California based EDGE design gives iPhone 4S owners who don’t want their phones to look like all the other iPhones out there, another way to customize them. Their Alfa case pairs an aluminum frame with a polymer band to create a unique look without compromising signal strength like some metal cases do. Let’s take a closer look.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
The Alfa case is made of 6063 Aluminum-Magnesium Alloy, which is stronger than the often touted “Aircraft Aluminum”. These cases are available in 6 anodized colors. I was sent the Grey version of the case. The case is paired with an interchangeable polymer band which is available in 8 different colors. I was sent the Green, Black and Blue bands.
The frame has a brushed matte finish that gives it an industrial look. The Black area that you see is a soft liner that protects the back glass of the iPhone from rubbing against the aluminum when you’re sliding it in and out.
The back side of the frame has a cut out for the camera and LED flash. It also has the Edge logo etched into it.
The frame is light weight and thin, but is rigid and strong. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all.
To install the iPhone, you just slide it into the frame from the bottom opening.
Next comes the interchangeable polymer band which is flexible and tough, but not stretchy.
The band has hooks built into it that match with the slats in the frame, so you can wrap it around the Alfa and snap it securely in place.
The result looks like a sci-fi inspired iPhone.
The beveled frame does not interfere with the touch screen or the home button.
Camera functions remain unchanged as well.
Problems start to crop up when you take a look at the left side of the phone. Although there is a rectangular cut out for the mute and volume buttons, the top and bottom edges of the band cause the cut out to be slightly too narrow. It’s tough to access the buttons with your thumb while you’re holding the phone in your left hand.
There isn’t any problems with the opposite side of the case.
The top edge has cut outs for the power button and earphone jack. There’s no issue with accessing the earphone jack, but pressing the power button is slightly more difficult while in the case due to the material around the button.
The cut out on the bottom the Alfa works fine when used with a sync cable, but doesn’t work well at all if you use a dock. I use a Z-dock both at home and work, so I had to unsnap the band every time I needed to charge my phone while I was testing this case. This quickly became annoying.
While testing this case, I didn’t notice any obvious issues with the signal strength of my iPhone. Some metal cases definitely can cause iPhones to lose a bar or two, but the polymer band used with the Alfa seems to solve that issue. At least it seemed that way during the time I was using the case. Verizon’s signal is always all over the place, so I’m not 100% certain that this case has absolutely no signal issues. My best guess is that it doesn’t.
I could probably deal with the less than optimal button access and maybe even the restricted access to the docking connector, but the one thing that keeps me from really embracing this case is that the edges are too “sharp”. When I say sharp, I don’t mean that the edges will cut your hand, but when you’re holding the iPhone in this case, it just doesn’t feel inviting or comfortable. The $100 + price tag is would keep me from wanting to buy it too.
If the price tag and the issues I discussed don’t scare you away, the EDGE design Alfa case will protect the sides and back of your iPhone from everyday wear and tear, while giving it a spacey look that will set it appart from your BFF’s iPhone.