REVIEW – You may have seen Element Case products through the years. They’ve been building cases for a while and always like to use cool materials in new ways. Their brand has always had this motorcycle and engineering vibe to it that’s resonated with me. Vapor S is one of their new cases for iPhone 11 Pro and I got the chance to check it out.
What is it?
The Vapor S from Element Case is a hyper-protective bumper case for the iPhone 11 Pro made from aluminum and polycarbonate.
What’s in the box?
- Vapor S case
- Back glass plate kit
- Custom hex tool
- 5 extra assembly screws
Materials: Aluminum front, polycarbonate back, elastomer ‘Dropshock’ corner bumpers
Dimensions: H 6.02 x W 3.19 x D 0.43 / H 15.3 x W 8.1 x D 1.1 cm | .08 lbs/.037 kg
Wireless charging: Yes!
Model compatibility: iPhone 11 Pro (available separately for iPhone 11 Pro Max)
Colors: Available in Graphite or Blue
Design and features
The Vapor S hugs the corners and sides of your phone leaving the front and back exposed but still very well protected.
The front face is CNCed aluminum and symmetrical other than button access with a relaxed chamfer on both sides of the bezel where your thumb is going to reach across.
The back half is made from polycarbonate and mirrors that chamfered effect, but its asymmetrical offset is exaggerated in a way that looks appropriate with the triple lens and helps keep things looking slender. The five screw holes give the case a burly, but engineered look.
Inside the of the back half are internal ‘Dropshock’ corners. These are softer elastomers designed to cushion your phone from most drops, but especially corner hits.
The bottom has openings for all the required sound and charging needs.
Button control is handled by aluminum buttons that are captive in the back half of the case.
Unlike most cases, the Vapor S requires a more involved process to get it on your phone.
1. Place the case face down and remove the 5 screws with the included hex tool.
2. Gently separate the two halves from the side with the volume buttons, and then nudge the back half outwards on the opposite side to clear a machined catch pointed at by the hex tool in this photo (This is the trickiest part).
Place your phone into the back half making sure to replace any of the Dropshock corners if they have fallen out.
Align the front half and press into place, and then hold both halves together and flip your phone onto its face.
Reinstall the 5 screws with the hex tool until they’re snug. Don’t over-tighten.
If you want to install the glass back plate, open up the kit which looks like this.
1. Place your phone face down with the case on and use the included wipe to clean the back (if needed) and then the cloth to dry and remove any smudges. The stickers can be used to lift any stray dust.
2. Peel the protective layer off the glass while holding the edges carefully.
3. Place the bottom edge of the glass against the inside edge of the case and then lower into place.
4. Press the glass down to adhere and use the cloth again to un-smudge.
The Vapor S is a beautifully built case. The contours feel good to hold and the inner edges of the bumper on the back give your index finger places to rest in supporting the weight of your phone.
Speaking of that, although the Vapor S seems pretty light, you will notice the weight increase. It’s got that quality heft to it that conveys value and the finishes on the aluminum and polycarbonate increase that feel.
The silence switch is easy to get to and the buttons push with a good click, but sit more or less flush with the sides instead of slightly proud. If you shake the phone, you can hear them rattling the tiniest bit leading me to believe that they could fine-tune that a bit further.
The glass back panel is a nice touch, but not something I would choose to use myself. It also fights with some static or vacuum effect and creates a visual pattern you can’t fully get rid of.
I installed it for this review, planning to use it for the duration, but it detached itself while my phone sat on the wireless charger overnight. I left it off. No issues charging by the way, either wirelessly or with a lightning cable.
The Vapor S is definitely aimed at users that will install it and then leave it on. If that’s you, this case rocks. From its functionality to its unique visual it will keep your phone safe garnering questions and comments along the way.
If you change your case with any frequency, it’s harder to recommend. I use a case specific mount when cycling that would mean this is coming on and off at least 3 times a week which would get annoying really fast.
What I like
- Quality and finish of the materials
- Bumper design look and open back
- Protection level
What I’d change
- Buttons rattle slightly
- Installation/removal could be easier for multiple case users
- Glass back did not stay on
Vapor S from Element Case continues in their tradition of making unique cases that use high quality materials and have a striking look to them. There’s a ton of protection with good functionality with the only trade off being an involved install and removal process. If this one’s for you it should outlast the phone you put it on.