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The three best aluminum bumper cases for your new iPhone 5 or 5s

Sections: Features, iDevice Accessories, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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Now that Christmas morn has past, you’ve cleaned up the boxes and wrapping paper, and you’ve digested the breakfast casserole, it’s time to get serious about the new iPhone 5s you received. You’ll want to get some protection on it right away, and there’s no classier way to do so than with aluminum bumper case. I’ve tried out many here at AppleTell, and can safely recommend these three as my favorites in both form and function.

First, a qualifier. The two most consistent problems with aluminum bumpers are the method of getting them on and off, and the ability to dock them. The former often requires removing tiny screws with an Allen wrench, and you usually have to do that in order to address the latter. These cases effectively address both problems, for the most part, and come in at a price that won’t further dent your Christmas budget.

Crimson Aluminum iPhone 5/5s Frame Case

Whenever you look at aluminum frame cases, you’re likely to find words like “precision CNC machined” and “aircraft grade aluminum.” What’s more likely to matter to you are weight, design, and application. The Crimson Aluminum iPhone 5 case weighs in at only 16 grams, so it adds practically nothing to your iPhone in that regard. You will feel its presence, however, as the edges stick out a bit from the sides of the phone. It’s not at all uncomfortable to hold, but it certainly does feel different.

Thankfully, the top and bottom (as well as the volume button area) drop down to sit flush with the phone, making it easy to access all controls, and more importantly, to dock your device. You won’t need to remove the case when connecting your iPhone 5 with most devices, and that’s important because removing the case requires tools.

Crimson Aluminum Frame Case for iPhone 5

The Aluminum Frame Case is held in place via screws in each corner. The screws attach (and align) the TPE corner guards that securely hold your phone in place and provide the shock protection from drops. Great for protection, but bad for convenience, as you’ll need the included hex wrench to get the phone out of the case. Lose that wrench, and you’ve got some trouble ahead.

To learn more, read AppleTell’s full Crimson Aluminum Frame Case for iPhone 5 review. The Aluminum Frame Case is available now in red, black and silver for $44.95 at crimsoncase.com.

AL13 Aluminum Bumper for iPhone 5/5s

Available in gun metal, blue (pictured), slate, silver and red, the AL13 aluminum bumper weighs 14 grams and adds minimal bulk to your iPhone 5. The edges are chamfered (I had to look to it up, too) for a comfortable grip, although the bottom edge isn’t quite as comfortable to grip as the iPhone itself.

It’s the slide cover that gets the most praise from me. To get your iPhone into and out of the AL13, you simply slide the back cover out from the frame; lift at the bottom and pull. No screws, no latches, just a simple slide that locks firmly in place when in use.

AL13 aluminum bumper for iPhone 5

Finally, the AL13 provides easy access to all ports and controls; most importantly, the bottom opening is wide enough to accommodate a Lightning adapter.

The only major drawback is that, this being an aluminum frame, you will notice some signal loss. designed by m claims you’ll experience a 5 to 10%  reduction in signal. In my case, that translated to one bar on the display.

For more information, read AppleTell’s full AL13 Aluminum Bumper for iPhone 5 review. The AL13 is currently on sale for $59.99 at www.thinkbym.com.

Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper for iPhone 5/5s

The Embrace-5 is my favorite aluminum bumper I’ve used on an iDevice. It’s quite possibly my favorite iPhone case of any type. The designers at Esoterism got nearly everything right, including their method of addressing a couple of major problems inherent with aluminum frames: removal and dockability.

To remove the Embrace-5, you simply need your fingers. The top center of the bumper features a knob much like that on an analog watch, only larger, of course. To remove the iPhone 5 or 5s from the Embrace-5, you simply unscrew the knob and pull back the sides of the bumper, which pivot at the lower left and right.

Esoterism Embrace-5

If you would like more protection for the back, alcantara back plates are available in titanium gray and opus noir for an additional $19.00. These are meant to complement all available Embrace-5 colors: opus noir, rosy cheek, Kyoho sauvignon, cigar mojito, champagne blush, space gray and oyster blue. The names are pretty fancy, yes, but when you see the colors, you’ll agree that they make sense.

I mentioned earlier the problem with docking aluminum bumpers. Esoterism solved this issue by simply bringing the bottom of the frame flush with the iPhone. So long as your third-party dock allows a little extra width as the front and back of the phone, you won’t need to remove the bumper in order to dock your iPhone 5. It’s simply fantastic.

To learn more, read AppleTell’s full Esoterism Embrace-5 aluminum bumper for iPhone 5/5s review. The Embrace-5 is available now $89.00 at www.esoterism.com.

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