Review: XtremeMac Tuffwrap Shift color-changing case for iPhone 4/4S
Usually I’m not a huge fan of reviewing silicone iPhone cases, not because I don’t love them (after all, who doesn’t love changing the look of their phone every once in awhile), but usually there’s not all that much to say about them aside from “It’s pretty much what you would expect”. However, XtremeMac got my attention with their new Tuffwrap Shift cases for the iPhone 4 and 4S ($29.99).
The gimmick here (and let’s be honest, it IS a gimmick) is that the case is specially formulated to change color with heat. Given I grew up with the insanely cool (to a 5 year-old at least) Freezy Freakies gloves, I pretty much HAD to check it out.
First, let’s get the usual part of the case review out of the way. Yes, this case is pretty much what you would expect, fit, feel and protection-wise. If anything, the rubber is feels slightly thicker and more durable than some silicone cases, but not so unyielding that putting the case on and off is an issue. As with most cases of this type, the Tuffwrap Shift protects the rear and sides of your iPhone from scratches and drops, leaving holes for the headphone jack, mute switch, and dock connector. All in all, it’s as good a silicon case as you’ll find, if not a bit pricey. So let’s see if that color-changing gimmick is worth the extra dough.
The Tuffwrap Shift is designed to change color based on the heat generated from holding the case in your hand. As you can see in their promotional photos, they think people hold the case in an odd way that no one does, so in real world use, you won’t get quite as cool-looking a finger design as XtremeMac shows. Generally you’ll get a sort of mushy color change generated from the meat of the palm of your hand, and you should probably forget about getting actual fingerprints to show up. Still, in general the color changing DOES indeed work, although it can take up to 5 minutes to happen. Also, with my Freezy Freakies background, I thought perhaps that a quick cooling-off of the case in the freezer would make the color change occur quicker, but it actually had the OPPOSITE effect, and made it harder to see my hand print, so room temperature seems to be the way to go. Also, the case will change color when you leave the case on while charging your iPhone, if you’re curious as to where your iPhone’s “hot spots” are.
Pretty much my only criticism of the case is that realistically no one will really ever see the color change besides you, unless you have a habit of placing your iPhone face down on a table after holding it for awhile. Still, it IS amusing, and it is interesting sometimes to look at the case and see what pattern you inadvertently made. If you’re looking for a silicone case for your iPhone 4 or new 4S, the Tuffwrap Shift, with its color changing-gimmick, helps it stand out from the pack. But whether or not that gimmick is worth the extra $5 or so to you is something you’ll need to decide for yourselves. Just don’t expect the “finger-print” accuracy you see in the pics above.
Pros: Nice protection, reasonably thick, Color-changing is kind of cool
Cons: Finger print images a bit misleading