The Dbrand Carnage collection is a high-quality and sinister feast for the eyes - review

Dbrand Carnage darkplates for PS5 behind a Carnage iPhone 15 Pro Max Grip case
Credit: StealthOptional

Dbrand Carnage darkplates for PS5 behind a Carnage iPhone 15 Pro Max Grip case
Credit: StealthOptional

Ever since I saw the announcement for the Carnage line of limited edition skins from Dbrand, I was hooked. The self-described sinister design is dark and fittingly edgy, but not so much that it looks over-the-top. But reviewing the latest design isn't just a first for StealthOptional, but it's also my first time using Dbrand products, despite the high praise I've heard about the company.

I've sung praises about the Dbrand Carnage line since it was revealed, and it's everything I had hoped it would be. Straight away, I can happily tell you that both the PS5 plates (which are also called Arachnoplates and released in the middle of 2023), and the Carnage iPhone Grip case are both excellent products, even if the asking price may be staggering to some.

Dbrand Carnage collection review
Dbrand's line of Carnage skins is as beautiful as it is bold, delivering a sinister feast for the eyes, so long as you can stomach a decently high price. But, we assure you, the price is almost certainly worth it.
9 out of 10

Let's start with the best - the Carnage Grip case. While it's advertised as an original product, the Dbrand Carnage case is actually a standard Grip with a Carnage decal that you stick on yourself. Of course, this leaves you at the mercy of ensuring that you can apply it well, or else it will look bad, but it gives you the opportunity to easily switch out to a new limited edition skin if you're bored, and installation is fairly straightforward.

The skin feels premium on its own, a strong, yet soft feeling sticker that sits nicely within the walls of the back of the Grip. Installing the skin around the camera can be a bit fiddly, but requires more patience than precision. While I do appreciate the ability to purchase a new skin rather than a whole new case if another design appeals to me, I'd much rather the limited edition designs be part of existing products. But, that's just personal preference for the sake of accessibility and ease of use.

Dbrand Carnage skin on an iPhone 15 Pro Max Grip case
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Credit: StealthOptional

While I'm not going to test it, considering the iPhone 15 Pro Max is an expensive phone, both the Grip and the Dbrand tempered glass feel extraordinarily sturdy. I've used my fair share of cases over the years, considering I switch between Android and iPhone fairly regularly, but Dbrand is easily the best case I've ever installed on a smartphone. Ever. It feels easy to hold for long periods, thanks to the textured grips on either side, but it also looks and feels sturdy - I'm not going to drop it from 5 metres, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it managed to survive.

I actually removed my Otterbox case - a bigger, and equally pricey brand - to install the Dbrand Grip, and I won't be going back to Otterbox anytime soon, or any other brand for that matter. While the Otterbox felt decently strong enough to help the iPhone withstand any accidents, Dbrand feels a lot better, and the buttons actually feel like an iPhone, something that most cases don't focus on.

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect. While the Dbrand Grip is going to be my go-to case for the foreseeable future, no matter which smartphone I upgrade to next, the Grip is a dust magnet to say the least. Splatters of dust seem to form around parts of the Grip and can be quite difficult to remove, and considering I live near the countryside, this is... annoying, to put it lightly. It's not a huge issue, but something to take note of.

The other product we're reviewing is the Darkplates 2.0, Dbrand's take on the PS5 plates, plastered with the Carnage skin too. Unlike the Grip, you don't need to install the decal onto a base set of Darkplates, thankfully. Although, there's some trickiness to installing the plates, but that's Sony's fault, and not Dbrand's.

Dbrand Carnage PS5 plates close-up
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Credit: StealthOptional

The plates arguably feel thicker and much stronger than the original PS5 panels, and while installing them is a chore and a half, I much prefer the bold, sinister look of the Carnage line over the boring and plain white that the PS5 offers. You need to be careful to install the middle skin, if you opt to pick one up, but the Dbrand tutorial videos are very detailed and made it simple to apply.

While the PS5 plates are great on their own accord, adding to the fact that they offer fan holes and dust covers for additional cooling support, the best part is that they're a conversation starter. Unlike the sleek and simple design of the white PS5, which still looks pretty nice, the Carnage plates are certainly engaging and bold, standing out amongst your entertainment centre or desk setup.

It's hard to make an excellent first impression, but Dbrand has smashed it out of the park. A gorgeous, bold, and sinister design that is fittingly called Carnage, which delivers on the staggering claims that the name makes, and my first experience with the Dbrand Grip case and the Darkplates are almost perfect, giving me a new brand to follow and buy from often. While the price may be off-putting to some, I can assure you that the cost is certainly worth it. So long as you don't mind some dust on the case.

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