Provides: Drop protection for iPhone 4/4S Developer:Crimson Design Co. Compatibility: iPhone 4/4S Price: $39.99 Availability: Now
Aluminum is quite a popular term in the Apple pantheon these days; it’s hard to find an Apple product that isn’t shelled by it in some way. So, it seems like a natural for your iPhone case to made of aluminum as well, right? Maybe. Although light, it’s not the easiest material to form, and many manufacturers end up with products that make your iPhone feel clunky to hold and use. Crimson managed to avoid a couple of these issues with one great design decision and with a good choice of supplemental materials.
Crimson’s Aluminum iPhone case is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, and weighs in at only 19 grams. That’s pretty impressive, but weight has never been a concern of mine when it comes to reviewing iPhone cases; it’s not as if they’ve ever added five pounds to the iPhone’s weight. Rather, I’m worried about design, protection and functionality. Let’s take a look at each.
The design of the Aluminum iPhone case is quite sharp, mainly due to the metallic color options. You can get the case in black, red, silver, polished gold, 24K gold plate, chrome, orange, pink and purple. I prefer the more colorful options over the gold/silver/chrome models (my review unit was the red model), but they all look pretty good. The colors are accented by the silver corner screws and the black resin corner guards, all of which work quite well with your iPhone’s natural styling.
Protection from drop damage is provided by the corner guards and by the slight rise that prevents your iPhone’s screen and back from coming into contact with surfaces. Because the screen and back are exposed, Crimson includes anti-fingerprint surface protectors for front and rear (different screen protectors are available for purchase). The protection isn’t as good as you’d get from silicon cases or those that provide more surface coverage, but it’s above average for a frame case.
And that brings us to functionality, where the Aluminum iPhone Case makes some nice design decisions, but still falls victim to the nature of the style. The best part is that the bottom of the frame is nearly flush with the phone itself, meaning it’s easy to dock the iPhone while it’s in the case (provided your dock isn’t form fitted to the iPhone, of course). This is huge, because, like other aluminum cases I’ve used, you have to unscrew the frame to remove it. The Crimson Aluminum iPhone case actually uses eight screws, but you only need to remove four to get the phone out. Still, that’s a hassle, and if I had to do it every night when docking the iPhone with my alarm clock, it’d be a definite deal killer. Here, it’s not an issue. And because the top and side button areas are also recessed, access to buttons is not an issue, either.
The sides do rise 1/16th of an inch away from the phone, which is good for scratch protection, but slightly uncomfortable to hold. You’ll need to get used to that.
I’m also pleased with the peripherals included. The stainless steel screws are stronger than others I’ve used, and didn’t strip at all. Two extras are included (they’re tiny, and therefore quite easy to lose), along with a hex wrench that is much easier to use than the more commonly included Allen wrench. A cleaning cloth is thrown in for good measure.
The best part of all this, though, is that the Crimson Aluminum iPhone Case is only $39.95 for the color models, $59.95 for chrome, and $69.95 for the 24K gold plate model. This means it’s something you can use for your main case while also justifying the purchase of another case for more intense iPhone travel and use. It’s still not a case you’ll want if you have to frequently remove your iPhone for various reasons (for placement in a window mount or speaker dock, for example), but if your case stays on pretty much permanently, the combination of the Aluminum iPhone Case and Crimson’s screen protectors (or the skin of your choice) is an attractive, safe way to go.