The iPhone 5 is the ultimate smartphone because it does so many things so well. As Speck demonstrates with their collection, cases can have some multipurpose uses of their own.
The SmartFlex View for iPhone 5 is a thin, light, protective case that features a built-in flip-out stand that lets you easily prop your iPhone up in either portrait or landscape orientation.
If you spend a lot of time chatting via FaceTime or or watching videos and other content on your iPhone, the SmartFlex View is an excellent choice. The case’s subtle design is one of its main selling points—at a glance, the case doesn’t look like it has a special, hidden functionality. However, a thin lever concealed on the back of the case holds a retractable stand that pulls down and snaps into place with a reassuring click.
I found that when I anchored the iPhone in portrait orientation, it was steady enough for viewing video or chatting via FaceTime, especially when placed on a flat table top. But once you start tapping and swiping, the SmartFlex View-clad iPhone starts to lose its bearings. Propping it up in landscape orientation gives it more stability.
The SmartFlex cases are somewhat less decorative than Speck’s CandyShell line, so this model comes in a limited array of colors—black, graphite, lavender, and blue. All but the black have a stylish contrasting accent shade on the pull-down handle, making the case very attractive and the handle easy to find, though it would be nice if the product line came in a wider variety of colors. On the black model, the flip pull-out stand is black with a dark gray handle, so it’s a little hard to see.
The case has a flexible construction with a matte rubber exterior that offers somewhat less protection than the stiffer CandyShell models. However, the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are covered with press-through button overlays made of the same substance as the body of the case, which makes them less responsive than the flexible rubber coverings of the CandyShell cases. While the Sleep/Wake switch was not as stiff as on the SmartFlex Card case, it still required more effort than I liked.
If you need a combination iPhone stand and case, the SmartFlex View offers a fine combination of asthetics and functionality for a reasonable price. It’s cool color combinations and flip-out stand offer both protection and all-in-one viewing.