It’s been a long time since I’ve written a standalone review for a phone case. If I do write one, it’s usually a single paragraph that’s inside a full smartphone review, just to give an example of how I’d been using the phone during my review period. Usually, that’s as far as I’ll go for a phone case review – unless, of course, it’s abundantly interesting.
That’s where Spigen comes in. The company recently announced its new Enzo leather case for the iPhone, its first premium offering in the market. Being a leather case aficionado, I was immediately intrigued by the new product. Italian leather, aluminum accents, MagSafe – it seemed like there was a lot to like. That is, until I saw the price tag of $150.
One hundred and fifty dollars for a case with a Spigen logo. If you know anything about the phone case industry, you know that that sounds pretty absurd. After years of selling phone cases that are considered affordable by many, the company is diving right into the deep end and taking on premium case manufacturers to see if they can make any buzz.
Because I’m a smartphone case enthusiast, I contacted Spigen and had them send over a sample of the Enzo to try out. I’ve had it on my iPhone 13 Pro for the past couple of months, and right up front, I can tell you it’s not going to make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club of rich smartphone case owners. Instead, it’ll make you wonder, “Why the hell would anyone spend $150 on this?”
Yes, it is a very premium case – obviously
I’m not here to discredit the Enzo case by any means. I realize there was a ton of work Spigen poured into making this case the way they wanted, and it turned out really nice. There’s a certain cohesiveness that each material brings to the case that feels like it’s supposed to be there, which is important given its higher-than-usual asking price.
The big selling point of the Enzo case is its use of Genoma Italian leather, which apparently is pretty rare in the world of leathering. It uses full-grain leather that’s locally sourced and is treated with a vegetable tanning process for over a year, rather a more traditional chemical-based process that can be completed quicker. This helps to protect the leather over time and ensure it patinas gracefully.
The leather covers the entire back of the Enzo and stops at the edges which are made of rubber. Around the case, you’ll find diamond-cut aluminum accents that help with its luxurious aesthetic. The inside is lined with a soft microfiber finish, while a set of magnets add MagSafe compatibility.
The entire thing feels unnecessarily luxurious, and that sentiment extends to the fact that Spigen, to preserve the integrity of the leather, is producing these cases in limited batches of 50 units at a time. What’s more, each case comes with a unique serial number so you always know which one is yours, and there’s even a bonus strap in the box that uses the same Genoma leather. The entire package is very “extra” (are people still saying that?).
Using the Enzo is an extremely mixed bag
I’ve gotten a good feel for the Enzo during my testing, and I will tell you that its most premium-feeling aspect is the leather. It feels much higher quality than what companies like Apple and Nomad include on their cases, and the entire structure of the accessory is sturdier yet still slim and light. Spigen also says the Enzo is military-grade certified for drop protection, so you won’t have to give up extra protection like you usually have to with other luxury cases (I’m looking directly at you, Apple). Granted, I didn’t do any drop tests during my review period, but I’ll take Spigen’s word for it.
I’m a fan of the rubber sides despite them slightly cheapening the appearance of the case. Some manufacturers like to wrap the leather completely around, but I actually prefer it the other way since if you drop your phone, you won’t take chunks of the leather off.
I also like the aluminum accents, but only to an extent. The accent around the cameras is terrific since it raises the top portion of the phone to protect the lenses, and I like how the accents on the buttons look. However, shake the case slightly and you’ll notice that the buttons rattle a bit. This was baffling to me – how did Spigen not lock the buttons in securely enough that they don’t rattle? Apple was able to do this with their leather case, and that one only costs $59.
Another significant point of contention I have with the Enzo is the little emblem Spigen includes toward the bottom. It protrudes from the case pretty far, which wouldn’t be an issue if MagSafe didn’t exist.
Traditional MagSafe wired chargers worked fine, but any sort of accessory like a battery pack or wallet get lifted slightly which could lead to poor compatibility. YouTuber TechnicallyTee points out that on the iPhone 13 Pro Max version of the Enzo, popular battery packs like OtterBox’s Wireless Power Bank and Apple’s own MagSafe Battery Pack are too long, whereas something like ESR’s chunky 10,000mAh MagSafe charger work fine. While I don’t have the same battery packs to test, I can tell you that there’s a solid chance almost none of them would fit on my 13 Pro due to its shorter stature.
I’d like to point out the hypocrisy in this design decision. While Spigen includes a protruding emblem on the back of a case for a phone designed to have things strapped to its back, the Enzo also includes MagSafe magnets to improve the strength of said MagSafe accessories. It’s almost laughably ridiculous, to be quite honest.
Then there’s the one thing you have to keep in mind if you want to use this case: its price. For $150, I expect a nearly flawless experience. The Enzo simply doesn’t provide that. It’s a great case, but these rough edges really need to be buffed out before I can say it’s worth its asking price.
To help justify the price, Spigen offers VIP support for Enzo case buyers if you find something wrong with your unit. It also offers a discount on your next Enzo if you wind up upgrading your phone. These are nice perks for sure, and I’d expect them at $150.
The unboxing experience is also very premium, as you can imagine for, once again, $150.
I suppose those that can be schmoozed over by that kind of stuff will appreciate the added luxury their $150 can get, but it just feels like filler to me for a case that feels like it shouldn’t cost over $100.
Should you buy it?
If you couldn’t tell already, I don’t think this is a good buy.
Spigen is certainly allowed to ship a premium case and go hog-wild on the materials for its construction. They can also charge a lot of money for it to complete that luxurious experience. But unless you’re a sucker for luxury and have $150 to burn (and you have one of the latest iPhones), I can’t recommend this case to virtually anyone, especially since the rattling aluminum buttons and protruding emblem that interrupts a primary iPhone feature don’t exactly equal luxury.
Is it a great case? Yes. Did Spigen do a great job at designing it? Yeah, a pretty good one. Will I be using it for the foreseeable future? Absolutely. But is it worth more than double the price of average leather cases? Hell no.
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