Securely grip your iPhone Xs Max with an adjustable ring holder or set it down and watch a movie using it as a built-in kickstand.
I think one of the most exciting aspects of the modern smartphone has to be the ability to customize/accessorize the experience. Despite a few nuances, it does not matter which side of the Apple/Android fence you may fall on. If you ask either side, the grass is always greener on their side. No matter your decision, a good case can further enhance the utility of the Smartphone. Wallet cases, armor style cases, slim style cases, battery cases, and waterproof cases are just a few of the styles that are currently available. I love when I find a unique case style, like the Vortex from SKECH. The triangular SKECH VORTEX case arrived in a 7 7/8 inches tall by 4 3/4 inches wide by variable thickness retail case (5/8 inches top and 1 1/2 inches bottom). The cover displayed a black-colored 5 inches tall by 2 1/4 inches wide raised glossy image of the SKECH VORTEX iPhone Xs Max Case. Similar to the recently reviewed SKECH CACHÉ case, they did a great job portraying their product using both visual and verbal imagery. The company name, displayed in bold, raised, glossy-black text, was well displayed toward my upper left. Looking to my right, I was pleased to find a “Drop-Tested” icon, which detailed the 10-foot (3.1 meters) drop rating. Looking toward my bottom left, I found the VORTEX product name. Beneath the title, SKECH included a description of the product name “360 degrees of movement.” Toward my bottom right, there were icons for the included car mount and a label for the iPhone Xs max. The flat white-colored top, bottom and side panels were purposefully left blank, which showed product confidence. Many companies would have used the sides to rehash the same icons/ideas as the cover/back of the packaging.
Turning the packaging over, SKECH continued to impress with their icons and imagery. Located along the center of the panel, you will find a 3 inches long by 2 inches tall image of the case oriented in landscape mode. The rotating, 360-degree, ring holder/kickstand was what gave the case the Vortex name. I was excited to see icons detailing the built-in rotating ring holder, the ability to use the ring holder as a kickstand and when collapsed, the device is car mount compatible. Similar to other SKECH cases, the inner surface of the magnetic cover was very well done. The main focus of the inner cover was the 3 1/2 inches tall by 1 5/8 inches wide raised glossy image of the back of the case. I was presented with eight icons: soft-touch finish, scratch resistant, 360-degree rotating ring holder, drop protection, responsive buttons, car mount compatible, 1.1mm bezel for screen protection and port protection. Looking toward my right, I excitedly perused the fully accessible Vortex case, resting upon a white plastic pedestal. Along the bottom right, you will find a small black magnetic vent mount, with the SKECH name etched into the face.
The car mount vent clip had a single horizontal slit, which held up well to repeated placement/removal. Without a lower support arm, the vent clip needs to be placed as close to the bottom of the vent as possible. Due to the 10.2 ounce weight of the iPhone XS Max/VORTEX case, the combo will cause the vent to sag. Having tested numerous vent mounts, the single slit choice was a feature and not a lucky guess or mistake. Devices that utilize a “+” shaped cutout tend to tear easily when adding/removing them from the vent. To test the SKECH magnetic vent mount, I placed/replaced/moved the vent attachment device about 50 times and found no damage to the device or my vent. I removed the case from the pedestal, slid the right edge of my iPhone Xs max into the case and pressed along the edges. Looking at the case from the back, I found a precision cutout for the vertically oriented iPhone XS max camera and a 1 3/8 inches wide by 2 inches tall metallic ring with 360-degree rotation. Along the bottom of the rear face, you will find SKECH beautifully etched into the surface. The right side of the case had a well-placed volume toggle cutout and high-quality, black-colored, rubberized volume buttons. The left edge of the case contained a similarly designed black-rubberized power button. Along the bottom of the case, I found two well-placed speaker cutouts and a 9/16 inches long by 1/4 inches wide lightning port cutout. The wide-mouth cutout may not seem that important at first, but after testing dozens of power cables, I truly appreciated this feature. Some lightning cables have a rounded edge, and others have a boxy/square one. When companies provide a device with a narrower lightning port, many of the boxier cables become useless. I tested a half-dozen lightning cables with this device and found the case accommodated them all.
The case was designed with protection in mind, built of a dual layer of inner silicone and outer hard plastic shell. The recessed camera cutout protected the lens/glass when placed onto the back. The edges of the face stuck up just enough to protect the screen from glancing blows, but will not protect from direct damage. I initially thought that the reverse ring would feel gimmicky and would be an unnecessary addition. I could not have been more wrong. The lip on the edge of the ring allowed the ring to be easily lifted away from the case. Well placed, my middle finger slipped comfortably into the ring and absorbed the weight of the phone. I liked that this allowed me to cease holding my phone in a death grip. When retracted, I was able to hold my phone normally and was able to place the phone securely onto the vent mount. When desired, I was able to extend the ring and use it as a kickstand to view the phone in landscape mode. I did not mind that the screen angle was not adjustable. The best method to use the ring was to keep it on the same plane that it started on. If you rotate the ring ninety degrees, it will buckle under the weight of the phone.
In summary, the case exceeded all of my expectations. I read many of the reviews on Amazon and saw a few trends. For example, there were complaints of the pin falling out and the paint flaking off. I have used the case for the past two-weeks, wiggled the ring, tugged on the ring, rotated the ring, and I did not experience either of those complaints. The case did attract fingerprints, protected the screen and had a texture that was slightly sticky. The cutouts were well designed, the magnetic attachment held firmly and the rubberized buttons were responsive. The black coloration had a tactical yet sleek appearance. With a combined weight of 9.80 ounces, the case did not add much heft to the 7.34 oz iPhone XS max. The ability to use the ring as a security feature and a kickstand simply worked. Similar to the CACHÉ case, the weak link revolves around the magnetic vent clip and the lack of a lower support arm. To get an idea about the lower support arm, I would recommend you evaluate the Ventev Car Kit review. As an aside, it would have been neat to have the opening of the ring to act as a bottle opener. The shape appears to resemble a bottle opener anyway, and it would have served an added role, without adding cost or weight to the case. It is important to note that this case is not wireless charge compatible. If that feature is important to you, this case may not be the ideal device for your phone. The SKECH VORTEX case will not break the bank, your back, nor your iPhone Xs Max.