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Aluminum Bumper by Draco IV review

weisjt

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Without a doubt aluminum cases have become very popular in the iPhone 4 accessory market. Draco Design has created a aluminum bumper case like no other. The case is called the Draco IV and it has smooth curves and lines which is a first for aluminum cases I have seen. As everyone probably knows by know most full aluminum designed cases are plagued with reception, GPS, and data problems. I will get into all the details in the review. The packaging is well designed and very professional, it comes with the case the Allen wrench and two extra screws.

DESIGN AND QUALITY
The design of this case is one of a kind, it has smooth curves down the side that make the case mold to your hand and give you a good grip and comfortable hold on your device. The buttons on the phone are all sealed in with aluminum and metal buttons, the on/off button is changed to a smaller circular button and the volume buttons along with the mute switch are covered with very similar buttons. The buttons work very good clicking with every touch. I find that hitting the on/off button can be harder at times because it is so much smaller but still works good when pressed. All of the buttons move a small bit inside the case, if you shake the case the buttons will rattle and make some noise, I personally cant stand the noise, it isn't loud but loud enough to know it is there. The cutouts could have been larger but I will get into that next. The fit to the phone is very tight and doesn't move around in the case.

This case attaches to the phone in a completely different way then other aluminum cases, it only uses two screws that screw in the back of the case, there is almost a male/female fitting that go together and the screw tightens them together for a secure fit. The aluminum around the screw holes is very thin so I would be careful installing the screws and a drop to that corner could very well cause the aluminum to crack in that spot. On each side of the case there is a logo, on one side is a cool small logo that says draco IV and on the other side it says inspired by Deff Japan which I dont really like but its ok. Overall I love the design and look of the case, the finish is great along with the covered buttons give the case a great look.


FUNCTIONALITY
If you couldn't tell by now I was very impressed with the first impressions of the design and feel of the case. The functionality of the case is where the flaws flood in so here we go.

The case has covered buttons which I like but they do rattle around in the case which is a little annoying for me. For the price of the case no modifying should be required to keep things from rattling. Some people wont mind the noise but it is noticeable.

I am not 100% positive but I have to ihome universal docks and when I take the adapters out I still couldn't squeeze this case into the dock so it will not work with most docking stations, the width of the case at the bottom keeps it from being able to slide into the docking area. I even tried on my sinjimoru stand that is designed to work with cases and the bottom cutout is just to deep to connect. The cutout is a little bit bigger then the apple plug so you would be able to fit other slim connectors in but with the depth of the cutout and the size you wont be able to use many third party adapters without a extender.

The head phone jack cutout is on the smaller side and will not work with many 90 degree plugs, you will need a slim extension plug to use larger headphone jacks. the cutout is pretty deep and small, I tested my Bose headphones in there and they have a 90 degree angle plug, they barley could fit to hear noise but if you tugged the cord even a little bit it would go in and out.


The protection the case gives you is minimal like most bumper style cases. There is little to no lay on table design on the back of the phone and the amount that is on the front is very minimal also. I would recommend using front and back screen shields or skins. Although there isn't really any lay on table protection it gives the bumper a nice slim design which I like.

The Case has a small hole cut out on the bottom to hook a lanyard string to which I like, I would hardly ever use it but sometimes I like to tether my phone to my backpack when hiking or mt biking. I also like the sim cutout on the side, not many people use this but if you do it is way better then unscrewing the whole case to get to the simcard.

RECEPTION AND GPS
The most important part of a aluminum case review!!!! does it effect the reception? Well unfortunately I hate to report that yes it does. Here are the test results.
I am in a very low reception area and I have a micro cell, the reading were slightly different then being on a normal cell tower.

MICRO CELL RESULTS
without the case on I would get 67 to 70 decibels which is high 4 to 5 bars
with the case installed I would get 82 to 86 decibels which would put it into 3 to 4 bars

NORMAL CELL TOWER RESULTS
without case it would get 82 to 83 decibel reading
with the case installed it would get 94 to 96 decibels

Overall you would take anywhere from a minimum of a 12db to 16db loss. for someone like me where i only get a 1 to 2 bars or edge the case puts my phone into searching. With the micro cell it was only moving the reception 1 bar down from 5 to 4 and occasionally 3 bars.

The GPS on my phone was useless with the case installed, it took a while to pinpoint me and when it did it would be way off. While driving it did not move with me, the closest i could get it to me was within two blocks.

When I first saw the design of the case I was hoping that the system used to separate the antenna and the case would work but its just four pads in the corner or the case. The case has a great design and looks awesome in my opinion. I you live in a high reception area and don't use your GPS ever than this case could be a option for you. You can pick these up on amazon for $99 bucks

check out the link below for alot of pictures i took tons,
removed external links.
 

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tblarson

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You can purchase DRACO IV Aluminum Bumper for iPhone 4 at iGearUSA.com - They are the US authorized reseller.
 

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