I got into a funk not too long ago; because I had dropped my iPhone and managed to ding it up a bit, I knew I needed to change my device carry habits. I already knew that I wouldn’t be interested in a rubber or plastic iPhone case, and while the right wooden case might have appealed to me, I was ready to try something different. I was going for leather, and as I had on my iPad mini, I was going for handmade.
So at the same time I placed the order for my Orbino iPad miniPadova case, I also added a Pantera Cinque iPhone 5 Case to my shopping cart. Hand-stitched and tailored for the iPhone 5, the Pantera Cinque is available in a number of gorgeous Tuscan leather colors. For those who want something truly eye-catching, exotic ostrich, ostrich leg, crocodile, snake skin, and even stingray are offered; the only exotic skin I can think of that is missing is ring lizard! I opted for the Tuscan leather in pecan. This case is solid leather without any lining; it smells and feels terrific.
The front of the Orbino Pantera Cinque is dominated by the flip cover, which opens from the top down — Star Trek Communicator style. An “Orbino Italy” branded silver metal button covers the iPhone’s home button, and magnets keep the cover closed when the iPhone is not in use.
Flipping the Pantera Cinque over reveals its hand-stitched details; the back looks great, and the stitched texture feels good on my fingers when holding the case. The iPhone is inserted in through the top, and another “Orbino Italy” branded silver metal snap on a leather tab keeps the iPhone securely inside. There are slots on the back of the case through which the included belt clip (which also functions as a stand) can be inserted. I’ve opted not to stretch out the leather on my case, as I don’t use belt clips and the clip would make the case less pocketable — which it absolutely is, otherwise.
The included clip is very solidly built, and its method for being secured to the case — through the use of the hole in the middle back and a screw — leads me to think it would be a good option for someone who does want a belt-carried option.
When the iPhone 5 is inside the Pantera Cinque, it does not suddenly become a fat or shapeless device. The Orbino case is curvy, slim, and it feels wonderful in hand.
There is a slight leather protruding edge on each corner, and I can tell you from personal experience that the case does well in corner drops.
All ports, switches and buttons are either left open for easy access, or it is covered with metal buttons. These metal covers — used on the home and volume buttons — do not hinder the use of the buttons underneath at all; if anything they enhance them.
Perhaps my only gripe, after using this case a majority of the time since February, is that it opens from the bottom (communicator style) rather than from the top (notepad style). It’s not a huge issue, but I can’t tell you how many times — especially in the early days — I held the phone upside down when I wasn’t looking, because I thought it “should” open that way. Now it is intuitive for me to flip the cover to the bottom and behind the phone, but it took a little while.
The holster-style case frames the iPhone 5’s screen, but it doesn’t come right up to the edge (which is probably more noticeable on a white iPhone), so it hasn’t given me major issues when trying to drag an icon from one screen to another. My iPhone is extremely useable in this case, whether I am texting, making calls, taking pictures, or playing games. It has been a nearly perfect case … with one exception.
If the case had opened from the top, my only other gripe would have also been avoided: when you have a charging cable attached, you have to commit to which way you want the case to be — open or closed — because the cable will either prohibit it opening fully or it will keep it from closing at all. It’s a minor quibble, one that mainly comes into play when my phone is charging with the cover closed on my bedstand, and a text message or email from one of my VIP contacts comes in.
The Pantera Cinque is expensive; there is no way around that fact. But if you are tired of rubber, plastic, silicone, and wood, and if you haven’t yet found another leather case that excites you, then this one might just do the trick. I have used this case while traveling, held it in my hand while running multiple times, slipped it in and out of countless bags and pockets, and generally used it “like a government mule” (as my colorful friend Pat would say). And it has held up; I think it looks even better today than it did when I got it. In other words, I genuinely like this case, and I do not regret its undiscounted purchase one bit.
The Orbino Pantera Cinque iPhone 5 Case is available directly from the manufacturer.
MSRP: Prices start at $189 for the Tuscan leather cases, with the ostrich cases at $299, ostrich leg or snake skin at $309, crocodile at $369, and the stingray and snake combination at $399
What I Like: Does not add much weight or bulk to the iPhone 5; leather is exquisite; the hand-stitching on the back adds a nice texture and look to the already beautiful case; My favorite iPhone 5 case so far
What Needs Improvement: Expensive; It takes a while to remember that the case should open toward the bottom rather than from the bottom; when the charging cable is attached, it is not possible to open or close the case because the cable gets in the way
Source: The Orbino Pantera Cinque was a personal purchase