Thursday, August 15, 2013

Zero Chroma VarioProtect 5 - Review


Out of the box this case looks great.  There are subtle ridges on each side to conform to left- or right-handed gripping, and in the design these indentations stop short of the face for a seamless look from the front.  A nickel-sized indentation on the back in the middle seems to be for index finger placement.  The case gets thicker at the bottom to accommodate the stand rather than making the whole thing the same thickness.  The stand collapses flush and is visually unobtrusive.

Someone knew what they were doing when they designed for grip.  The 4 indentations on each side fit comfortably no matter how you hold your phone.  The indent in the back was well positioned as a natural place to fit your index finger when talking on the phone.  This case covers the volume and power buttons to cover phone almost completely.  The only side openings in the case are at the mute toggle switch, one for each speaker (the left one shares the headphone jack), and one for the Lightning adapter port.  Overall, this case fits well and feels good in your hand.

This is one of the coolest and well-designed features of any case I have ever owned.  The stand rotates 360 degrees and has 11 different “locking” positions for angle adjustment.  The latter provides the ability to view the phone from any position on nearly any surface at just the right angle.  As one would expect, when the phone is in the “vertical/upright” position it can get a little tippy so you can’t use all 11 positions.  Since this is really designed for viewing in the widescreen position that isn’t critical.  Just a great stand.

Unfortunately, there are two flaws that made me give up on this case after a few days.  The less serious of the two is the sensitivity of the lock button.  It seemed like every time I picked up the case it would lock the screen.  I tend to grab my phone the long way, and if I applied even the smallest amount of pressure it would close up on me.  This was especially annoying when watching a movie as it stops playback.

What ended my love-affair with this case was the serious design flaw with the Lightning connector; the case opening is not wide enough to fit 30-pin-Lightning adapter.  I use my old 30-pins extensively and move my adapter as necessary.  This includes my USB connections in the car and my charger at work.  The only way to use the adapter is to remove the phone from the case.  This should never have to happen, and it is disappointing that after all the thought that seemed to go into designing the case this little detail was over-looked.

If you are an Apple product user who only owns or uses the Lightning cable made for the iPhone 5/iPad mini then get this case.  If you use the Lightning adapter this case is to be avoided.  No case should have to be removed as a part of normal use.  Add to that the lock button sensitivity and you have a case that falls short.  After experiencing all the positives this case has to offer I could not have been more disappointed.


  1. I love this product. It makes it so much easier to use my phone when you just don't want to keep holding it in your hands.