One new, and one classic design put to the test of the oddly shaped iPhone 5.
Sena has had a history of creating cases with a lot of leather surrounding the screen. A few designs have diverged from that design aesthetic, and now we have another opting for less intrusion around the screen. The Hampton Flip is a luxurious design meant to signal wealth and power without being vulgar or lavish. Much like the area it takes it´s name from. The iPhone 5 is inserted from the top, and held in place by a small hidden strap at the top. This also doubles as a quick release when you want to use the otherwise obscured camera. A simple tug on the strap, and push on the bottom of the phone and you are set to take an image. Sure it is not the least bit subtle if you want to take some pictures, or film without startling the subject. Be it a bird, a cat or a fiancé. It is also time consuming, and you might have already missed the moment once you have the camera ready. Sliding the iPhone 5 up to use the camera also means that you have to fold the front flap behind the phone, and that you will have the screen somewhat obscured by the case. There are a lot of confusing design ideas involved into avoiding just making a cutout for the camera on the back.
The leather is great quality with a soft grain finish. It is a marvellous experience to hold, and as it is seamless it looks a thousand dollars. The three credit card pockets gives it a bit more versatility, but don’t expect to be able to use this as a wallet. With three cards they sit quite rigid, and the flap gets quite thick. With two cards it works better, but most will need more than that in a wallet. For the vacation, or night out it might be just enough.
The Hampton Flip looks, and feels great and the fact that you get less interference from leather around the screen than in most leather cases it is marvellous. The camera solution is a bit awkward, and takes away some of the spontaneity of the iPhone 5. I would also have preferred to see a hidden magnet to close the front flap instead of a button. Still recommended if you want a classy protective case, and don’t use the camera every two minutes or so.
The dimensions of the screen Apple opted to use for the iPhone 5 can be a blessing in some instances playing games for example. At other times it causes some weirdness, as some pouches have to follow the same dimensions of an iPhone 5 and the male joy of a bull. Yes it is not hard to see any pouch for the iPhone 5 doubling as a condom for date night at the farm. This is sad, as it also affects one of my favourite smartphone pouches: the Sena Corsa. For the iPhone 4/4S, and wide but thin Samsung Galaxy S3 it rocked my world. For the iPhone 5 not so much, but then no pouch with a rounded bottom has.
The design is classic with two pieces of leather stitched together at the sides. A racing stripe found on the right front, and continuing on the back, adds a youthful speedy flair. The soft grain leather is perfect to the touch, and really nice to have in your hand.
There are two speaker cutouts at the bottom, but no cutout for the headphones. This is a bit weird, and I hope to see this updated in future models of the pouch. You can of course turn the iPhone 5 upside down to charge, and use headphones. To me it is still something that needs to be addressed.
The pull-strap is the true strength of the Corsa. It is always perfectly simple to get the phone out in a single yank. It resets itself nicely as well when you insert the phone again. To me the pull-strap is the best most effortless way to get a phone out of a pouch.
The Corsa is a perfectly crafted from great materials, but still suffers from strange shape issues. This is not the fault of Sena, but rather Apple going for a strange silhouette. Not even Tim Gunn could make it work. The lack of cutout for the headphones is a nuisance too. For protection, and used convenience it is a great pouch though.