Product Type: Apple Mobile Phone Case
Newest Review: ... snugly around the phone with all the needed gaps to access the volume buttons, on/off button and headphone socket. It is a very elegant... more
Bumps 'n' Boo-boos Begone?
Apple iPhone 4 Bumper
Member Name: johnpeter50
Apple iPhone 4 Bumper
Advantages: Surprisingly adequate shielding, modest design, helps signal attenuation, free for early adopters
Disadvantages: Doesn't offer comprehensive protection, retail price is too expensive, connector issues.
It's difficult to remember who hurled the first stone. Bloggers leaked the iPhone 4 design early, landing an editor in seriously hot water; Steve Jobs responded with 'not-so-nice' comments regarding the blogging community and their authenticity as a news source; then the community made a video showing the signal dipping on the phone that the blogosphere syndicated into a delightful media frenzy.
Regardless of the events that transpired, it seems that the result has been an Apple 'mea culpa' and a free case for all those that have purchased an iPhone 4 thus far. Included in the selection is Apple's very own 'bumper': a sleeve that guards the edges of the Smartphone. But is the protection offered adequate enough, and does it detract from the device's overall beauty?
Those who've read my review of the iPhone 4 will note that while I loved Jony Ives' new creation, it didn't seem quite as delightful as the original iteration with its slick bevels. The bumper, a mix of rigid plastic and flexible rubber, easily affixes to the sides of the phone softening the edges to give it a more curved flavour.
Surprisingly, it still looks rather elegant without the stainless steel trim, although the choice of bumper colour directly affects just how tasteful the resulting combination appears.
Does the design help with signal attenuation? Yes, without question. While the bars still dip (after all, you're still covering the antenna with your hand), they do so at a far less erratic rate. Even in a 'death grip' stance my phone still displays at least two bars and, in a first for me, has been known to climb back up to three!
There's a simple reason why Apple named the device 'bumper' and not 'case'. A 'case' conjures up the image of fortification and security, whilst the Apple bumper offers virtually nothing at all in the way of front/rear protection. Dropping the device from your sweaty palms won't necessarily save you from a cracked screen.
That said, from relatively low heights, you'd be amazed at how efficiently it evades damage. The phone slipping from your lap to the floor no longer means an instant call to your provider with insurance details. Although I've avoided throwing the phone around too much, there are plenty of videos on YouTube demonstrating the efficacy of the bumper at heights of 6 foot or more.
While I couldn't guarantee that your phone wouldn't land awkwardly and shatter, it certainly seems to be far more successful than initial naysayers gave it credit for.
BUTTONS & CONNECTIONS
The sleeve design fits quite snugly over the phone, with the raised rubber edge keeping the phone from coming in to contact with the surface beneath. This is helpful when it comes to resting the iPhone on slippery textures like glass and marble.
The bumper has raised metal switches for both the power and volume buttons. This helps to retain a professional finish and feel whilst giving good access to the toggles below.
The only real negative has to be the impact the casing has on the connectors. Yes, Apple failed to take into account the added size of the bumper, so the phone won't start syncing with your dock without removing the casing first; yet another short-sighted move on Apples' part and something I've already covered extensively in my iPhone 4 review.
Similarly, anything but slender fitting 3.5mm jacks will present a problem. Of the half dozen earbuds and headphones I have lying around the house, half won't fit - there simply isn't the clearance required for a successful connection!
VALUE FOR MONEY
And here's the final rub. While I'm more than happy with my free case, complete with antenna-correcting properties, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend forking out £25 for the official bumper; there simply isn't enough of it to warrant that high asking price.
Early iPhone 4 adopters should (and I think will) be quite happy with their freebie, but those grabbing one after the deadline at full RRP could do better by investing their cash on something a little more substantial with fewer connection issues.
Summary: Not full-on protection, but the bumper offers a casual, stylish defence for minor scrapes.
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