My first iPhone case was the Hornettek Vader iPhone 4 case (see related posts for a link to my review), and I loved it. Its style and lightweight aluminum frame made my phone look great. One of the major flaws with it, however, was that I had to take the case off to use my non-OEM chargers, my L-shaped headphones, or to dock it. Some time has passed since then, and when I saw the Signature Minimalist and Classic cases by Truffol, I really wanted to try one of them with my iPhone 5 due to their unique design that makes them easy to assemble. I was thrilled to receive both cases to review, and wasted no time trying each of them out.
What sets the Truffol cases apart from their competitors is that no tools are needed to install this aluminum case. You simply align each of the legs (shown above) into their respective places and slide the case downwards until it locks into place. On the Minimalist case, I could feel that it locked right away but with the Classic case, I pushed on it for a while but never felt it click into place. After several tries, I realized that it was installed correctly, but it was not as noticeable that it has locked into place.
The quality of the craftsmanship of each case is visible when you first open the package. There are two green boxes that house the case. Each of these boxes holds half of the case, and each has a magnetic lock to keep it closed. There are three parts to these cases: a mute button, the aluminum frame, and either a stainless steel back piece (Minimalist) or a leather back piece (Classic). (A wood back piece will be coming in the future.) A screen protector, which feels similar to the XtremeGuard screen protector on my iPad, is included with each case. Nothing fancy, but it will get the job done.
As you can see above, the main difference between the two cases is the style of the back plates. The Minimalist (in black) is a stainless steel frame that edges around the back of the phone, while the Classic (in red) covers the back of the phone in Italian leather. The frames are so similar that the back plates are interchangeable between the two.
Once installed, the case feels very secure on the phone. The buttons have a good tactile feel to them and I really like the design of the volume buttons. There is a slight lip over the front of the phone to protect the screen in case it falls to the ground with the screen first, and the back plates protect the rear of the phone. It goes without saying that the Classic version of the case has the most protection.
The cutout for the Classic version of the case is well done. Neither the Classic nor the Minimalist case caused problems with the flash.
These cases are a thing of beauty, there is no doubt about it. They feel great in your hand, are lightweight, and the buttons are perfectly done. However, that’s as far as it goes when it comes to this case, as the downsides are truly bothersome. First, the cutouts are so precise for the bottom ports that non-OEM lightning cables will not fit, and sadly, neither will a majority of my headphones. The only headphones that I could fit into the jack were the Apple ear-buds. My Bose iE2′s and my Yurbuds, which have fit every case I have used so far, will not fit, and they have small plugs.
Additionally, something which is a problem many metal cases have is signal degradation. I dropped one to two bars consistently when the case was on. I live in a big city with decent cell coverage so I could deal with that, but the worst part about the signal quality was that it would drop my LTE down to 3G speeds about 75% of the time. The speeds dropped so much that I had to take the case off in order to check Facebook or browse the web.
The lightweight design of these cases, along with the great effort they put into the style, makes me try the case over and over hoping the signal will not go down, because I want to use them so badly. My favorite of the two cases is the Minimalist, just because it fits so well in my pocket. The colors were beautiful; the silver and black aluminum was as nice as the iPhone itself, and the red leather back plate was vivid and pleasing to the eyes. If Truffol can make the cutouts to the ports a little bigger and fix the degradation in the cell and data services, I would recommend these cases, but as they are, I couldn’t recommend either of them.