The ridiculous amount of iPhone case options that are available to the general consumer is both overwhelming and disgusting. What are you really paying for? At the end of the day the majority of cases are 3 cent pieces of crap that are churned out of a factory in a far off land (note: this part of the article has been updated since one reader pointed out it might be perceived as racist and thus offensive).
The Edge Design Alfa Case for the iPhone is proudly built in the United States. And unlike many iPhone cases, you get what you pay for. No, it’s not made from polycarbonate, plastic, memory foam, or neoprene. It’s crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and comes in anodized: silver, blue-gray, brown, gray, and black. In fact, the metal is remarkably cool looking and smooth to the touch, yet rugged. Not for nothing, but it’s what the back of the iPhone 4s should look and feel like.
Further protecting the iPhone is a interchangeable polymer color band. It’s effectively rubber, and adds an extra layer of protection in the event you drop your iPhone with the case attached, and also prevents the Alfa case from interfering with the antenna. Adding to that protection is a felt pad adhered to the inside back of the Edge Design Alfa case, which ensures the back of the iPhone 4s doesn’t directly touch the metal and scuff up the glass back. It’s an unremarkable addition, and slightly unsightly, but with the iPhone in place you’ll be none the wiser to its existence.
Inserting the iPhone into the Edge Design Alfa Case is as simple as popping open the polycarbonate band. Actually, I should say prying, as you’ll need to wedge your fingernail into the tabbed edge and pull it open. The process is a bit fiddly as it has a tendency to spring back into place. But after sometime, and with practice, it only took me one or two attempts. Once the iPhone is inserted, the band easily snaps closed, and secures your iPhone. Removing the iPhone is essentially the same process, though the minus-volume button had a tendency to get caught on the edge of the cutout, which was slightly misshaped and not flush to the Alfa case’s frame. A little shaking, and moving the rubber resolved this issue, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a long term solution, or fix for this problem.
That said, the Alfa Case covers the entire back of the iPhone 4s and leaves all of the ports, including the volume buttons, headphone jack, lock button, and camera accessible. Swapping out the colored bands is very simple, and is no more difficult than attaching the case to the iPhone. That being said, the bevel of the iPhone is protected by a metal frame. While this provides added protection, it also adds a bit of discomfort to the ear when a call lasts more than a few minutes. Despite that caveat, the Edge Design Alfa Case makes gripping the iPhone a bit more easier, though it does add a good amount of weight (relatively speaking), though we couldn’t find specific numbers regarding this.
In terms of durability, I can’t see why the Alfa Case won’t stand up to the test of time. It’s made from aircraft grade aluminum, and while it is most certainly not scratch resistant, I was only able to achieve a small blemish on the top left corner of my review unit. Aesthetically, the Alfa Case is relatively minimal, yet sleek. And for those seeking an almost black ops approach, look no further than the black rubber band for an additional $9.
Bottom Link: The Edge Design Alfa Case is what the iPhone 4s should have looked like. Just be weary of the discomfort to the ear, and added weight.
- Aircraft grade aluminum, what isn’t there to like
- Relatively easy to install
- Doesn’t interfere with the iPhone’s antenna/reception
- A prolonged call can lead to discomfort
- Expensive; $99