Tylt is a mobile phone accessory manufacturer established in 2011 that focuses on producing cases and power solutions for many of today’s popular gadgets. Tylt brings unique design to the over-saturated market of cases with their unique shape scheme applied to many of their cases. I recently got my hands on a couple: the SQRD and BUMPR. Hit the jump to find out how they fared.
The SQRD case from Tylt is made from solid TPU material, which is similar to silicone with a little more rigidity. The TPU is also textured in order to provide a better grip. Simply slip your phone in, button side first, and work the rest of the case around to get started with the SQRD.
The front of the case features gratuitous amounts of lay-on-the-table design, ensuring that your screen will be fine if you happen to place it face-down on a surface. One thing worth noting is that the SQRD does just what its name says: make your phone look even more polygonal than before. Frankly, the name SQRD is silly because the iPhone 5 certainly isn’t a square, but, you know, to each his own.
The back of the case features a single cutout for the camera, flash, and noise-canceling microphone. I didn’t experience any flash issues with the case at all. Furthermore, the case features Tylt’s logo embossed on the back. The logo doesn’t look particularly bad, but it’s not quite my style.
The top of the case features a covered sleep/wake button, and unfortunately, this is where the SQRD starts to fall short. While I’m all for covered buttons, they need to be executed well enough that pushing them is a pleasure, and not a chore. Pushing the sleep/wake button with the SQRD on is the latter.
The side of the case features a cutout for the ring/silent switch that’s easy enough to access and covered volume buttons. Interestingly enough, the volume buttons feel eons better than the sleep/wake button. Pushing them isn’t half bad, although there certainly better.
The bottom of the case features a single cutout for the Lightning connector, speaker, microphone, and 3.5mm headphone jack. I didn’t have any problems with any of the headphones I tested with the SQRD.
The SQRD is a decent case. While I’m not a fan of the polygonal lines, I can imagine that some people would like it. Another confusing point is the bad ergonomics of pressing the sleep/wake button while the volume buttons are far more pleasurable. At $9.75 for the black version, or $29.99 for the colored versions, you’d make a safe bet checking out the $20-cheaper black version.
MSRP: $9.75 (black), $29.99 (red, blue, pink, purple)
Pros: TPU provides great protection
Cons: Inconsistency with covered buttons
Next we’ll examine Tylt’s more protective case, the BUMPR. The BUMPR is a two-piece case that features a hybrid polycarbonate/TPU first layer, along with a rigid TPU bumper that surrounds the first layer.
When purchasing the BUMPR, Tylt gives you *two* bumpers, a black one, and a color of your choice. This ensures some customizability that many companies don’t offer. I received the red/black version.
Installing the BUMPR is a little more difficult than the SQRD, but follows the same premise. Put your phone in, button-side first, followed by the protective bumper included. The result is a protective, although bulky, fit.
The BUMPR offers even more lay-on-the-table design than its SQRD counterpart, further ensuring safety when placing your phone face-down on surfaces.
The top of the case features a covered sleep/wake button that’s far better than the SQRD case. Pressing it gives great feedback. Furthermore, it’s *really* easy to press, which is a very good thing.
The side of the case features a single cutout for the ring/vibrate button, along with covered volume buttons. Again, here the covered buttons are executed very nicely and are a pleasure to use.
The back of the BUMPR features a hard polycarbonate backplate to further protection with the Tylt logo embossed in the bottom-right corner. The cutout for the camera, flash, and microphone works well enough and didn’t cause any issues.
The bottom of the case features a single cutout for all the various ports/speakers. While you shouldn’t have any issues with plugging in your Lightning cable, you may run into some problems with the 3.5mm headphone jack, depending on the model of headphones you use. The cutout is *really* deep, so you’ll want to use a pair of headphones with a small plug.
The BUMPR provides great protection, but it’s at the cost of the iPhone’s beautiful slim profile. While it’s not uncomfortable to use, it almost feels as if you’re not using the iPhone in its intended fashion. Using the BUMPR prevented me from being able to use my iPhone 5 one-handed like I normally am able to without a case at all. I suppose this is a tale of many of the cases that put protection first. For $29.99, the BUMPR is a good bargain for those wanting great protection, albeit at the cost of ergonomics, for their iPhone 5.
You can check out both the SQRD and BUMPR on Tylt’s website.
Pros: Great protection, covered buttons respond nicely
Cons: Very bulky