updated 09:33 pm EST, Fri February 8, 2013
Case Logic Ag++ iPhone 5 Metal Bumper offers design flare, protection
We recently saw the Case Logic Ag++ Metal Bumper for iPhone 5 on The Fancy, where it captured our interest. This is because one of the challenges for iPhone owners is to find a case that helps to keep it safe from knocks and scratches while also somehow managing to preserve its beauty. The Ag++ undeniably looks like it might fit the bill at first glance, but what it's like first hand?
The package comes with the Ag++ Metal Bumper connected, but requires them to be unscrewed using the suppled hex key. Also supplied is a spare screw and two carbon-fibre look rear skins, one silver the other black. The bumper itself is made from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum that will add 20 grams to the overall weight of your iPhone 5. Given the iPhone 5 weighs just 112 grams, the combined bumper and iPhone 5 still weighs less than the iPhone 4S, which comes in at 140 grams without a case.
The bumper slides on in two stages, starting with the rear. We were concerned about the potential for metal on metal contact damaging our iPhone 5 until it became apparent that there is an inner protective sleeve that provides a safe buffer. In a couple of minutes, and after making sure that the bumper was applied correctly so that access to the ports and buttons was not impeded, the bumper was in position.
The Ag++ feels surprisingly comfortable in the hand with angles and cambers combining to make gripping and holding the iPhone 5 easier than simply holding it on its own. The asymetrical shape works equally well in either a left-handed or right-handed grip. It also seems to be effective in reducing the liklihood of accidentally dropping the iPhone as it also has a textured surface that creates a natural resistive effect in the hand.
When combined with one of the carbon-look skins, there is no question that the Ag++ looks fantastic. It is has a distinctive and highly attractive appearance with genuine design flare. Yet, it will also do a good job of keeping your iPhone 5 safe from knicks and scratches on the most vulnerable part of the handset, its outer bezel. However, there are a few downsides that are somewhat disappointing and which detract from the overal user experience.
There is a flange at the top and bottom of the case that, while looking cool, impedes aspects of the usability of the case. For example, the on/off button on the top right of the handset is impeded slightly, requiring a user to use their fingernail to activate the button. We also found that our 3.5mm audo cable didn't fit into its socket, despite being accessible, because of the length of the overhang. The leading edge of each of the joins was also a little sharp when sliding our thumb up and down it.
These are annoyances mar what would otherwise be a stellar bumper from a purely design perspective. However, if you are willing to accept these ergonomic oddities, you will find that there will be more than one or two people coming up to ask you what it is that you have got on your iPhone. It remains worth considering, especially if you want help keep your iPhone protected, but in a way that is still aesthetically pleasing. The Case Logic Ag++ achieves a rare feat in the world of iPhone cases - enhancing the appearance of your iPhone, while also giving it decent protection without adding unnecessary bulk.
By Sanjiv Sathiah