Spigen Neo Hybrid Slim Slate Review: Tragic Flaws Abound

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Radiating, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Radiating, Dec 24, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012

    Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    First off photos (shown with Green Onions Oleophobic SP, and generic home button protection film):






    If you want a dark grey case that has a very elegant look you could get this one, but instead you should get the power support iPhone 5 bumper, it's the same price, higher quality and has fewer flaws:


    Let me start off by saying that this is a very good quality case. The missing link seems to have been it's functional and stylistic design, not it's engineering.

    Tragic flaw #1: The Audio Jack

    While this is a very good quality case, the audio jack seems to have been designed by someone who has never used an audio cable. I own 23 different 3.5mm low medium and high grade audio cables ranging from $2 to $90 in price. Not a single one of them fit into the audio port.

    I also own 15 different IEMs, headphones and of coure the Apple Ear Pods, the only headphones that fit the audio jack are the Apple Ear Pods, which most listners will want to replace.

    This issue is really a direct consequence of the case being unessesarily thick and wide, which I'll get to later. The caze thin edge by comparison, which I would say is it's other main competitor and all 40+ other bumpers I've tried all fit at least 90% of my audio cables if not more.

    Tragic flaw #2: Slate


    Simply put it's not slate, it's too dark, unsturated, and not metalic enough. It LOOKS like you have a dark grey bumper, it just plain does not looks like the rest of the phone.

    They should have added a lot more metalic material to the paint and added some pearlecent blue.

    Tragic flaw #3: Thickness

    One would expect the Neo Hybrid EX Slim to be slim, instead it has reduced depth but is very very fat. In fact this is one of the thickest cases I have ever seen, measuring in at 2.5mm.

    When manufacturers are advertising cases that are 0.5mm thin, and most bumpers being half as thick as the Neo Hybrid Slim, something is wrong. The case is 1/3rd the thickness of the phone itself (it's 7.6mm)!

    This is also the reason why all other cases have a working audio jack and this one does not.

    This case as a result of the thickness also has the most difficult to use vibrate toggle I have ever seen.

    The thickness is completely pointless, it provides no additional protection because it's only around the middle 70% of the band. The rest of the phone, top, bottom, and all corners and edges are 1mm thick. The phone will strike the rubber when it's dropped on an edge, and will never fall perfectly flat. I've dropped the phone a dozen times with this case by accident and it has never once hit in a position that made use of the overly thick mid-band.

    This case could have easily been 1.5mm thin with smarter design. It should not have 1mm-1.5mm thick rubber all around, but instead there should be only a very thin layer of rubber in the area of the mid-band. 1mm of high impact plastic will protect that area as well as 1.5mm of rubber in the other areas.

    Tragic flaw #4: Muffled Speaker Grille

    The iPhone 5 made an amazing upgrade to external speaker. The Spigen Neo Hybrid EX Slim is the only case I know of that completely ruins the sound quality.

    Because the inside layer of rubber just has 1 big square hollow cavity around the speakers and the outside plastic has a set of thin slots, the sound exits the speaker holes, expands in a wave in the hollow area and then hits the underside of the slots. This gives the speakers a muffled sound which is deterimental to the sound quality.

    The rubber band should not have been hollow around the speakers and should have had slots cut for the speakers matching the plastic to prevent the sound waves from bouncing back to their source in hollow chamber.

    Tragic flaw #5: Rubber Texture

    Simply put the rubber is very matte, other bumpers use more glossy rubber which better matches the phone. The iPhone 5 uses two colors, matte slate, and gloss black. Adding matte black rubber into the mix is an eyesore.

    Tragic flaw #6: Non-Color Matched Buttons to save costs

    Spigen tried to minimize costs by making a standardized back rubber band with grey buttons. This really does not look good and the grey buttons are an eyesore.

    The buttons should have had tiny plastic inserts or have been painted slate, they stick out like a sore thumb from a considerable distance and cheapen the design.

    Tragic flaw #7: The logo

    The logo is obnoxiously huge and ruins the sleek lines of the design. It should have been a third of the size, or not there at all.

    Tragic flaw #8: The included Back Protector

    Spigen includes it's broken dual fine protector. This is simply a square protector cut out of their standard fine material with no quality control or forethought. It lifts around the Apple logo, I have installed 5 of these back protectors so far both with wet, alcohol, soap and dry instalations. In every single last situation is lifted around the Apple logo.

    This was a cheap and dirty design that is fundamentally broken and needs to be discontinued.

    By contrast Spigen's Soft Matte back is the BEST backing I have ever used for the iPhone 5, it is flawless and does not lift around the logo. I hand cut it into a 3 peice design and I think the dual fine square back should be replaced with a soft square back.

    Protection in it's Class: 10/10

    The bumper is tight and countoured to the band which means drop forces will be evenly distributed unlike uncontoured bands which rely only pressure and only make contact with the phone on it's thin edges. The rubber is stiff enough to be protective, and the plastic around the band is very durable, resisting severe scratches even after brushing up against concrete.

    Function: 3/10

    The audio jack issue just can't be ignored, and was one of the defining flaws of this case.

    On the plus side, the case has a rubber band which means that it will stay firmly gripped to your hand, or when laying on a table, and won't slide out of a pocket.

    The case is thin, a little thicker on the back, and has a nice feel in your hand.

    The buttons are also perfectly usable by any person and I have big fingers. They are perfectly responsive due to the high quality engineering.

    The vibrate switch on the other hand is very hard to use, and can only be used by someone with decent sized finger nails due to the unessesarily thick case. No fingernails means you cannot operate which is unlike most other cases.

    The case will not work with the 30 pin to lightning adaptor cable or many third party lightning cables.

    The included matte back protector cannot be installed properly and lay flat.

    The screen protector is the great ultra crystal one, which is one of my top favorites out of the 20 or so I've tried.

    The external speaker sound quality is reduced as noted above.

    Design: 7/10

    There's a lot to complain about with the design, it's too thick, it's not the right color, none of the colors match, the logo is too big, the buttons aren't color matched and look super cheap, but in the end it's a nice clean design that above all looks elegant. There are very very very few bumpers that are both thin and elegant so that must be taken into consideration.

    Overall: 6/10

    If you've seen my other threads you know I'm absurdly picky. I've purchased over 60 different cases, and have a lot of criticism for all of them. In the end though like I said this is one of a very small number of elegant minimalist and thin cases out there. However, like I also said if you want a thin dark grey case, get the powersupport iPhone 5 bumper. This is a $40 shipped case and I also feel that for that price they could have done better.

    The power support bumper is better in every measurable and conceivable way. Is the same price (note, it's not released in the US yet), and solves ALL of the tragic flaws of this case except for it's color, which would be virtually identical between the two - not having the same metalic pearlecent look of the iPhone 5's real slate color. The PS bumper is just a better dark grey elegant thin bumper.

    My only suggestion to Spigen would be to make a revised Neo Hybrid EX Feather, which solves all the tragic flaws listed above.

    Hope that was helpful.
  2. erayser macrumors 65816


    Apr 9, 2011
    San Diego
    Thanks for the pics of the bottom and top of the bumper. I couldn't find any pics on spigen's site. Very discouraged about the muffled sound. I was planning to get the red version... but I'll keep my cheap temp case on it for now. If power support makes the PS bumper available in the U.S., then I'll be ordering one of those.
  3. Chuck-Norris macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2012
    whats ur opinion on the sgp slim armor? if u havent triedit what are ur initial impressions?
  4. Radiating thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    It's ridiculously thick. I've heard a lot of complaints about it.
  5. Ring Leader macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2012
    First off thanks for the great extensive review! Im not trying to start an argument but just giving my personal opinion. I think to say that these are TRAGIC flaws are a little exaggerated. I recently did a review on the nhex slim as well but mine was the yellow one. In regards to your review I would have to say i disagree with all of your points except for #1 and #2.

    #1) I COMPLETELY agree. Wish the headphone jack was larger to accommodate more headphones

    #2) No comment since I dont have the slate

    #3) You have some really detailed numbers but all i know is, is that it feels great in my hand and its definitely slimmer then the original. Maybe it could have been made thinner somehow but any thinner and you'd be losing a lot of drop protection. But this is really personal preference

    #4) This once i tested extensively because I thought maybe i had missed something while using the case but after repeatedly playing the same track over and over with the case on and off I couldnt tell a difference in the sound quality. To say it completely ruins the sound is a clear exaggeration.

    #5)I say that it gives it nice grip. if it was made with some glossy material it would eventually start peeling and look ugly.

    #6)I think the buttons are really responsive and feel great to press. color wise, mine has a darker grey color and it looks nice but i can see from press shots that other ones have a lighter gray which i think is ugly.

    #7) Does not ruin the whole design. its etched into the frame so its not really that noticeable. I'd agree if it was a different color but its not

    #8) ALL dry application covers will have the lift because apple logo is raised on the back. Its just more obvious on the black because..well its black

    So there is my rebuttal to your your points. overall you give it a 6 and point out pros but you were so adamant about these "flaws" that i had to give my 2 cents because I have not experienced these issues.
  6. ThunderApple macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    I personally love this bumper and ends my hunt for the best bumper. I don't understand how you have 15 IEM and yet only the Apple one fits. I own Beats, Senn Overhead, Senn IE8, and Apple headphones and they ALL fit. Can even provide pictures to even prove it. Yes, most likely some don't work but I don't get how all 15 of your IEM don't fit besides Apple ones.

    Anyways there are a couple of flaws but to each of their own. I personally love this bumper, you CAN'T make a double layer bumper any thinner than it is without making the rubber or plastic too thin. At that point it would make the case not even fit it's purpose of protecting the phone.
  7. Chuck-Norris macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2012
    well otterboxes are thicker :p

    what are these "complaints"
  8. lookn4wifi macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2012
    I own the Neo Hybrid Ex. Is there a noticable difference between that one and the slim version. When I see pics of the slim I can't really see a difference.

    My third party headphone jacks don't fit mine either, but that aside, I like the case/bumper.
  9. ThunderApple macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    It is. You know that awkward edge you feel when holding the original Neo Hybrid? That's grone. The rubber edge on the back is now the same height as the front, which it should have been in the first place, making it feel not awkward in the hands.
  10. kampongkid macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2012
    power support said they have no plans of releasing the bumper in the states, but we'll see how that plays out. it set me back $69 to ship it from japan.

    how are you so sure if fixes all the issues you mentioned? have you had one on hand to test? anyway, i hope you're right because the audio jack is one of my concerns.
  11. Radiating thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    If you've never had any other cases then you won't notice this issue, but this case is ridiculously thick. Like I said I've owned 40 iPhone 5 bumpers, 90% of those have been HALF the thickness of this one.

    If you've never owned any other bumper, you wouldn't notice, but if you have it's like getting a steam powered coffee maker. It might work, it might work well, but it's just unnecessarily lame. The case has unnecessary thickness.

    I am an audiophile so I notice smaller changes in sound than most people but to me it was a big difference the bumper just muffles the details of the sound. I haven't ever had a bumper that reduces the sound quality to the point where I notice it, yet this one does and my ears notice it. It depends on the track though, on ones that are more vocal you hear it but on more electronic tracks you don't.

    It's just an unnecessary problem that they could have solved with a simple design change. I notice it a lot on speaker phone and it bothers me.

    Right so the neo hybrid has a fine sand paper like grain on it's rubber, if you look at rubber that's smooth it is more glossy. There is no reason to make the rubber textured and therefore not match the phone and act as an eyesore. They could easily improve this.

    We're not talking about painting it, there's nothing to flake off, we're just talking about smooth rubber like on the power support bumper or a rubber o ring which uses high quality rubber, they would simply have to switch to higher quality rubber. The matte texture does NOT improve the grip, rubber is grippy because it has natural surface compliance and adhesion, not because it has friction from a rough surface. In fact the grainy low quality rubber they use probably has LESS friction than higher quality smooth rubber that would match the phone better and be less of an eyesore.


    The logo is half way between annoying and invisible for me. It would just be better if it was much smaller.

    The soft touch screen protectors have much thicker adhesive and are much more flexible so they actually have no lift at all whatsoever. Even with dry application (as long as you are careful).

    To think that a huge white outline around all the logos and text is acceptable is silly. Simply adding a layer of thick silicone adhesive would fix the problem, but these companies are too lazy to engineer their own protective material and just cut existing stuff to size even when they know it will lift and will be completely broken. They just release unfinished products.

    The protectors that lift are shoddy and junk and should be discontinued. There are plenty of higher quality protectors that don't lift, it's embarrassing to release a broken product like this.

    I think that you are too tolerant of flaws and give these companies too much credit.

    You can forgive a lot of these problems, but fundamentally when other companies have overcome these flaws Spigen just looks shoddy.

    None of these flaws SHOULD exist, but they do because the designers did not put as much attention to detail into the design as their competitors did. Spigen is releasing a half finished product and yet charging top dollar for it.
  12. AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    Man you don't need to quote his entire post. Cut it down or don't quote him at all, he will know you're talking to him.

    Looks good, but sounds like a nonpurchase for me.
  13. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    Where did you hear these complaints? The thread on here about them is pretty positive.. Myself included. It's nowhere near "ridiculously thick".. It's about the same thickness as my Zoogue cases when both are laid screen down and those I already consider to be nice and thin.
  14. Enforce macrumors regular


    Dec 25, 2012
    South East Asia
    Thanks for the detailed review. However it does seem like you receive a faulty set. did you contact Spigen for a replacement?

    The other colors do not seem to have such issues though.

    As for the P.S flat bumper, yes the Japanese did a pretty good job in design and manufacturing. Their attention to details is one of, if not the best amongst case makers. Also, since we are gonna pay a premium for it, it better be good. ;)
  15. tsturbo macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2008
    I think someone is a little eccentric and has OCD!
  16. Radiating, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

    Radiating thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    I think there'a a misunderstanding about what I mean by thick, to be clear I'm talking about width, ie bulk, not depth.

    I've read at least 5 complaints on various forums about the excessive width. This image sums up my view of the Linear EX Slim's width:

  17. Radiating, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

    Radiating thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    If I didn't have attention to detail I would just buy an Galaxy S3 with a rubber grandma case and make sure to have food stains on it.

    I really don't think it's too much to expect that:

    #1 When a a company advertises a color to match, it matches.
    #2 An audio jack that works
    #3 Vibrate toggle that works
    #4 A speaker that works
    #5 A back protector that actually sticks to the whole back not just most of it, leaving white outlines around the logos (keep in mind this is right after pressing it down around the logos).
    #6 Not cutting costs on a $40 case by using generic grey buttons.
    #7 Something other than the cheapest possible ugly rubber material ever made on a $40 case
    #8 A case that is specifically advertised as "slim" not being the widest case in it's class (plastic bumper) that is made. This "slim" case is twice as wide as NORMAL, and 5-6 times as wide as feather thin cases.

    Other than that the only thing I complained about was the lame logo placement.
  18. JNGold macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2009
    That's my pic of the lower part of the Linear Ex. Wasn't the question directed toward the Slim Armor?
  19. Radiating thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Oh you're right! I was confusing the slim armor with the linear EX slim. I haven't had any experience with the slim armor, but personally I would recommend just getting a bumper and some ghost armor, there is no reason to protect the back fo the phone with some cheap plastic when a clear protector will work and look way better.
  20. Chuck-Norris macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2012
    the apple logo and iphone logo are raised, not much you could do about plastic shields. skins though like bestskinsever or inviisble shield wont leave that glowing effect
  21. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    Technically a clear protector on the back is also "some cheap plastic" :p hehe
  22. RichardC300 macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2012
    Chapel Hill, NC
    It just occurred to me that you might be of Asian descent, judging from your forum name.
  23. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    Yessir I am. I use my name like that in various words for usernames haha!
  24. RichardC300 macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2012
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Creative! I like it!

    But on-topic, I really like your in-depth reviews. They definitely help save me money, because I'm also looking for that one bumper that is just right. I hope you try the PowerSupport one. It looks like a keeper.
  25. Minhimalism macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2012
    Thank you! :D Lol I wish I could try the PS bumper too on that note.. **** so much money though :mad:

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