I recently purchased a new iPhone 5 to use as my personal/work phone. I did a lot of research before I made the financial commitment to purchase that phone. One of the first things I did after deciding to buy my new phone was to research ways to protect it. There are a lot of choices on the market for phone protection, everything from a basic screen protector to a hard-core ruggedized waterproof case. The AluFrame iPhone 5 case from Just Mobile seems to fall into the basic protection category. Just Mobile products should not be unknown to loyal Gadgeteer readers, as we have had the opportunity to review several of their products in the past. So when they offered to let us test and review their new AluFrame for the iPhone 5, I jumped at the opportunity.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
Although Just Mobile has been making accessories for the iPhones, iPads, and Macs for a while this seems to be their first case for any of these products.
The Aluframe comes packaged in a sleek-looking box that contains the following
screen protectors for the front and back of the phone
a microfiber cleaning cloth
a squeegee to help apply the screen protector
an instruction manual
a Just Mobile sticker
The case itself is made out of Aerospace grade aluminum, comes in either black or silver, measures 5.08 x 2.52 x 0.38 inches, and weighs 0.88 ounces.
As you can see from the above picture, the AluFrame is hinged on the right side to allow the user to insert the iPhone 5 into the frame. The inside of the frame has a rubber or rubber-like material to help the case fit snuggly to the phone.
Installing the phone into the case was a rather simple matter; you press the release mechanism in the lower left side of the case, swing it open, and insert the phone following the included directions. Installing the screen protectors, on the other hand, was not as easy. Let me preface the next part by saying this: I have never found an easy way to install screen protectors. No matter how careful I am, I always seem to end up with one or two little air bubbles. So, when I attempted to install the included screen protectors, I ended up with bubbles in them. The one issue I did have with this process was the fact that I did not see any instructions on how to properly install the screen protectors. Finally, after a few attempts at putting the screen protectors on, I finally gave into frustration and scrapped the idea of using the included screen protectors.
The fit to my iPhone was spot on.
On the left side of the case you will see a cut out for the mute switch, the volume rocker cover, and the latch that opens and closes the case. The opening for the mute switch is ample enough for me to use, but it may be an issue if you have thick fingers. The volume switch cover works great and is raised so you can feel it without looking at it. The release latch is flush with the case so you should not have an issue of mistakenly opening the case.
The right side of the case is rather un-exciting but you will see the Just Mobile logo and the case’s hinge.
The top of the case has a raised on/off button. The button action is solid and responsive.
The bottom of the case has a cutout to accommodate the power port, the headphone port, and the speakers. The only issue I have with this design is the inability to accommodate all my headphone jacks. The Apple EarPods fit into the frame nicely, but when I tried some of my other headphones, I found that the jack would not seat all the way into the headphone port with the AluFrame on. I will note this is not a unique problem to the AluFrame, but it is something you should be aware of if you are planning to purchase it.
So, here are my thoughts on the Just Mobile AluFrame. I like it for what it is – a basic, stylish, quality iPhone 5 protective case. The design is elegant and well thought out. The case itself is easy to put on the iPhone 5 and requires no tools for installation. The finish and materials used for the case seem high-quality and first-rate. As a basic protective device for your iPhone 5, you can’t go wrong with the AluFrame.
Other than the basic issues I mentioned before (that are more of a personal issue with the screen protector and earphone jack), the only thing I can see as a possible negative to this product is the price. At $69.95, the AluFrame is on what I would consider the high-end of the pricing spectrum for this type of product. Having said that I will say this: you often get what you pay for, and the AluFrame may just be worth that price.