I received a handful of iPhone 4 cases to review over the last several months, including the Crimson Aluminum Frame Case. Its design and form-factor set it apart from the rest of the crowd. My hope was the design would allow better reception while not compromising on usability or protection….we shall see.
Crimson Aluminum Frame Case for iPhone 4
Allen wrench and 2 spare screws included
One set (Anti-fingerprint, front / rear) of Crimson Premium Film Surface Protectors
Crimson includes everything you need for installation, plus a bonus set of screen protectors and cleaning cloth.
Precision CNC machined
Aircraft-grade aluminum frames
Engineering-grade resin corner guards
Stainless steel screws
Durable anodized or polished finishes
Weighs only 19 grams
Unobstructed access to all ports, controls, and camera
Works with all iPhone 4 models – GSM and CDMA
The Frame Case is relatively minimalistic; while being lightweight, it’s rigid and provides good protection. The front and back of the case are anodized coated, finely machined plates of aircraft-grade aluminum. The two plates sandwich the iPhone 4 between them. Compared to a majority of other iPhone 4 cases I have tried/seen, the Frame case is rather boxy and a bit extreme. Because of its frame/sandwich design, this case works with all iPhone 4/4S models – GSM and CDMA. In addition to black, the case is available in silver, polished silver, red, cobalt blue, and polished gold.
At each of the corners are ‘engineering-grade’ resin corner guards that both of the plates screw into. The corner guards are well constructed but (IMO) the weak point of the engineering. If you take the case on and off regularly, the threads could potentially be stripped by the stainless steel screws.
As you can see, the iPhone is held securely in place by the corner guards. There are little strips of rubber that keep the iPhone from rubbing against the hard plastic and in place. It is a tight squeeze to insert the phone but better for it. Once inserted, there is no movement or wiggling around.
The case adds a beveled edge to both sides of the iPhone, thus not allowing the glass faces to touch whatever surface it is resting on. As you would expect, all four of the iPhone’s sides are very accessible due the design of the case. The right side allows easy access to the mute and volume buttons. This design does not seem to interfere with the iPhone’s antenna as much as the other metal cases I have reviewed.
The top allows for access to the power button and earbud port.
Like the leftside, the right of the case does not interfere with the iPhone’s antenna either.
The base also allows for easy access to the sync/dock port and does not interfere or block the iPhone’s speakers.
As you can see, the rails of the case do not get in the way of connecting the usb sync cable at all.
The Crimson Aluminum Frame Case design works with the dock connector on my Altec Lansing iMT800 MIX Boombox, something a majority of the aluminum iPhone cases have failed to be able to do.
Alright, I have to say it…..at least for me, the case feels horrible. It transforms your sleek and slim iPhone into a utilitarian, clunky brick. The frame edges stick out too far from both a bevel and side point of view. If I could redesign the case, I would reduce the bezel and make all the edges like the top and bottom, where the aluminum does not go beyond the iPhone itself. While it would not provide as much protection, it would give the case a much slimmer feel to it. I would leave the bumped out edges because they work well, add grip-ability and provide a good amount of protection at the corners.
Due to its non-antenna-interfering design, it does not degrade the cellular or wireless signal much at all. A definite plus when comparing this case to other metal iPhone cases. I used this case in the same test locations as my previous reviews and unlike others, the case did not impact my ability to send and receive calls in the marginal areas.
The Aluminum Frame Case costs $40. Considering Crimson includes front and back screen protectors for your iPhone, it is a pretty great deal. Even though I do not like the form factor of the case, it is well made and provides a good amount of protection at a cost effective price point.