ElementCase specializes in making highly personalized aluminum products for iOS devices. They’ve created some of the best iPhone cases in the past, both in terms of design and functionality, and have recently released the luxurious Joule iPad stand.
The Vapor4 case for iPhone 4 is the latest addition to their catalogue, and for me, it’s love at first sight.
What’s Good?: Design. It’s a gorgeous two-piece frame built completely from aluminum that goes all around the device and is held together by four tiny screws. The case is so stylish that every other case simply looks old and clunky in comparison.
The fact that it’s built from aluminum really adds to the luxury factor as well as the ruggedness of the product — the craftsmanship is flawless. It comes with a built-in power/sleep button made of brushed aluminum. *DROOL*
Even with the case on, everything from volume buttons to the SIM card slot are accessible.
It’s clearly a much more sleek design compared to its predecessors. And even with the reduced bulk, it does the job of protecting the device well. The extra padding will prevent the phone from most normal drops (phew!)
Undoubtedly, it’s the only case that makes the device look better than a nude iPhone 4. It even includes a pocket wrench to remove or apply the case!
What’s Bad?: Although designed like Apple’s own bumper case, it doesn’t fix the Antennagate issue. In fact, this only aggravates the problem. As soon as you put the iPhone inside the case, the signal strength goes haywire. However, I haven’t had any dropped calls with the phone inside the case.
As far as iPhone’s compass is concerned, don’t even try using the iPhone’s GPS inside the case! You might just find yourself falling off a cliff or something… seriously.
The most annoying bit is that the dock connector becomes way too recessed with the case on. So, if you are a dock user of any kind, you’ll have to remove the case each time you want to dock the device, which will probably make you want to pull your hair out!
Similarly, the headphone jack connector too becomes recessed and might not work with some earphones. :/
Lastly, at $80, it isn’t exactly cheap!
Conclusion: The Vapor4 is a great looking case. In fact, it’s the best of the lot. However, the stylish design isn’t enough to overshadow the many shortcomings in the functionality of the product. With an $80 price tag, this case is recommended ONLY if you prefer style over substance. Otherwise, just stay away!