When I decided to get the iPhone 5S, I knew that I had to have the gold version. Not only was it ‘rare’ at the time, but it just looked different. Since then, I’ve been looking for a nice bumper frame to go along with my phone so I can show off my phone yet still have some protection. The gold Just Mobile Aluframe not only matches my iPhone, but since it’s made of aluminum, it should protect my phone as well. Let’s see how well it does.
In the package was the frame, user guide (which was a booklet on Just Mobile products), and a screen protector. Putting it on was simple. You just seat it into place. I placed the bottom end in first, as it just seemed the easiest. Once you have the phone sitting nicely, you just move the rest of the frame into the right position, and the clasp will click into place.
Once installed, it looks gorgeous. It matches the gold iPhone perfectly. The hinge and clasp area are on opposite ends of the case, so while they are visible, they are balanced and don’t detract from the overall look of the case. Taking the case off was pretty easy as well. You press down on the edge of the clasp closest to the volume controls and the other end will pop up, unlocking the case and allowing you to open it up. If you have problems getting it open, you may need to slide your fingernail under the area that pops up and pull it out just a hair more. I had to do that about 30% of the time.
I loved the volume controls, because they felt natural and easy to press down. The ring/vibrate switch was easy to access and was centered well in the cutout. You can see in the above picture that the case comes up slightly from the phone. It’s the same on the front as well, and that lip is tall enough that it should protect the face of your phone along with the back from damage if dropped.
The other side of the case is plain and simple, except for the hinge and the Just Mobile logo.
On the top, there is a built-in button for the wake/sleep button. I prefer this to having a cutout, as it makes pressing the button much easier. The button worked flawlessly, and it was just as well done as the volume controls.
Ah, big cutouts for the Lightning port, speakers, and headphone jack! All companies need to follow this example, as nearly every set of headphones fit in here (the only ones that didn’t had a huge plug that no case could accommodate), and all of my charging cables fit without any issues.
I’ve written quite a few good things about this case: it’s stylish, lightweight, easy to use, and has big cutouts for charging and headphones. But it’s aluminum, and there is one similarity I’ve found with every case I’ve used that is metal – signal degradation. Sadly, the Just Mobile Aluframe experiences heavy loss in 4G speeds (nearly half the speed that you’d normally get), but the cell signal was barely affected. This is definitely better than the last aluminum case I reviewed, as it dropped two bars and down to 3G signal consistently. This one will still allow for low-end 4G speeds, at least in the Seattle area.
Overall, I loved this case. I just wish they could find a way to reduce the signal degradation. For the price you pay, they should have developed a way to dampen it, whether it’s putting rubber at the hinge points and having them directly over the antenna, and adding said rubber to the other two antenna spots, or something else. When you are spoiled by fast 4G speeds, it’s quite noticeable when the speed is cut in half! While I love the case, and it’s super stylish, I will most likely not use it much in the future, or when I do, I’ll have to remove it to play my online games or browse the web, which sort of defeats the purpose of a case.