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What does $240 get you in an iPhone case?

Dan Frakes | May 2, 2014
As usual, the aisles at last month's Macworld/iWorld show were chock full of vendors hawking iPhone cases.

I called the Bumper "near-seamless," as it does have one seam. The bottom half-inch separates from the rest of the Bumper to allow for installation. You slide your iPhone up into the main section of the Bumper, being careful not to dislodge the volume-button overlays and the Ring/Silent pass-through switch. You then install the bottom piece and secure it using two tiny screws. (Squair includes the appropriate precision screwdriver in the box.) Once you've done this, there's absolutely no movement or flexing. It's a fantastic fit, and even after several (unintentional) drops onto tile, asphalt, and concrete, the Bumper still felt like an extension of the phone itself.

Speaking of feel, with the Bumper on, the iPhone 5s feels a bit wider and taller, but smoother and more streamlined — the Bumper sits perfectly flush with the front of the phone. You could imagine this being the actual shape of a phone (think 2014 iPhone 3S), rather than a phone with a bumper. It also feels nice in the hand, although the smooth finish does make the phone quite a bit more slipperyit's easier to slide in and out of pockets and purses, but it requires a firmer grip. On the back, there's a slight recession between the bumper and the back of the phone. This recessed design feels a bit odd at first, especially in comparison with the flush front, but it doesn't look wrong, and it means that the back of your phone is protected from scratching when you set the phone down.

The Bumper features precision-cut overlays, also made of duralumin, for the Sleep/Wake button, Ring/Silent switch, and volume buttons. These feel like actual hardware buttons on a phone, and they all worked perfectly in my testing. My only complaint here is that the volume-button overlays protrude ever-so-slightly more than the iPhone's actual volume buttons, so I sometimes accidentally squeezed the volume buttons when grabbing the phone — not an issue if the phone is asleep, but an occasional inconvenience if I forgot to sleep the phone before carrying it in my hand with other items.

The bottom of the case features a cutout that exposes the iPhone's Lightning-connector port, speakers, microphone, and headphone jack. The cutout is small enough that large headphone plugs won't fit, but those that match the size of the plug on Apple's stock earbuds fit fine. In order to preserve the Bumper's profile, Squair uses a recessed cutout, rather than simply exposing the entire bottom of the phone. It's an attractive approach, but it does have one drawback: If, like me, you tend to hold your phone with your pinky along the bottom edge, you may find the bottom edge of the Bumper, where it's cut away, to be uncomfortably sharp.

 

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