The Moshi Vitros was certainly an interesting case…
I received the Moshi Vitros case about a week and a half ago. I found it conflicting. On one hand, it’s a beautiful case. I got the metallic red case, which looked amazing in photos of it on a black iPhone, and I’m happy to report looks amazing on a white iPhone as well. It’s a decently protective case as well, and covers the entire device. On the other hand, it has a plethora of problems. This case is the perfect example of why I wait at least a week before doing any reviews. If I had reviewed the Moshi Vitros on the first day I got it, I would have torn it apart. I would have given it a 1/5. I was angry. Instead, I gave it a chance, and forced myself to use it for a while. It’s still got problems, but it did grow on me a little.
I remember exactly when I got this iPhone case. I went out to my favorite bar with friends from work that night. It was a little cold out, and we were sitting by the door. Winter makes my hands dry, which is terrible for gripping smooth plastic. I dropped my iPhone twice, both times from about bar height, that is, just under 4 feet high. Both times my friends winced, as did I, however, both times, my iPhone was perfectly okay.
The case is made out of a stiff TPU material. Similar in texture on the outside to a hard plastic case, but flexible and slightly rubbery. It’s soft on the inside, comes off and on easily, and seems to have slight cuts in the corners that give a little air gap on the most vulnerable parts of the iPhone. The end result is a case that protects decently well. I’ve now dropped my iPhone a few times with this case on, and—knock wood—haven’t had any problems yet. The case could be thicker for more protection, and some people require waterproofing, which is why I only gave it a 4/5. For me, this is good enough, but it might not be enough for everyone.
This is probably the most elegant looking iPhone case I’ve ever had. Honestly, it’s one of the best looking iPhone cases I’ve ever owned, in league with the beautiful artwork of Katy Lipscomb on the Carved cases that feature her work. The case has a metal-like paint job on the sides, giving it a bumper-like appearance. The back is clear, with small micro dots, which keeps the case from sticking to your phone and creating bubbles, It makes the back of the case look crystal clear. The back of the phone has one word: “Moshi,” and even that looks good. The edges around the camera are angled just right to catch light. Truly, this is a beautiful iPhone case. It’s one of the few cases that I believe may actually improve upon the looks of an iPhone.
Weight is the category I typically dedicate to how much bulk the phone adds to the phone. The thing is, I also typically choose thin phone cases. This is no different, the case adds little weight to the phone, and seems to have an appropriate thickness to balance my love for thin cases that are almost non-existent and protection from drops. I don’t think I’d want this case to be any thicker or thinner. It’s just thick enough that the camera bump won’t cause your phone to rock on a table.
Ease of Use [1/5]
I’m afraid this brings us to our first huge drawback. Most case manufacturers have realized the importance of the buttons on your smartphone. They go out of their way to make buttons easy to press. Usually, this means thinner TPU around the button area and a small bump on the phone side of the case to make it easy to press. The goal is for the iPhone buttons to remain “clicky.” That’s why some case manufactures forgo covering the buttons altogether. Spigen is a company that frequently creates cases with reliably clicky buttons. Moshi did not do this.
The Moshi Vitros case has so many problems with buttons and the mute switch you might be forgiven for thinking that Moshi didn’t realize they were still there. Perhaps, when designing the Vitros, Moshi heard that Apple had removed the home button and realized at the last minute that this was the only button Apple removed. The TPU around the button area is raised slightly, but it is not thinner around the raised portion. That means you need to force the full thickness of the case to flex when you press on the button. This isn’t a super-thin case, that’s not easy. Moshi’s TPU is quite thick, so pushing any button requires a considerable amount of force.
The volume buttons are a nightmare. If the stiffness of the lock button was bad, it’s made worse on the other side, where there’s no differentiation between the buttons. You have to feel for the edge of the button or rely on muscle memory (a big ask for a new smartphone) to figure out where the volume buttons are. I frequently end up mushing both. Want to mute your phone? You may want to keep your fingernails long (unlike mine). I have to mash my finger against the side of the phone to squeeze my fingernail into the area where the lock switch is. Moshi could have made the area around the mute switch larger, but neglected to do so. As a result, it’s difficult to reach.
As I mentioned in the “protection” section, I dropped this case twice on the first night I got it. No, it wasn’t because I was having a bit too much to drink, it was because it’s winter, and my dry hands just can’t get a good grip on this material all the time. Here, right now as I write this in my apartment where I have not one but two humidifiers running, I can grip my iPhone just fine. I can’t really say that if I didn’t have the case on. So, while it doesn’t provide a lot of grip, it’s slightly better than going without a case.
I don’t hold my phone at all times. Typically, when it’s not in my hand, my iPhone is in a bag, a coat pocket, my back pocket, on a dock (homemade Lego creations or a wireless charging stand), or it’s on a table. I don’t slide it around a lot, I’m not abusive of my phone, and I generally take good care of it. However, the shiny red paint is already chipping off the edges of the Moshi Vitros case. The looks were the one thing this iPhone case had going for it, and they’re quickly getting ruined by basic use. The act of putting my phone down on a table or in my pocket is apparently enough to scratch off this delicate paint. I’ve never seen a case show wear so quickly! I noticed paint chipping on the edges of this case just a few days after owning it. I’m sure that if I used this case for an entire year, it would be a mess.
The Moshi Vitros is $29.99, both on Amazon (where I bought it), as well as Moshi’s website. If pressing buttons on this case was easy, and the paint didn’t chip off, that would be worth the price. Even the clear model, which doesn’t have paint that would chip off and costs $5 less, would be a poor value, as it’s not as good looking as the painted cases. The vibrant splash of color is what made this case worth $30 to me when I bought it, but since that will fade quickly, the case isn’t easy to use, and it doesn’t provide a lot of grip, I just don’t think the case is worth $20, let alone $30. I’d buy this case for $15 to use as a nice case to match an outfit or stand out at a formal event. But for $30, I’d say stick with other cases.
Overall Rating: 2/5
This was such a strange case to review. On one hand, on looks alone, this case (fresh out of the box), is a 5/5. On the other hand, it won’t be so pretty soon, it doesn’t add a lot of grip, the buttons are very difficult to press, and, perhaps worst of all considering its poor durability, it’s quite expensive for a case. If this case’s buttons were easy to press and the pain didn’t wear off so quickly, I’d gladly pay $30-$40 for it. In the end, it’s an issue of usability and durability, the Moshi Vitrios fails in both vital categories. However, I may keep using it until I find a better option, just because it is so pretty.