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First Look E13ctron s4 hybrid iphone 4 case


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Jan 11, 2011
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REVIEW: e13ctron s4 HYBRID Prototype Preview

The case we are looking at today is a prototype of the soon to be released e13ctron s4 Hybrid. The reason this case is referred to as a “hybrid” is due to its construction…front half aluminum, and back half a durable composite (plastic-like material). Can this case improve on the already great performance of the all aluminum s4 by e13ctron, and keep pace with the excellent performing Atomic Hybrid? Read on to find out…

Initial Impressions:

I already knew before receiving this case that it’d be a prototype, so I naturally was expecting a rough “proof of concept” product, as e13ctron had told me not to be “too hard on them” since this piece was just very quickly run on a mill so that I could get one in hand to do some signal testing. Well...I can say that if this is "rough", the final product will be amazing! The fit and finish of this new plastic back could be sold right now. Everything lines up perfectly, cutouts are great, and it mates up perfectly with the aluminum front half. If I were to be EXTREMELY critical, I'd say that the only way it might could be any better would be with a quick final buff or brush, but again, this piece is straight off the mill, and I'd be more than happy to buy it just like this. The color/finish is milled black plastic, and closely resembles the finish on the plastic part of the Atomic Hybrid that I’m sure many of you might be familiar with by now.

As far as looks, right now the hybrid back piece is identical to the all aluminum back piece, using the same e13ctron plastic spacer system to ensure the same fit each and every time you install the case. The production model will vary from this slightly, and the plastic spacer for the back of the case will actually be integrated into the composite back itself. With this design (as well as the prototype I’m showing here), the hybrid back will be able to be used with any color and finish (matte or polished) of the current e13ctron aluminum front case pieces.

As far as fit, when this hybrid back piece is installed and screwed together to the front aluminum piece, everything fits precisely as mentioned above. The case has a very sturdy feel, and not as flimsy as some other hybrids on the market right now. I attribute this to the fact that with this design, you still have aluminum (in the form of the front piece) surrounding the phone, giving support to the matching back composite piece. Other designs use the composite only around the majority of the phone, which gives a slightly less sturdy feel to the case when installed.

Wireless Reception/Performance:

The original e13ctron s4 all aluminum case has been one of my top 2 all aluminum cases, so I've always had great performance with the all aluminum one. I've been able to use the all aluminum version everywhere I go, even into very low reception areas (-113dB and less), and never drop a call or lose data or GPS. I've only noticed a 6-8dB loss AT MOST with the all aluminum one. Well…this hybrid back reduces that reception interference even more. In my office (interior-most room of work...brick and metal building), In all of my testing (a few months worth now), the hybrid back has hardly any interference on reception at all, averaging less than a 3 dB drop. This equates out to (roughly) less than a third of a “bar” of reception…in other words, you should never even see your number of bars drop. For those of you familiar with the Atomic Hybrid case and its stellar performance, this e13ctron Hybrid performs virtually identically to it.

As far as GPS performance is concerned, with my all aluminum e13ctron on, I usually get GPS lock in around 10-15 seconds. With the hybrid case installed, I consistently get a location lock in under 5 seconds, which is essentially the same amount of time my iPhone 4 takes to acquire a lock when completely bare (without a case). WiFi and Bluetooth performance is showing no signal degradation, but I don’t experience that even with the all aluminum e13ctron case.

Final Thoughts:

With this hybrid case, even in its prototype form, e13ctron has hit a home run with looks, fit, and performance. This case performs identically to the well established “hybrid” category leader, the Atomic Hybrid…which is to say it has no noticeable impact on wireless performance. With this case, iPhone users now have two really good choices to get the look and feel of aluminum, but not have the huge signal impact that usually comes along with using an all aluminum case. This hybrid back piece should be available in the coming weeks, both as a completed case, and as a back only for those that already have an e13tron all aluminum case. Keep your eyes on Welcome to [e13ctron] - [cnc billet accesories] for more info.

check out the link below for tons of pictures,
Weisjt Tech House: REVIEW: e13ctron s4 HYBRID Prototype Preview
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