The title of this review may seem a little uninspiring, and I apologize for that. The truth is, I’ve never wanted or needed a kickstand case for my iPhone. I rarely use it to watch video, or make FaceTime calls. Simply: I like watching movies and TV shows on larger displays and I’m not a very sociable person. (Hence why I stay in my office all day, write and make videos all on my lonesome for a living.) So, to say that I would actually go out and buy this, is high praise indeed. At least, from my standpoint.
STM doesn’t make many cases for iPhone 5. In fact, if you head on over to STMBags.com, you’ll be greeted mostly with bags. (URL gives it away a little.) The Australian company has only just begun its exploration in to the crazy jungle that is the smartphone accessory market with the Opera, Harbour and Arvo for iPhone 5.
What strikes me most as impressive about the Arvo (and the Harbour I recently reviewed) is the brilliant soft-touch finish to the outside. The hard plastic shell has very tactile outer texture. Design is very minimal, with only two colors used and 5 different combinations to choose from. Its understated in a very positive way. The inside is finished with an angular tile-like design which not only adds extra grip, but acts as a shock absorbing barrier. As is the norm, all areas needing easy access are left exposed; including the volume buttons, which many manufacturers insist on covering. The case is also incredibly rigid, without a hint of brittle-ness.
The kickstand itself is what this case is all about, and it performs very well. It’s a simple design: a plastic leg that pivots on a thin metal pin. One corner is cutout to leave adequate space for a prising thumb/finger nail. It holds well at almost any angle. Even when applying excessive and unnatural pressure directly above the hinge it holds its own. The stand itself didn’t bend at all.
There aren’t many negatives with the Arvo, the only obvious issue I have is that the shape is very angular. Despite being a relatively thin stand, it still manages to feel a little square and a tad uncomfortable. That said, overall it’s a very solid entry in to the market by STM and should be seriously considered by anyone wanting a slim kickstand. It costs $39.99 in the States (around £28 UK), which seems a tiny bit pricey, but I’d happily hand that cash over for the experience I had with it.