We take little interest in most of the cases sent in to us, due to repetitive designs and uninspiring features. So it was nice to see the £35 Moshi SenseCover case, a seemingly convincing noteworthy release for the iPhone 5/5s and new SE model, boasting the unique ability to see the time, incoming calls and alarms without lifting the cover. Additionally, incoming calls can be answered with the cover remaining shut.
Design & Usability
Available in either steel black or brushed titanium finishes, it looks almost like an official Apple case from its use of a hybrid leatherette touch-sensitive front cover and strong yet soft polycarbonate rear shell. The curves, contrasting colour scheme and brushed texture of our case, fabricate a very pleasing object to look at and hold in landscape or portrait modes. Our only complaint is that the cover won’t remain in a static position when using the iPhone, and we would have thought the satisfying magnetic closing mechanism for the cover could have been doubled up to keep it open too? Other than this our experience is positive, and pleasingly it’s not a nail breaking exercise inserting and removing our iPhone from the Moshi SenseCover’s hard shell.
The constant view of the home screen's clock and date through a translucent cutout within the front of the case is definitely pretty cool. Actually we found it really useful and can’t believe how often we glance at our home screen just to find out the time without entering the actual iPhone. However, if ever Apple decide to relocate the placement of the home screen clock in subsequent iOS updates, this case would be deemed pointless. Although we didn't use the slide to 'unlock' via the front of the case as often as peaking at the clock, we can see how useful this could be for accepting an incoming phone call in haste, and the touch-sensitive front cover with phone speaker cutout makes sure the screen goes off when you hold the phone up to your face.
More generally the controls, such as the volume, are accessible with the lid shut thanks to a slack hinge that makes it easy to press them. The camera, rear Apple logo, bottom speaker/mic and Lightning connector are all cut out for trouble-free access. In contrast, for some reason, the top sleep/wake button which is also cut out, is surrounded by a wall of sharp plastic. We’ve learnt to navigate our fingers around it, but it’s a fairly painful design-flaw if you stub it with force.
The rear of the case is better protected than the front, which stands to reason as the back is usually lying on a surface. We’ve not witnessed any stitching or material wear from keeping the case in pockets and on desks. In fact, it feels a more premium and better made case than many real leather cases we’ve reviewed. Light casual drops from a metre or so in height aren't going to be much of an issue for the Moshi SenseCover and that magnet keeps the case firmly closed too. It keeps an iPhone safe during normal general day to day use, but is not for harsh drops and extreme environments as the previously reviewed LifeProof case would be.
The Moshi SenseCover is an innovative reimagined design for quick access to time and answering calls whilst still serving to keep your iPhone wrapped in a reasonably substantial and stylish day-to-day protection. It's worth bearing in mind that if Apple reposition that home screen clock in future iOS updates, this case's USP is either dormant or some DIY is required. Otherwise, as it stands today, we give the Moshi SenseCover a big thumbs up!