Speck’s PixelSkin HD For iPhone 5: Quite Possibly The Best TPU Case There Is [Review]

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Look at all those
Look at all those "pixels."

The Speck PixelSkin HD is a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) case that’s designed to give you “slim and smooth” protection for your iPhone 5, while offering “grippyness [sic] with high-contrast matte pixels.”

Its raised bezel aims to keep your iPhone’s display free from scuffs and scratches should you drop it on its face, while the rubberized covers for the volume keys and sleep/wake button prevent fluff and grime from gathering within nooks and crannies.

The PixelSkin HD comes in a variety of colors — including red, purple, blue, black, and grey, and it’s priced at just under $30. The PixelSkin HD was one of my favorite “simple” cases for iPhone 4S, so will it retain that status for the iPhone 5?

The Good

I’ve said this before about Speck products, and I’ll say it again: the build quality of this case is fantastic. This isn’t like the $3 TPU cases you find on eBay with the Speck logo etched in. It’s strong and robust, and it fits the iPhone 5 beautifully.

It’s slightly bulkier than the Belkin Grip Sheer I reviewed a couple weeks ago. But it does look much nicer, and because of its matte finish, it doesn’t attract fingerprints and smudges like the Grip Sheer does. It’s a little more flexible, too, so it’s easier to apply and remove.

It also provides you with better grip, and means your iPhone is less likely to slip out of your hands when you remove it from your pocket. It also provides protection for your speaker and microphone— unlike the Grip Sheer — so pocket fluff and lint doesn’t get stuck in the tiny holes.

The PixelSkin HD sticks out just enough at the front to protect your iPhone’s display, but not too much so that it gets in your way while you’re typing or playing games. It also covers the volume keys and sleep/wake button, but the buttons are still easy to press through the TPU.

Finally, the PixelSkin provides plenty of room for your iPhone 5’s rear-facing camera, so that the flash doesn’t rebound into the lens and ruin your photographs.

The Bad

It’s hard to pick fault with the PixelSkin HD, to be honest. But there is one thing I will say about it that’s been a frustration for me: There isn’t quite enough room around the mute switch to comfortably get your finger inside. It’s okay if you have longer nails, but I don’t, and so it wasn’t easy to toggle the mute switch on and off.

The Verdict

As far as simple TPU cases go, the PixelSkin HD from Speck has to be one of the best — as I had expected from using the iPhone 4S version. It’s build quality is terrific, it looks good, and like I said above, it’s hard to pick fault with it.

At $30, it’s not the cheapest TPU case you’ll find for your iPhone 5, but it’s from a brand you can trust, and it includes a one-year warranty. The PixelSkin HD is certainly a case you should take a look at for your new iPhone.

[xrr rating = 90%]