Published on June 11th, 2014 | by Greg
Snow Lizard SLXtreme 5: Serious, If Awkward, Protection
One of the best things about the latest generation of smartphones is their hardiness- they are way less prone to “cracked screen” syndrome than previous generations, with far more durable backs and sides as well. Sure, your old Nokia might last forever, but new smartphones pack a whole lot in a tight space with razor thin margins. Which is why so many people turn to cases for extra protection, especially since your iPhone 5 and 5S are not very water resistant.
The Snow Lizard SLXtreme 5 takes things even further- sure, there are quite a few solid waterproof/shockproof cases out there, but not that many include a backup battery for a little extra boost. And of the few of those that do, none include a solar panel built in. Similarly, we’ve seen solar cases before, but none as durable as the SLXtreme 5. Of course, all of those features come with a lot of extra bulk, and in the end we did find the multi-functionality led to it being more limited than any of our favorite options in any of the individual categories. In other words, dedicated solar power chargers are far better, and other waterproof cases are easier to use, but if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this one is a decent option.
Plus, ours came in a very distinctive camouflage color scheme. It doesn’t appear available on their website, though black, orange, yellow, and white models are for sale. The company claims the case offers a MIL SPEC 810G rating as well as IP68, for safety in water at up to two meters. The SLXtreme 5 also has a built-in 2,550 mAh battery- enough to theoretically charge your phone completely- though we didn’t find this to be quite the case in our tests. The solar panels don’t expand or anything- you’ll have to keep your phone turned over, and that can make your phone pretty darn warm (you might want to turn it off first). Expect limited use, for emergency purposes largely, as it’s rated to give you around ten minutes of talk time for every hour or so of direct sunlight.
We liked the grippy, easy to hold sides of the case, and the fact your screen isn’t obstructed and everything is pretty usable, including all of the buttons. Don’t expect this to fit in your pocket, though, and we weren’t thrilled by the need for an included adapter in order to use the headphone jack (because the port is recessed deeply). In addition, the speakers become quite tinny and muted when in the case, not unexpectedly, and we did have some issues with our device’s controls during calls. In short, this certainly isn’t an everyday, take anywhere option- but we can imagine finding it handy during any desert journey or jungle safari. Purchase online or in stores, for around $150.