid-colored Band. It’s also available in black, light blue, green, navy, purple and white. The clear-banded version is available with a variety of TPE colors, too.
The volume controls are covered by the metal buttons, and they work well. The opening for the Mute slider is deep enough that you won’t accidentally move the slider, but you can easily get your finger in to change the setting. There’s a Cushi Band logo screened on this side of the case.
The bottom has openings for the speaker, bottom microphone, Lightning connector, and the headphone jack. The case didn’t interfere with sound quality of calls or music. It was easy to plug in the Lightning connector and my headphones.
I really like the Cushi Band, and I could see myself happily using it with my iPhone 5, just as I did the Apple Bumper with my iPhone 4. I like the pop of color it gives my white phone, and I like that it does offer a bit of scratch protection while adding minimal weight and bulk.
Cushi Original 3D Padded Skin
The Cushi Original 3D Padded Skin is made of some sort of rubbery material that has been molded with a colorful a 3D design. There are several designs available, and I chose the Artsy. The skin also comes with a set of Home button covers, microfiber cleaning cloth, a clear screen protector, and a squeegee. The squeegee is used to apply the clear screen protector.
The Cushi has a strong petrochemical odor when you first open the package. Hopefully it will completely dissipate in a few more days. The skin is definitely 3D, and it reminds me of a puffy, overstuffed quilt. It’s soft to the touch, but it feels pretty sturdy.
The skin has a cutout for the iPhone 5′s back camera, flash, and microphone. Installation is easy, and it doesn’t require any moisture. You just line up the top and the camera opening, then press the skin along the back of the iPhone. Luckily the skin is repositionable, because it took me a couple of tries to get it on straight. As a matter of fact, id America says you can remove the skin and reuse it later. I didn’t see any sticky residue left behind as I was repositioning the skin for a better fit.
You can see that the skin doesn’t cover every millimeter of the back, and you can also see a flat edging around the skin. This is to accommodate the Cushi Band’s TPE edges. You can see the id America logo at the top right of the photo. The opening is big enough that I didn’t have any problems using the camera and its flash.
I really love the Artsy design. It makes me happy.
I also installed one of the 3D Home button covers. I wasn’t sure I’d like these covers, because I’m used to finding the Home button by feeling for the depression. I do like them; the raised button is perhaps even easier to find than the depression. The cover doesn’t interfere with using the Home button. There were six designs to choose from, and I started with the one that adds the least amount of color to the front of the phone.
I also applied the clear screen protector. If you enlarge the above photo, you can see a bit of dust trapped under the protector near the upper left corner of the white bezel. The screen protector is also a dry application, which I really prefer. I don’t like having liquid near my phone at all. It was easy enough to apply, but I did get some trapped bits of dust. That’s because I live in a very dusty house, and I can never seem to completely remove the dust. The screen protector is crystal clear, and I had no air bubbles other than those caused by the trapped dust. The screen protector doesn’t degrade the clarity of the Retina display, and it’s slick as a ribbon. It doesn’t interfere with sliding, pinching, or tapping on the touch screen. It also is a bit more fingerprint-resistant than the iPhone 5′s naked screen.
The clear screen protector has cutouts for the Home button, the front camera, ambient light sensor, and the phone’s ear speaker. I usually have a lot of trouble lining up skins, but this one went on pretty easily and the openings lined up properly.
Band and Skin Together
Here you see the Cushi Band and the Cushi Original 3D Padded Skin on my iPhone 5. I was afraid putting the Band on would cause the edges of the padded back cover or the screen protector to curl up, but it didn’t. The TPE edges cover the edges of the front and back skins, and this should keep them from peeling up during daily use.
I had been using a clear hardshell back cover with my phone, and I liked it a lot. However, I think I’ll be using the Cushi cases for the foreseeable future. I love the color it adds to the front of my phone, just like the Apple Bumper did with my iPhone 4. Although I don’t get to see the back of my iPhone 5 now, I won’t have to worry about scratching it. And I do love the color and design of the padded skin. I like that the white background matches my white phone, and the design and puffiness reminds me of the art quilts that I admire but could never make.
If you want a fun, colorful, protective case for your iPhone 5, you can’t go wrong with the id America Cushi Band and Cushi Original 3D Padded Skin.