Review: AL13 v3 Aluminum bumper case for iPhone 6, 6 Plus

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

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I’m not entirely sure what happened here. When designed by many’s original AL13 for iPhone 5/5s was released, it was a revelation. It was slick looking, it was well-built, and it had a wonderful method for getting on and off your iPhone without the need for a tiny screwdriver. We’re now at the AL13 v3, this time for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

AL13 v3 aluminum bumper for iPhone 6

Although it’s still a good looking bumper that provides solid protection, some odd design flaws are starting to show.

The mechanism for getting the AL13 v3 on your iPhone 6 is still very simple; slide the iPhone into the top portion of the bumper, which makes up all but the bottom inch or so of the frame. You them clasp the bottom portion of the bumper over the bottom of the phone. There are holes on each side, one square and one circular to make sure the bottom piece is properly placed. To remove the bottom piece, simply pull away on the circular side, and it comes right off. This makes it very easy to dock, which is important because you wouldn’t be able to with the full bumper on.

Regarding that bottom piece, though, designed by many was careful to make sure the headphone and Lightning port openings were wide enough to accommodate many third party cables, so you’ll enjoy convenient access with the accessories you already have

AL13 v3 aluminum bumper for iPhone 6

And because the front and back are unprotected by the bumper, designed by many includes their mPact film for free with your order.

The rounded edges are particularly nice, as they’re comfortable to grip and faithfully reflect the design of the iPhone 6 itself…perhaps to a fault. The AL13 v3 is available in silver, champagne and space gray, as well as black and green if you’re looking for something different. But with no color accents or unique design elements, it’s not the most exciting design we’ve seen. On the bright side, the aerospace aluminum is almost weightless, and during my testing period it didn’t seem to interfere with my AT&T wireless signal.

So, what do I not like? The external buttons. The external mute switch does its job, but it feels loose and flimsy when I use it. The volume buttons are extremely tight, giving the feel that they’re not in the right place when you press them. There’s no “click” to indicate they’re working, and you have to press them much harder than you should. Only the sleep/wake button works effectively.

AL13 v3 aluminum bumper for iPhone 6

The end result, then, is a case that makes the iPhone 6 feel like a cheaper imitation of itself, and I’ve come to expect better from designed by many. There are some very competitive aluminum bumper options available at $80 ($85 for the iPhone 6 Plus version), and the gap between them and the AL13 has now closed considerably.

It still may be your best option for easy removal, however.

Apple Channel Rating C

Buy the AL13 v3 aluminum bumper for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Provides: Edge/corner impact protection for iPhone 6
Developer: designed by many
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 6 (also available for iPhone 6 Plus)
Price: $79.99 – iPhone 6; $84.99 – iPhone 6 Plus
Availability: Now

For more iPhone 6 case options, see our full iPhone 6 Case Review Roundup.

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  • Cooldry

    I got my case today and the review is quite accurate. I don’t know how they dropped the ball on the buttons. The sleep button is the only one that works decently well. If I saw the case first hand at a store, I would have passed and looked for something else. Hopefully the button issues will be fixed down the line. As it stands I’d give it a 3 out of 5.

  • TravelBossAcc

    Thanks for the review. Will have to pass on this particular case for my iPhone.