Minimalist iPhone protectors don’t cut corners — they cover them

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So small, you almost can't see them. Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Bumpies are so small, you almost can't see them. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Bumpies border upon the nonexistent, and that’s why they are better than most other iPhone cases. Not that you could really count Bumpies as a case: They’re little stick-on corners that protect your iPhone’s extremities, and do it almost invisibly.

The metal ring for my Lensbaby still works, too.
The metal ring for my Lensbaby works with Bumpies installed.

Previously on Cult of Mac, we tested the Bezl, a set of four corners that do much the same as these new Bumpies, only they are — in comparison anyway — huge. Next to the Bumpies, Bezl looks like the iPhone 3G next to the iPhone 5 –- fat, rounded and old-fashioned.

Not that the Bezl case is bad. It’s just that the Bumpies are so much better.

Bumpies stick onto the corners of the iPhone 5/s and protect the phone from impact on those four delicate spots. The also extend around the front and back of the iPhone, wrapping the bezel just enough to stop the screen or rear panel from touching any surface you might lay the phone on.

The clever packaging
Plus: clever packaging!

I love this last part. I go caseless, but I hate laying my iPhone down on rough or dirty surfaces. Now, with the Bumpies, I can drop my iPhone 5 facedown on the kitchen table and not worry about getting honey or Marmite on the screen.

Fitting the Bumpies is also a better experience than the Bezl. As a reviewer, I am contractually bound never to read instructions until after something goes seriously wrong. With the Bumpies, you can’t go wrong. The packaging doubles as a template to guide the corners into their perfect spot. After opening the box, you clean your corners with the included alcohol swab, then slide the iPhone into the outer cardboard sleeve. The sleeve has cutouts at the corners, and you just line the Bumpies up with the gaps and press. After four goes, you’re done.

The box is also 100 percent recyclable, which is good as there’s a lot of cardboard in there. Even the ink is friendly, made from soy, and Bumpies’ Victor Chung tells me that the packaging alone took five months to get right.

Finally, the Bumpies win in one other area — accessories. You can’t use anything that requires a case, or that hugs the whole iPhone close, but the Bumpies are small enough that they don’t get in the way of dock accessories. I have a Bluelounge MiniDock that wouldn’t work with the Bezl, but is just fine with the Bumpies. Ditto the Samson Lighting mic I should use for Cult of Mac podcasts so I don’t sound like I’m calling in from a toilet cubicle.

The biggest recommendation I can make for the Bumpies is that i don’t want to take them off. I have to, eventually, because I need to review other iPhone cases and accessories that need to hug the entire iPhone. But I’ve put off a few case reviews this week already because I like the Bumpies so much. They’re so tiny that I almost never notice them, and yet so useful I’m always happy they’re there.

Also available for iPhone 4/s, and for the iPhone 6 when available. Recommended.

bumpies-4Bumpies by Bumpies ($24 list)
The good: So minimal they disappear, yet so smart they perform most of the function of a regular case.
The bad: Once they’re on, they’re on.
The verdict: My favorite minimalist iPhone “case,” from packaging to product.
Buy from Bumpies
  • Victor Chung

    Thanks you so much Charlie for the in-depth review of our Bumpies protectors. As you know, we worked really hard to make everything from our packaging to our products meaningful. We are ecstatic that you recognized our work and had a good experience. Customer service is very important to us, so if you need more adhesive so you can reapply your Bumpies protectors between case reviews, we will send you more of our special ProDyn/3M adhesive. Thanks again.

    • Mark Andersen

      This review has definitely piqued my interest. What color goes best with space gray? Black? Grey? What color does Charlie have in the review (from one angle it looks grey, from the other, black)?

      • Victor Chung

        I believe Charlie had both black and grey sets. It is all a matter of preference. If you like your Bumpies protectors to blend in with your phone, the grey ones work best. Black is our most popular color as it matches the black face of the phone. Personally, I prefer a little color to accent my phone. I started with black and white and moved to the blue and green as it gave my phone just enough color to make it pop. Bumpies protectors are extremely small, so the added color is just the right amount for me. I also like mixing and matching colors which is another option. Football season has started so I am now sporting my favorite team’s colors. Truly, you cannot go wrong, but I may be biased.

      • Mark Andersen

        Awesome. Thanks for the quick response! Any idea on when the iPhone 6 compatible ones will ship? I like to have the phone protected as fast as I can once I get it but I’m sure there’ll be some time between the release date of the phone and your product.

      • Victor Chung

        Totally understand. It can be daunting risking a naked phone but who wants to cover up such a beautiful piece of technological art especially when you just get the phone. We are expecting delivery by the week of Sept 22 for Bumpies protectors compatible with iPhone 6 and 1-2 weeks after for iPhone 6+. Our goal is to have things ready within a week after people receive their new phones. If a significant delay occurs, we will notify everyone. No charges will occur until we ship Bumpies protectors to you, so it is risk-free to pre-order. Hope this helps. Continue to reach out if you have any questions. We love communicating with our customers and our potential customers.

    • Ricardo Lopez

      Hi Victor,
      any way to buy the Bumpies from Spain? I tried to order but Spain is not available in the check out. Thanks.

      • Victor Chung

        Love that you are interested in purchasing Bumpies Protectors. I will reach out to my fulfillment team over the weekend to add in Spain. I will let you know the second we can ship to your wonderful country. Several of the Bumpies team spent many days in Barcelona and Madrid throughout the years. We love your country.

      • Ricardo Lopez

        Thanks for the quick answer. I wil wait for it.

      • Victor Chung

        Hi Ricardo. My fulfillment team informed me that, thanks to your request, we now ship to Spain. Please let me know if you run into any issues. Enjoy your Bumpies protectors!

      • Ricardo Lopez

        Thank you. I ordered them without problem.

  • Cool product and very creative thinking but $24 seems pretty steep. $9.99 would seem more reasonable

    • Victor Chung

      We believe the experience our customers have with Bumpies from the moment they receive their package to each time they get to enjoy their phone with the peace of mind of drop protection is worth the price. If an accident happens and our customers drop their phones, the feeling of relief when they see that their phones are okay is icing on the cake. To achieve such a customer experience takes painstaking engineering, design, and high-quality manufacturing. This is all rolled up into the price. The only way to truly convince you that the price is worth it is to ask you to take a chance and free your phone from cases with Bumpies. If you are not satisfied with the experience, you can return everything for a full refund as long as you adhere to our return policy (http://www.bumpies.co/bumpies-policies). We hope you take the leap. Thank you for your feedback.