Rokbed aluminum iPhone 4 cover review

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

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Provides: iPhone 4 protection from shocks and drops
Developer: Rokform
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 4
Price: $79.00 ($149 for Rokbed Magnesium iPhone 4 Cover)
Availability: Nowadays

I like that some companies are willing to take a different approach to gadget protection. Silicone and plastic models have their place, sure, but they’re hard to get excited about anymore. That’s not the situation with RokForm’s Rokbed Aluminum iPhone 4 cover. This is certainly not for everyone, but I have a feeling it’ll find its audience.

The first thing you’ll likely notice when looking at the images is what’s not protected. There are large gaps cut out of the back and sides of the Rokbed, so a direct hit to your phone could still cause some scratches and scuffs. I would recommend you continue to use a skin in conjunction with the Rokbed, but the fit is so precise that it could bunch the skin up on the edges. I tried mine with a SkinIt model, which didn’t work, but you may have more luck with something by Wrapsol or Fusion of Ideas.

Rokbed aluminum iPhone 4 cover

What is covered, however, is incredibly well protected by 6061 T-6 anodized aluminum that should keep your iPhone safe from shocks and drops. All of the corners are covered, and every point of the iPhone sits beneath a bevel so no part if will touch the surface when sitting flat.

You place your iPhone in the Rokbed by sliding the top into the frame, then screwing the bottom piece into place with the provided Allen wrench. This is an inconvenience when it comes to full functionality of your iPhone, as you may have to actually unscrew the Rokbed to remove the phone for docking and such; the dock opening is wide, but it can’t account for all devices. Thankfully, Rokform provides open access to all other buttons and ports—including the SIM card—to keep case removal to a minimum.

I should note, though, that the somewhat thick edges means you will have to adjust your angle of approach to the volume buttons, mute switch, power button, etc. You are going to sacrifice some functionality in the name of protection. This thickness (and the strength of the material) also makes for an odd grip. The edges are wide and unforgiving, so your iPhone will no longer feel like itself.

I do like the overall style of the Rokbed, though. The black frame blends in well with the iPhone, and my model has a nicely contrasting green bottom plate for a splash of color. Rokform offers numerous color options, but you can’t mix and match the colors on their site, which is somewhat surprising. The back frame allows the Apple logo and phone details to show through, and it all comes together well for an oddly stylish industrial look.

Rokbed aluminum iPhone 4 cover

But “industrial” is the key word, here. If you like the design, that’s just a bonus to the protection you’re receiving from the Rokbed. The precise fit and durable materials will keep your iPhone 4 safe from most mishaps, and it’s up to you whether that’s worth the $80 price tag and loss of convenience…

Or worth the $150 price tag if you prefer magnesium to aluminum.

Appletell Rating:

Buy the RokForm Rokbed Aluminum iPhone 4 Cover

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  • Fred Morgan

    OK, Mr. Hiner, I believe we need some full disclosure here. Were you paid or compensated in anyway to promote, er, I mean, review this case? You obviously do NOT like this case. Your tactful attempt to downplay what are clearly major shortcomings to the case fails. This case is a comedic joke at best and a pricey ripoff at worst. This case is strictly for those who want to feel unique and are willing to spend an absurd amount of money to achieve that end.

    The addiction to technology reaches new lows with this case. The Rokbed will not make it as a viable product. I give it three months, tops. I doubt if Rokform will be around within a year.

  • Kirk Hiner

    Harsh, Fred. Harsh.

    Obviously, Appletell doesn't accept money in exchange for reviews. When we print advertorials (for news/announcements only), we mark them as such. I was allowed to keep the case after review, but won't for tax reasons.

    But I know you weren't really accusing us so much as making your point about the case, so on to that…

    Major shortcomings? It depends upon what you're looking for. All of my iPhone case reviews consider three things: protection, functionality and design. Protection is solid (aside from the potential for scuffs on the open back, as mentioned in the review) and the design is great. Functionality is hampered by the thickness of the aluminum, but that's a decision the developer made to increase protection. I've reviewed cases ranging from $20 to $150 that have the same problem, and will always point that out when the issue arises.

    So, I disagree with your conclusion that I "obviously do NOT like this case," but will apologize if I didn't make that clear. I liked quite a bit about it, but couldn't recommend it completely because of the concerns raised in the review. It's not at all a ripoff, but those who are willing to pay extra for something other than silicon and polycarbonate should be aware of the issues the Rokbed presents.