Provides: Scratch and drop protection for your iPhone
Developer: Edge Design
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 4/4S
Aluminum cases have become a popular option for iPhone protection, and they’ve become pretty diverse, as well. Originally just frames, you can now get full aluminum protection with some pretty unique designs. A good example of this is Edge Design’s Aktiv case for iPhone 4/4S, although its unique properties introduce a couple unique problems, too.
The core of the Aktiv case is an aluminum framework that features a complete, sturdy back layer. Only the camera lens is exposed on the back of your iPhone, making this one of the most complete aluminum case options available. And one of the strongest. There is practically no bend or flexibility to this case at all.
But the protection doesn’t end with the aluminum. After sliding your phone into the framework (which comes in your choice of anodized cyan, purple, pink, orange, green, or black) through the bottom, you then wrap a polymer band around the case, snapping into place around the pegs that separate the back plate from the screen frame.
The band serves to add additional protection and to help eliminate reception problems that can be caused by aluminum…as well as provide some visual flare. The color of the band is determined by the case you order, but you can add additional bands at $9.00 each.
You can create a pretty slick looking system depending upon your color choices, but the Aktiv does run into a couple of problems. First, there’s the traditional issue of docking problems; although the the aluminum frame is recessed around the volume buttons, it’s not at the docking port, so you’ll need a dock extender or you’ll have to remove the iPhone from the Aktiv when many iPhone devices.
And that’s the second problem. Getting the polymer band in place and back off can be a bit of a pain. With the two bands I was provided with my review unit, a couple areas were quite difficult to snap into place. In addition, the left and right bottom areas bulged out a bit. That wasn’t a major problem, but isn’t what I expect from a case that cost upwards of $100.
On the positive side, there are no screws to mess around with, so you won’t need to worry about losing or stripping them, or not having the screwdriver handy when you need to remove the case.
Once the band is off, sliding the iPhone in and out of the aluminum frame is simple enough. The back interior does have a soft pad to prevent scratches on the iPhone’s back glass, but if you have a full screen protector on, it can get caught on the Atkiv’s framework, causing it to bunch a bit.
There’s no denying the complete protection the Aktiv provides, and the unique design solves the potential reception and required accessory problems of most aluminum cases. Flushing the bottom frame with the iPhone would solve the docking problem, and I’m surprised more developers don’t do that. I’d also like to see Edge Design make the band a bit easier to snap into place.
But even with these requests, I can still recommend that those seeking aluminum protection for their iPhone should keep Edge Design’s comparably inexpensive Aktiv on their list of options.