REVIEWED: Tech21 Impact Band for iPhone 5

A shock-absorber for iPhone 5, but it’s not even pocket-proof

Buy the Tech21 Impact Band
Price at time of review: £19.95

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Subtle (ish) protection for an iPhone 5. If you liked Apple’s own wraparound bumper for the iPhone 4S and morn its no-show for the iPhone 5, this beefed-up version from Tech 21 claims simple drop-proofing thanks to its own ‘Impactology’. The band contains D3O, a known shock-absorbing material used by many brands in laptop bags and the like.

Gaps in the market

The Tech21 Impact Band is not intended for active outdoors use, and it struggles even in everyday urban use. Small gaps in the band itself – particularly one that allows access to the headphones jack, Apple Lightning connector and speakers – threaten the overall stability of the Impact Band. Unfortunately the band can sometimes fall off the phone while in your pocket.

Lacks a screen protector

The Tech21 Impact Band adds around half a centimetre to the footprint of an iPhone 5, and it’s this lip that prevents the screen from coming into contact with the floor if the phone is dropped. However, that only applies to flat surfaces; the lack of a screen protector means that if dropped on a gravel path, or even a pavement, a scratched screen could easily result.

Optional backplate

Fitting the Tech21 Impact Band is easy, and we recommend you use the optional backplate. That lends some much-needed sturdiness, while leaving a small cutout gap for the back-facing camera. The Tech21 Impact Band adds a sturdy edge to the iPhone 5, though its less than snug fit didn’t give us much confidence. It works fine if you drop a phone on a table or a carpeted floor, which is probably enough to make it of some use to the average traveller.

Flimsy undercarriage

The feel of the Impact Band makes it easy to grip, it’s easy to fit, and it’s cheap. However, it’s flimsy undercarriage meant that the Impact Band fell off the phone in our pocket a few times. The cover-over on the iPhone 5’s on/off switch isn’t sensitive enough. There are better iPhone 5 cases around.