Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case review: Translucent protection

(Image: © iMore)

A clear case is great for showing off your iPhone, both its color and its Apple logo. But if you're looking for something a bit different, the translucent matte finish of the slim, protective Caudabe Synthesis has a much more subtle effect. Plus, the substantial bumper around the edge is textured for a great grip.

The Good

  • Slim form factor
  • Rugged protection
  • Textured edges for grip
  • Matte translucent back
  • Classy-looking

The Bad

  • Limited color selection

Slim but protective

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case: Features

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case

(Image credit: iMore)

Caudabe is primarily known for barely-there, minimalist cases. The Synthesis is their thickest, most protective iPhone case, but it's still quite slim. The bumper is made from what Caudabe calls ShockLite™, their shock-absorbing polymer. The bumper is etched with a diamond pattern which gives you excellent grip. The bumper also has "horns" on the back of each corner. These put a little more space between the cameras and the table when you set your phone down. The horns also protect the back of the case from getting scratched. There are precision cutouts for the Lightning port, mute switch, and speaker holes. Nice clicky button covers protect the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons. The volume buttons even have a "+" and and "-" etched on them, in case you forget which is which. The lip of the bumper comes well up over screen level for face-down protection.

The back of the case is where the Synthesis is pretty unique. Many cases have clear backs, but this is micro-etched for a matte, translucent effect. The color is clearly visible through the case, just softened a bit. You can see the Apple logo, but only if you hold the phone at certain angles. The effect is much less showy and more subtle. It's classy. Plus, it doesn't show fingerprints like shinier cases do.

I wouldn't normally call a plastic case elegant, but this one really is. You can see the Apple logo, but not in a showy way.

There is not a pronounced camera lip, but the bumper horns have the same camera-protecting effect. To the right side of the camera, the case sort of slopes downward towards the camera. I suspect the reason for this is to avoid interfering with the flash.

The blend of the soft gel-like bumper and the hard plastic back is seamless. Because the bumper is softer, the case is easy to put on and take off. All of the phone's functionality is preserved, including wireless charging.

Caudable makes the Synthesis case for every iPhone model from the iPhone 6 to the current models. For the iPhone 11 series, the available colors are Gray (with a clear back, as seen in my photos) and Stealth Black (which is all black, but still has a slightly translucent back.) There are more color options for the older model iPhones. Of course, if you choose a color other than the Gray with the colorless back, you won't really be able to see the color of the iPhone anymore. You can still see the Apple logo in the right light, however. Caudabe products carry a one-year warranty.

Simple elegance

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case: What I like

I wouldn't normally call a plastic case elegant, but this one really is. You can see your iPhone's color and the Apple logo, but not in a showy way. The matte, translucent back panel gives a much more subtle look. The gel-like bumper is thoughtfully designed, with tiny horns at the corners to prevent damage to the back panel and the camera when you set your phone down face-up. I like that the edges are so grippy, lessening the chances of dropping the iPhone.

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case

(Image credit: iMore)

Not much to complain about

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case: What I don't like

There's not much to criticize here. My only complaint is that it's a bit "dull" for someone like me who likes a touch of drama, art, fashion, or whimsy in an iPhone case. That's down to personal taste.

All-around great case

Caudabe Synthesis iPhone Case: Bottom line

The Caudabe Synthesis hits the intersection between thin and protective. There are certainly slimmer cases out there, and there are heavier-duty cases. This one will be just right for a lot of people. The gel-like ShockLite™ bumper is thoughtfully designed for maximum front-to-back protection and grip. The seamlessly blended micro-etched back panel is translucent with a matte finish. You can show off your iPhone color and Apple logo in the most tasteful possible way.

See at Caudabe

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.