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SPIGEN SGP Illuzion iPhone 5 Leather Wallet Case review

When SPIGEN SGP sent along some iPhone 5 cases to The Gadgeteer, they included the Illuzion iPhone 5 Leather Case.  This is a book-style cover with some room inside for a couple of cards or some folded currency.  It also has a feature I personally have never seen in this style case before.  Let’s give it a look.

All images in this review can be clicked for a larger view.

The Illuzion case is made of a faux leather.  (I don’t smell any overwhelming petrochemical smells with these cases.)  It has a striated texture, called woodgrain by SPIGEN, that reminds me of the Epi leather used for some Louis Vuitton bags.  I really like this texture.  I was sent a couple of the Illuzion cases.  Here you see the back of the Lemon Indigo case.  The case has a closure tab with a non-magnetic snap.  I usually prefer magnetic snaps because they close without needing a lot of pressure (on the glass screen below), but I imagine the magnets might cause damage to cards that you store inside the wallet.

Both the front and back of the case have a cutout area near the top.  The back has a camera cutout, and the front has a cutout we’ll discuss later.  You can see both the front and back have been embossed with SPIGEN logos.

Here you see why this case is called Lemon Indigo.  The interior lining has a slightly rubbery feel, and it is covered in a repeating diamond pattern.  The front has two pockets inside that can hold a couple of IDs or credit cards or even some folded currency.  Unlike some of these wallet-style cases, the panel with the pockets is sewn down;  you can’t slide anything under there for a little extra storage.

There’s a matte polycarbonate snap-on back cover that holds the iPhone 5.  The Illuzion weighs 1.4 ounces, and it measures 5″ long X 3.75″ wide X 0.75″ thick.  Width and thickness were measured at the closure strap.  It’s definitely going to add to bulk to the sleek iPhone 5.  This back cover seems to be the Ultra Thin Air iPhone 5 case that is reviewed separately.

I was also sent the Illuzion in Mandarine Black.  The colors look striking together, but the case does look like something I’d carry mostly around Halloween.  The case is also available in Mandarine Rosa (hot pink with orange interior) and Golden Mocha (bright yellow with brown interior).

The stitching is even and straight.  Color-matched threads are used in the construction.

Here you can see the front cutout is centered around the iPhone 5’s front speaker.  Book-style cases like this can be hard to hold to your ear while talking on the phone because the front cover just flops around unless you fold it completely back.  This also leaves any cards you have in there exposed; I’m always nervous that my cards will somehow fall out of these cases.  (I lost my purse with everything in it years ago, and I’m still paranoid.)  You have to open the case to answer the call, then close it back up before you start talking if you use it this way.

Something to consider if you decide to talk through the closed cover:  all that oil and smudging that ends up on your iPhone’s screen will now build up on the case.  Luckily, the case is made of faux leather, so it will be easier to clean than real leather would.

It’s easier to see in the interior picture, above, but the camera opening has a matte black plastic surround.  I imagine this surround is to prevent flash flare.  I didn’t have any problems taking pictures with the iPhone 5 in this case.

The polycarbonate back cover fits the iPhone 5 just as the Ultra Thin Air case does and leaves much of the top uncovered.  The sleep/wake button is easy to use.

The bottom leaves the headphone jack, Lightning connector, and the grills for the bottom microphone and speaker open.

The mute slider and the volume buttons can only be accessed when you open the front cover.  They are easily used in the thin polycarbonate back cover.

Just like with the SPIGEN SGP Ultra Thin Air case, the polycarbonate case only just covers the chamfered edge of the metal sides.  The glass is left completely unprotected by the back cover, but this isn’t such a problem in the Illuzion because of the sturdy front cover.

The Illuzion iPhone 5 Leather Wallet Case combines a minimal wallet with a protective iPhone 5 case.  If you like book-style phone cases, you may find the Illuzion is even easier to use than other brands because it has the front speaker opening that lets you talk on the phone while the case is closed.

 

Product Information

Price:$32.99
Manufacturer:SPIGEN SGP
Retailer:SPIGEN SGP
Requirements:
  • iPhone 5
Pros:
  • Attractive color combinations
  • Well made
  • Case has a unique "talk through" feature
  • Can hold a couple of cards or currency inside
Cons:
  • Non-magnetic snap closure

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Mike December 17, 2012, 11:17 am

    This is a huge deal – having the hole in the front so you can take a call w/o having to fold the flap back.

    It’s just starting to surface in reviews of similar cases that don’t have this feature – specifically the Book Book for the iPhone 5 – but one of the redesigns of the 5 is causing problems for users of this type of case.

    There are 2 mics on the iPhone – the one you speak into and a second one which is used for speakerphones, video recording and – when making a normal phone call – it is used to sample the ambient noise and make adjustments so you can be in a loud room and still make a good call. There is even a commercial Apple is running – to highlight this feature (it features a small orchestra)

    This 2nd mic used to be on the top of the 4 and 4s – by the headset plugin. Basically looks like a pinhole in the phone. It has been moved to the back of the iPhone 5 – between the camera lens and the flash.

    What all this means is – when using a traditional book type case, where you fold the flap back to make a call – when you do this on the 5 – you block that mic and your call quality is HORRIBLE.

    You can test this by putting your finger over that second mic and making a call – its a horrible call.

    Leaving a small space when you fold the flap back helps – but the reality is – as cool as these cases are – with the movement of the mic – it really complicates things.

    Clearly Spigen either knows something they aren’t admitting to – or inadvertently made a case that’s a lot more useful then they intended.

  • Janet Cloninger December 17, 2012, 11:50 am

    @Mike Actually, the iPhone 5 doesn’t have 2 microphones. It has three. There’s one located near the iPhone 5’s “ear speaker” on the front, one between the back camera and flash as you mentioned, and the third one is at the bottom, near the phone’s “mouthpiece.” Apple showed the general locations of these microphones in the keynote address when the iPhone 5 was announced. Depending on just where the front microphone is located, the Spigen may cover it up when you use the phone with the front cover closed.

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