I arrived into the office on Friday 21st Sept (launch day) to find a 64GB Black iPhone 5 waiting for me. I was still using an iPhone 4, I skipped the 4S, so after 2 years of iPhone 4 use I thought I would treat myself to a new one.
This isn’t a review of the iPhone 5, there are plenty of those around so I’m not going to rehash what everybody else has said although I will add one criticism and that’s about the battery life. It sucks. Yes the iPhone 5 has 225hrs standby, so that’s 25 hours more than the iPhone 4S but remember I’m coming from an iPhone 4 which had 300hrs standy so I’ve effectively lost 75hrs standby. Other than that, the build quality and design of the new iPhone 5 are fantastic, it feels great in the hand, it’s disturbingly thin and light yes feels much more rugged than the glass backed iPhone 4 and 4S.
The last thing I wanted to do with my ultra thin iPhone 5 was plonk it into an ugly and bulky iPhone 5 case and lose the benefit of the slimmer design. If you’ve read my previous review of the super slim Elago S4 Breath iPhone 4 case you’ll know that I hate iPhone cases and if I do need to use one I’ll use the thinnest one I can possibly find.
I decided to use the iPhone 5 with no case for a few weeks to see how I got on. After 3 weeks, half of which was spent on holiday in Florida on theme park rides, air-boats skydiving, segwaying, on beaches, etc I’m still happy using the phone without a case but I felt I needed just a little something on the rear for extra grip. I don’t drop my tech, I take good care of it and as such I’ve never felt the need to buy an iPhone case for drop protection reasons. With the iPhone 4 I needed a case because of the well documented antenna issues but with the iPhone 5, Apple have resolved those issues and you no longer need a bumper or to hold your phone a certain way in order to get a signal.
I thought I’d give the gorgeous BOOKback from DODOCASE a try on the iPhone 5. A friend (@alexblackburn) recently showed me his iPad with a DODOCASE BOOKback stuck on the rear and I fell in love with the simplicity and tactile feel but my God the DODOCASE brand is near impossible to source in the UK. So when my local Apple reseller (MCC Chester) told me they were becoming a UK stockist of DODOCASEs I raced down there and picked up a BOOKback for my iPhone 5.
The BOOKback for the iPhone 5 only costs £10 which I personally think is quite cheap even though you don’t get much actual hardware for your money. Effectively this is just a sticker for the rear of your iPhone 5 but it’s perfectly cut, and I mean perfectly, to the exact size of the rear of the iPhone so when it’s fitted correctly it’s like it came out the factory with it on. However, the fact that it’s perfectly cut to the exact size of the iphone back means that there is no room for error or mis-alignment when fitting it. Even if you are 0.5mm out with your alignment when fitting it you’re going to end up disappointed.
The BOOKback texture is kind of leatherette meets luxurious textured paper but it doesn’t mark or scratch easily and offers much more grip than the aluminium back of the iPhone 5 but only adds about 0.1mm thickness to the phone if that.
Fitting shouldn’t be rushed but is fairly trivial if done correctly. First you need to clean the rear of your iPhone to remove any greasy finger marks and dust that would reduce the adhesion of the BOOKback.
Peel back about 3cm of the backing from the bottom of the BOOKback then simply place the it on the rear and line up the edges and the top accurately being careful not to let the exposed glue at the bottom touch the phone yet. Now press hard at the top near the camera to keep the BOOKback precisely lined up, get a friend to help if necessary, whilst you gently press the bottom edge against the phone.
Once you are happy that it is all still lined up you can released the pressure at the top and continue to peel the backing off whilst pressing the sticky back onto the iPhone. See, that was easy wasn’t it.
Having seen how well the BOOKback has weathered on the back of my friend’s iPad I’m hoping this iPhone BOOKback is still going to look good 6 months down the road but I’ll update this post with photos in a few months so you can see for yourself. It has to be remembered that an iPhone is subject to much more day to day use, slipped in and out of pockets 10’s or 100’s of times a day, thrown onto tables and bars, sometimes placed onto damp table tops where drink condensation has pooled, etc so there is potential for the BOOKback to look awful in just a few weeks but we’ll have to wait and see.
If you are clumsy and drop your phone do not get a BOOKback, instead look at some more conventional iPhone 5 hard cases. If you are careful with your tech and want a sleek, impossibly thin backing on your iPhone 5 that gives you a nice tactile grippy surface then invest £10 in a DODOCASE BOOKback, I guarantee* you’ll love it!
* if you don’t then leave a comment below chastising me. It won’t get your £10 back but it will make you feel better.