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Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 01:08 am PT (04:08 am ET)

First Look: Logitech adds to 'case+' system with new 'protection+' iPhone 5/5s case and car mounts

Building on its recent "case+" system of modular iPhone accessories, Logitech on Wednesday announced the "protection+" slim fit case and two accompanying car mounts, one of which was part of the original $200 set.




Looking first at the new protection+ case for iPhone 5 and 5s, Logitech's offering sports a familiar "slim," open-face format in line with competing iPhone cases, including Apple's own first-party products. What sets the protection+ — and its "+" product stablemates — apart is a modular design that uses magnets for quick mounting and accessory swap-outs.




As seen in the photo above, the protection+ features a hard polycarbonate outer shell with an inner rubberized layer and sealed plunger buttons for operating volume and sleep/wake controls. Special inserts made of impact-resistant polymers are placed in all four corners of the case to absorb shocks from drops that could damage an iPhone's screen.

Compared to the surrounding gray rubber material, the neon corner pieces do have a bit of give and are much more malleable.




According to Logitech, the protection+ exceeds the U.S. military's drop-test standard for "rugged" devices, which tops out at 1.8 meters (just under 6 feet) off the ground. Further shielding the handset from shock damage are "impact channels" and a layer of thermoplastic rubber.

In our initial tests, we dropped the case from a height well above 6 feet, with the handset coming out unscathed each time. Whether it landed on its side, corner or face, the iPhone was never jarred out of position. A beveled front front bumper area also keeps the screen safely away from uneven floor surfaces like concrete.




Like the case+ system, the standout feature of Logitech's protection+ case is its modular magnet-based design. While the new protector integrates the same metal plate as case+, the part is hidden beneath a plastic outer shell.




Launching alongside protection+ is the +trip, a mount that clips to the fins of a car's air vents. Like similar products, the clamp portion appears to be constructed of a rigid material with a good amount of rubber molded into a notched "v" shape. Installation was almost as easy as mounting an iPhone with protection+ case, though the handset's weight caused our vent fins to droop.

Depending on your car, the +trip may render an air vent unusable or facing in an unintended direction.




Installed in the protection+ case, our iPhone snapped firmly on +trip's rubberized face, which kept the handset from twisting out of position. The magnet within provided sufficient attractive force to hold the iPhone secure while driving, but not enough to make removal a chore.

Included in the +trip package are two universal adapters, or magnetic plates, in black and silver that can be used with other smartphones not protected by a case+ product.




Logitech is also selling the +drive mount (not pictured), previously only available as part of the original $200 case+ system. The +drive features an articulated twist-to-lock suction cup base for securely latching onto a windshield or dashboard. A universal adapter is included for use with a second smartphone.




Unfortunately, while protection+ is a step toward piecing out the case+ set, the iPhone carrier is not compatible with prior case+ products, including the +energy battery pack, a tri-fold cover called +tilt and the magnetically-shielded +wallet credit card carrier. At this time, Logitech has no plans to sell those accessories separately.

Logitech's protection+ for iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 is available for preorder through the company's online store for $34.99. The +trip and +drive are also up for preorder, priced at $29.99 and $49.99, respectively. All three products are expected to ship in the U.S. and Europe this August.