Incipio’s latest take on their long running DualPro line of cases is the CF model. The case features a silicone core for drop protection and a polycarbonate shell with a classy carbon fibre finish. The case is designed to survive everyday drops and spills without being too bulky. The DualPro CF is compatible with the original iPhone 5 and the new iPhone 5s. It is available in black and gray or silver and black finish.
The box containing the case is very user friendly compared to the dreaded sharp as knives packaging often seen on shelves these days. Incipio uses lots of rounded edges and a tuna can style design to save the fingers. In the package is the silicone core, the Plextonium shell, a screen protector, a cleaning cloth, a screen protector application card, and a plastic kickstand that easily fits in a wallet. The screen protector is of decent quality considering it is a free pack in. Installing the Incipio DualPro CF is extremely easy. Simply install the screen protector first, slip on the silicone core, then snap in the shell. Everything fits perfectly and can be removed quickly. The case will not come apart with use and the silicone core does not stretch out of place when installing the shell.
The silicone core slides over the iPhone 5/5s with just enough give. It would be next to impossible to overstretch the silicone core while installing the phone. It is thick enough to provide good protection against every day drops from counter tops, tables, pockets, and bags. The silicone is cut generously to cover as much of the phone as possible. Beside the space for the screen there is a cut out for the mute switch on the side of the silicone and three holes on the bottom for the speaker, microphone, and headphone port. The buttons are replicated nicely on the silicone core which allows easy manipulation of the button while the phone is in a bag or pocket.
The silicone extends to the front of the phone and provides approximately a centimeter of coverage on the top and bottom of the front face of the phone. The extra coverage will lift the phone clear off tables when resting the iPhone 5 screen down. This should spare screen protectors from unnecessary abuse on dirty tables.
The camera hole is well sized. It is large enough to not interfere with the camera’s flash. For those using iOS 7’s new accessible flashlight button, the case will marginally affect the outer edges of the overspill, the portion of the light away from the main light beam. In actual use, the difference is negligible.
Compared to previous versions of the DualPro for the iPhone 5, the cut out for the headphone port is much smaller. The original iteration was capable of handling all but the largest of audio cables designed for home audio systems. My largest headphone plug, the stock cable that are included with the Shure 215SE, was able to fit in the DualPro CF’s headphone port with a little bit of stretching of the silicone. The generous sizing of the silicone core means the case does have a bit of room to stretch to accommodate larger cables. However, you will run the risk that the stretched silicone will pop the headphone plug out of place. Luckily, the average headphone cable should be able to fit without any stretching.
The polycarbonate portion of the case is advertised as Incipio’s “Plextonium” material. It is a proprietary blend of polycarbonate that advertises better drop and scratch protection compared to regular polycarbonate. Unfortunately, I lack both the technical skills and the laboratory to test this claim in a scientific manner. However, in my experience, the Plextonium shell has held up very well in daily use. The phone has been jostled around in backpacks, unceremoniously dumped into TSA screening bins with keys and other bits of metal, and dropped a few times on accident. There are some faint scuffs and scratches on the sides of the shell, but that is it.
The back of the polycarbonate shell has a carbon fibre finish. I do not believe it is real carbon fibre, but it gives the phone a subtle but classy finish. Surprisingly, the back seems to have held up better against scratches and scuffs compared to the sides of the phone.
The two piece design of the DualPro CF makes it resistant to drops. The silicone is especially thick near the bottom and top of the case. Unfortunately, the CF’s silicone core is a little thin on the corners of the case in comparison to the tops and bottoms as the Plextonium shell needs somewhere to latch onto.
Compared to the original DualPro’s slightly rubbery surface, the CF version has a slick finish. The carbon fibre finish does give a little bit of texture, but it is not much. The trade-off compared to the original DualPro is that the DualPro CF will slide out of pockets or across desks easier. The case is thin enough to slip into most pant pockets except the front pocket of tight skinny jeans. On the other hand, the CF version will be a bit harder to grip compared to the original DualPro. The DualPro CF does not add too much bulk to the phone as it adds only 5.1mm of depth and 1.3 ounces to the already light iPhone 5/5s. Based on the case size, I believe the DualPro CF strikes an excellent balance between bulk and protection.
Incipio advertises the materials in the DualPro CF case as radio transparent. Although I cannot properly test this in a scientific manner, I did not notice any loss in reception with the case applied.
The Incipio DualPro CF takes the already excellent DualPro case and provides a new aesthetic for those looking for an extra flair compared to the original case. However, the carbon fibre look will set buyers back an extra $5.00. Personally, I find it a hefty sum for the carbon fibre finish. I feel the price point of the original DualPro is a much better value. However, the DualPro CF is still an excellent option for those looking for a durable and protective case for general use.
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