Cygnett is one of the more obscure, lesser known iPhone/iPad accessory manufacturers, though we’re not sure why. When we stumbled upon them via some random Twitter user’s tweet, we were instantly excited to try out some of their gear. A few tweets and email exchanges later, several cases were prepped and shipped to our humble abode.
The cases: Apollo (iPhone), Metalicus (iPhone) and Alumni (iPad).
The Short Story: The Cygnett by Apollo is the case to get if you want a robust drop protective case that comes in fun colors, is relatively thin and doesn’t feature that silicone “stick” finish that absorbs lint like a sponge absorbs water.
Longer Version: Protection from the Apollo is slightly above average for this category. Where other cases leave the lock/power and volume buttons exposed with a simple cut-out, Cygnett instead has covered these holes with well-designed buttons. All too often we’re left hating an other wise awesome case because the volume and lock/power button is covered by a terribly designed material or faux button. Not so with the Apollo. If we had to compare it to another case, we’d compare it to the “case” with the best faux buttons available — Apple’s stock bumper case. While the Apollo case’s buttons aren’t quite that phenomenal, they are many steps ahead of most other cases. That said, the mute switch just above the volume buttons is a bit difficult to reach thanks to the thicker case sides and relatively small cutout. Can’t win them all we guess.
As we mentioned in the abridged “review” above, the Apollo case, while constructed of silicone, is rather slick — no lint nurseries here.
As seemingly care-free as life is with the Apollo case, there is one thing we don’t like too particularly well. The Apollo case has an odd death-like grip on the phone (almost always a good thing) that makes it incredibly frustrating to take out. The harder plasticized finish on top of the silicone makes the sides and back of the phone stiffer, requiring you to poke your finger through the camera hole to pop your phone completely out. Obviously, this isn’t a make or break situation for most people as once you install a case on your phone it generally stays there for a majority of the time.
For $29.99, Cygnett’s Apollo case is a pretty fair deal in our book, even if it isn’t particularly unique.
More: Apollo on Cygnett.com
Gadgetsteria Rating: 7/10
The Short Story: If you like snap-on cases and want something with more scratch protection as opposed to drop protection, this is your case.
Longer Version: We’ve always had a love/hate affinity for snap-on cases, particularly ones that divvy up the case pieces by way of front and back pieces. The Cygnett Metalicus case is one such case.
Weight will never be an issue as it is literally as light as a feather. What it lacks in overall density, however, it more than makes up for in other areas.
For example, for those of you doing a professional baseball dive for your phone any time it slips from your grasp, you’ll be pleased to know the Metalicus makes use of raised edges along the display on the front side. This will help keep one of the most important sides of your phone, the glass touchscreen, from hitting the ground and scratching/shattering (in theory).
The case itself is of the hard plastic variety. While it won’t win any drop test challenges, you can take comfort in knowing nothing short of a Samurai sword is going to pierce the Metalicus and inflict mortal wounds to your iPhone’s glass sides.
Nothing and nobody is perfect. So what’s the Metalicus’ fault? It can pop open rather easily. During normal usage and a few ~1′ drop tests, we noticed the Metalicus was more prone to at least disconnect in several places, with a few of those instances actually resulting in our phone being projected away from the separated case pieces. If you’re the clumsy kid in class and always dropping things, you might want to pick a different case style.
One worry we always have floating around in our head pertains to signal quality. Metal is not a friend of cellular signals. As such, the aluminum wrapping of our iPhone almost certainly means signal degradation, right? Well. It’s more complex than that. But an easy way to look at it is this: if you are in an area with 3-5 bars of signal normally, the Metalicus is unlikely to negatively impact you (that you’ll notice at least). If you’re in an area that has 1-2 bars, you might notice a bit more trouble connecting calls/slower data speeds or no signal at all. In one particular building we frequent, the “1-bar” room that we use to test the impact iPhone cases have on said phone, we noticed that we would drop into a “searching” mode for a cellular signal far more often than if our iPhone was completely naked sans case.
The biggest gripe in our book — the $39.99 price tag. Yes, we know that metal isn’t as cheap to build things with as plastic. But quite frankly, it doesn’t cost that much to produce an iPhone case. A case such as the Metalicus just feels overpriced for what it does. Plain and simple.
More: Metalicus on Cygnett.com
Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 6.5/10
The Short Story: If you want a body hugging iPad case that also doubles as a nice movie watching stand, look elsewhere.
The Longer Version: Not exactly words of encouragement above, eh? Well, truth be told it isn’t really all bad as long as you don’t live and die by built-in slots that allow your iPad to stand on its own. If you can look past that little omission, continue on…
Design wise the Cygnett trendy thanks to the vibrant color options (blue, green, pink and black). Construction of the Alumni is not what you’d think (or at least what we thought — “Aluminum”), and is instead constructed out of colored canvas. The canvas gives the Alumni a nice heavily textured feel without going overboard.
We were initially worried about our iPad falling out of the Alumni simply because the sides are rather large and open. But after getting our (loaner) iPad situated, it was easy to see that despite some serious thrashing, the Alumni would hold our iPad into place nine times out of ten.
We’ll be honest and admit that the canvas style iPad case isn’t our favorite. We prefer sleek, body hugging cases made out of a semi-soft silicone/plastic hybrid. But for what it aims to do, we can at least appreciate the Alumni. Now you just have to decide if the $49.99 asking price is worth it.
More: Alumni on Cygnett.com