AL13 AeroSpace Aluminum Bumper for iPhone 5 review

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Having become a recent convert to the iPhone 5, I am always looking for ways to accentuate and protect my investment. I have gone the extreme route with full waterproof and shockproof covers, but I have come to realize that I may not need that much protection. So, after reviewing another aluminum iPhone 5 bumper (see the Just Mobile AluFrame link in the Related Posts at the end of this review), I am getting a chance to review the AL13 AeroSpace Aluminum Bumper for the iPhone 5 by designed by m.

Note: All images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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I am seeing many different types of iPhone 5 bumpers on the market today that are made out of various materials and with various ingenious ways to apply the bumpers to the iPhone. The AL13 AeroSpace Aluminum Bumper for the iPhone 5 is made of Aerospace aluminum, so it is lightweight and sturdy. The bumper features a simple but elegant slide on/off back design that allows you to apply and remove the bumper easily.

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The bumper weighs in at .49 ounces and measures approximately 5″ tall, 2 7/16″ wide, and 5/16″ thick. The AL13 comes with:

  • Clear protective film for the front and back
  • A cleaning cloth
  • A squeegee for applying the protective films
  • An aluminum shipping box

It is available in gun metal, slate, blue, silver, and red.

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As you can see, the AL13 is designed to allow the rear of the case to slide off. Doing this allows the iPhone to be placed into the case without the use of tools or fasteners. The inside of the bumper is also lined to provide a snug fit and to help protect the iPhone’s finish. The fit and finish of the AL13 is good; all the edges fit flush and snug when put together.

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On top of the AL13 is a cutout to allow you access to the on/off button

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The bottom of the AL13 has an ample cutout for the speakers, Lightning port, and headphone jack. The cutout for the earphone plug is rather narrow. While the provided Apple EarPods work great, other third party earphones may not be able to be completely plugged into the earphone plug. You should consider this if you plan on using third-party earphones with the AL13.

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There is nothing really special about the right side of the AL13, other than the designed by m logo.

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The left side of the AL13 has a cutout for the volume buttons and mute switch. There is also the AL13 logo towards the bottom left side.

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The front and the back of the AL13 are fairly similar, except for the sliding back piece that allows you to put your iPhone into the bumper.

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As mentioned above, the AL13 AeroSpace Aluminum Bumper comes in a great aluminum box. This box can be handy to keep knickknacks in after you put the AL13 on your iPhone. The protective film that comes with the AL13 seems to be of good quality. I do not use protective films, as I can never seem to get them installed properly, and Apple themselves have previously stated that you should not need them. That being said, I do have an issue with the included protective film. The protective film does not come with any instructions on how to properly apply it to your iPhone.

So, what are my views on the AL13 AeroSpace Aluminum Bumper? It is a nice stylish bumper case. The fit to my iPhone is good, but not great. I find that my iPhone does move a little in the bumper, but unless you are specifically looking for this issue it should not be noticeable. The materials and finishes seem to be high quality. The ease of putting on and removing this bumper is a nice plus. One question I have been asked about the AL13 while testing it concerns the loss of cell phone signal. I did not notice any major loss of signal during my testing, but the designed by m website does say that some loss of signal is possible. The one real concern I have about the AL13 is the price. At $79.99, this case seems to be on the high end of the aluminum iPhone 5 bumper spectrum.

 

Product Information

Price:$79.99
Manufacturer:designed by m
Requirements:
  • iPhone 5
Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Several color choices
  • Good quality materials
Cons:
  • Pricey
Posted in: Cases, Covers, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews

4 comments… add one

  • Robert Nicholson August 22, 2013, 12:28 am

    I bought one of these and it sits here collecting dust. It costs you at least one full bar of signal.

  • David Goldenberg September 8, 2013, 11:45 am

    I was an original backer of this product.
    I had to return it because I lost 2 bars of signal strength when installed.

    I have read many reviews and I can’t understand why I rarely see any mention of this problem under ” CONS”

  • Larry Geisz September 8, 2013, 12:36 pm

    @ David Goldenberg – I guess for some people (me included) its a matter of the type of cell reception you get. A one bar loss of signal is not a significant issue to me as I always seem to have a good signal wherever I go. I did note that signal loss was possible, but I have seen as much or little loss using various other case types…

  • David Goldenberg September 8, 2013, 4:17 pm

    Larry-
    Thanks for response.
    Maybe the problem is more
    Pronounced for me whereby I live and work on coast 17 miles north of Boston.
    As a kickstarter backer I was totally bummed that I had to put it back in the box.
    On another note, I loved your review.

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