I have been riding motorcycles for nearly three decades and during that time I have owned several Ducatis that were fast, fun, and very nice/zippy looking. And while this iPhone 5/5S case is not really fast or as fun as a 998, it is very nice looking without a doubt. The folks at DRACOdesigns have partnered with Ducati to create the VENTARE A, a sleek aluminum and polycarbonate iPhone 5/5S bumper case. Their goal was to not only design a case that will protect your smartphone but add a bit of Italian flare to your iPhone along the way.
The VENTARE is constructed of four main body pieces held together by four aluminum bolts. The top and base are constructed of a hard plastic and sides are made from aircraft aluminum CNC machined for the perfect fit and form.
The bolts feed through the plastic end pieces, screwing into the aluminum sides. Installing the iPhone 5 into the bumper case is relatively quick and easy but does require two hands and a bit of coordination. Place one of the sides on the iPhone then work your way around the phone bolting the pieces together as you go. Or you can put together two L’s, each with an end and side, then put them together and add the final two bolts. Be careful not to torque the bolts too much, which might strip the soft aluminum metal.
The top and bottom are constructed of a dense, rigid polycarbonate that in theory should help to reduce possible radio field interference. The sides are made of airplane grade aluminum (A6061) anodized and available in six colors. Shock-absorbing pads inside the bumper function as cushions for shock resistance, and the external add-on buttons improve accessibility to the iPhone’s buttons. The pads also keep the metal of the case from marring the aluminum edges of the iPhone 5/5S.
The VENTARE is very similar in shape and protectiveness as DRACOdesign’s original Draco 5 I reviewed last year. According to DRACOdesign, the aluminum sides “use inward curve line structure that is ergonomic and comfortable to hold with”.
As you can see, the black polycarbonate top and bottom pieces fit perfectly into the CNC cut aluminum sides. The VENTARE was designed to add 1mm of surface/height protection to the face and back of the iPhone 5/5S. The face overhang is negated with my Spigen tempered glass screen protector. Which for me is more of a plus than anything, I do not really like the case ridge, and the relatively thick glass screen protector enables my thumb to travel across the screen without bumping into the edges of the case.
The left side has push throughs for the mute switch and volume rocker machined into the aluminum. This is nicely engineered, and both work well. DRACOdesign is etched into the coloring of the metal.
The right side has a cutout allowing access to the iPhone’s SIM card slot. The hole is well finished, functional, and hardly noticeable while using your iPhone.
The base has a cutout for the 3.5mm audio/earbud plug, microphone and speaker grills, and Lightning port. The hole on the right is a hard-point for a lanyard. Like most other protective cases, the headphone port accommodates straight but not L-shaped/angled plugs.
As I mentioned earlier, the height of the bumper is designed to be 1 mm above and below the phone, which provides scratch and impact resistance for the surface of the phone when set on surfaces. In my case, the Spigen tempered glass screen protector is flush with the lip of the raised edges of the VENTARE bumper case.
The VENTARE A case has a similar design, look and feel as the Draco 5 bumper case, though the VENTARE A has greater curve to the sides and more massive corners. Both have a great feel and fit the iPhone 5 like a glove. There is zero movement of the iPhone once securely installed within the VENTARE case.
Even though the polycarbonate top and base pieces of the VENTARE are supposed to minimize signal loss, I did find, that while not as bad as other metal bumper cases, it did cause my iPhone to drop into 3G in places where I would typically have 2-3 bars of LTE. That said, I was able to make and receive calls normally with perhaps just one, maybe two extra dropped conversations while using this case. Both were in locations with marginal coverage.
The DRACOdesign VENTARE A is available in: black, gold, gray, red, white, and silver. Understandably so, the “DUCATI” labeling is definitely front and center on this case, though not heinously so. However I can see non-Ducati owning folks potentially wanting the option to purchase the VENTARE sans the labeling. Too bad DRACO does not include a blank base piece to give people the choice…
Overall, the DRACOdesign VENTARE A is a very nice polycarbonate and machined-aluminum bumper case with sleek lines. It definitely adds solid, very grip-able protection to the iPhone 5/5S. It is perfectly fitted for the iPhone without much signal loss. I can see this being THE accessory for those Ducati-riding iPhone 5 users out there.