I put an Apple Bumper Case on my iPhone 4 the second I bought it. I really like that style of case, because it provides some protection without completely engulfing the sleek iPhone inside a huge case. I’ve admired the beautiful machined metal bumper-style cases that have been reviewed here on The Gadgeteer. I was very happy to be selected to try out a metal case for myself when Xtrucase sent one of their Duo Slider cases for iPhone 4/4S. How does it perform? Will it replace my Bumper?
The Duo Slider case is made of CNC (computer numerical controlled) machined 6061-T6 Swiss Imported Aircraft Grade Aluminum. There are several anodized finishes available, including some styles with Swarovski crystals. I received the the Blazing Orange color, which is a bright, clear, metallic orange. It’s a beautiful case. So beautiful that my case-hating daughter begged me for the Duo Slider as soon as she saw it.
The Duo Slider case measures 4.7″ long X 2.5″ wide X 0.5″deep and weighs 0.71 ounce. It’s heavier than the Apple Bumper Case, which weighs 0.32 ounce. The edges on the Duo Slider aren’t as rounded as those on the Bumper, so it feels different in my hand. It’s not uncomfortable to hold, just a bit different than I’m used to.
Unlike many metal cases, the Duo Slider doesn’t require that you screw it together around the phone. As the name suggests, the back of this case slides off. You push the phone into the case, slide the back on, and make sure it snaps together. The back stays on securely. I’ve had no problems with the back sliding loose while I’m using the phone.
The phone fits snugly into the Duo Slider. I had to push my iPhone 4 to get it into the case, but not so hard that I was afraid I’d break the back glass. The interior of the case has synthetic rubber pads to protect the metal sides of the phone. The rubber pads are probably designed to prevent contact between the metal of the case and the iPhone’s metal antenna, too.
The only installation instructions for the metal case were printed on the back of the package insert. The Duo Slider came with two “Crystal Laminate Protective Film” screen protectors – one for the touch screen and one for the back. There were no installation instructions for these films. I got them lined up well, but I did end up with quite a bit of dust underneath both films. (I do not do wet installations for screen protectors. After my daughter killed two MacBook Pros in less than a year by spilling water on them, I can barely allow water in my house. ) Ignoring the dust bubbles, the screens are clear and they have a good feel. They don’t cause your finger to “drag” as you swipe the screen.
The back cover has a cutout for the back camera and flash. It didn’t interfere with taking photos. The front piece has cutouts for the home button, the telephone speaker, and the front facing camera. The proximity sensor is covered by the film.
It was easy to slide my phone in the Duo Slider front piece. The back piece slid into place and snapped closed. I think the case looks very nice installed on my white iPhone 4. I would have personally preferred the red Duo Slider, but the orange appeals to my daughter. Orange is one of her favorite colors, and she has Apple’s orange Bumper for her iPhone 4.
The case has a rim that fits over onto the front and the back of the iPhone. This keeps the glass surface off the tabletop when you lay your phone down. This will help prevent scratches to the glass, even if you choose not to apply the screen protectors.
The cutout for the mute slider and volume buttons is large enough that I am able to use them with no problems. There’s a large piece of the synthetic rubber that shows through a large cutout below the volume buttons. The only branding on this case is the Xtrucase name on this rubber piece.
The opposite side has three cutouts. The middle one gives you access to the SIM card drawer on AT&T phones; the other two are simply for design symmetry. I have a Verizon iPhone 4, which has no SIM card drawer, so these slots are purely decorative for my phone.
The bottom of the case has a big opening to expose the 30-pin connector, the speaker, and the microphone for the phone function. I was able to charge my iPhone with the cable while the iPhone was in the Duo Slider case. I can’t test the fit in a dock, because I don’t have one.
The top has a silver button that covers the iPhone’s sleep/wake button. It’s easy to use this button to wake up my iPhone. There’s a large, keyhole-shaped cutout for the headphone jack and the top microphone. My earphones have a straight plug, and I was able to plug them in with no problems. I would image the keyhole shape would give a little extra room so you could plug in earphones with a right-angle plug. I’m not sure why it has to be quite so big, though. (You can also see some of my dust bubbles in the screen protector in the bottom picture.)
The case looks beautiful on the phone, but simply sliding the phone into the front piece of the metal case caused my iPhone to drop one signal strength bar, sometimes two bars. I can regain the bars simply by removing the case from my iPhone. I’m lucky to live in an area with good service, so I can still make phone calls that sound clear with the case on the iPhone. If you live somewhere with poor service, you might find yourself without a signal with the Duo Slider case in place. I think this is true of most every metal case, though, at least the one’s I’ve seen reviewed.
If you’d love to have a metal case for your iPhone 4 or 4S that comes in a variety of beautiful anodized finishes, one that goes on and off easily without using tools, and if you can afford a slight loss of signal strength without dropping calls, you can’t go wrong with the Xtrucase Duo Slider. I really like the case, but it hasn’t replaced my Bumper Case. It’s replaced my daughter’s Bumper case.