Designed by M started the development of the AL13 aluminum bumper case as a Kickstarter project asking for US$20,000. Within one week US$86,250 had been pledged. The iPhone 5 purists who wanted to protect their phones without adding a clunky case were obviously interested. I asked Lester Mapp, the creator of this product, what prompted the development. I doubted that he could have foreseen so much interest prior to putting it out on Kickstarter. Mr. Mapp responded:
“Before we developed AL13, we were all pretty anti-case when it came to our own iPhones. We just hadn’t found anything out there that we thought complimented the phone. We wanted to make something that could offer some level of protection but still wouldn’t change the look of the phone. The whole point of having an iPhone…is having an iPhone…not something that used to look like an iPhone before you put a case on it. Apple spent lots of time and money making the iPhone thinner and lighter, so why would you want to cover it up with something that would add bulk and weight? AL13 is slim, extremely lightweight and built to blend in with the look of the iPhone.“
AL-13 Bumper iPhone 5 case
The bumper is made from lightweight aerospace aluminum. It has an anodized finish and chamfered (symmetrical sloping) edges that matches the look of the iPhone 5. It is lined on the inside to protect the phone and weighs only 14 grams.
Side view of bumper compared to iPhone 5
The case is composed of two pieces, the bumper itself, and a sliding cover that glides on and locks in place. Once locked in place, it is somewhat difficult to remove. The product includes a protective film for the back and an anti-scratch, anti-fingerprint and anti-glare polyurethane screen protector.
Sliding cover and bumper
Back view of bumper and sliding cover locked in place
The bumper is available in gun metal, slate black, blue, silver, and red. The black bumper on the black phone is virtually invisible.
This product has very unusual packaging. It is striking and very attractive. It arrives nestled in a metal box with a sliding lid.
Package – partially opened
I complimented Mr. Mapp on the packaging, but asked what effect it has on the price of the product. His response was interesting:
“AL13 is a premium product and we felt that the packaging should reflect that. Other bumpers of a similar quality retail for almost $150… and you don’t get that kind of packaging. AL13 is priced at $79. For that price you get not only a high quality product made with great craftsmanship and extreme attention to detail, you get a cool reusable metal case that you can store cables and headphones in when you travel, or just use as additional desk storage. We really wanted to give our customers a “wow” experience, so that they feel they have gotten value for the money they spent.“
He is correct that the box, which measures 4 x 6 x 1.5-inches (10.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm) can be used in numerous ways.
Using the Product
The design of this case makes it extremely easy to install. You just gently lay the phone in the bumper, lining up the holes appropriately, and then slide on the cover until it clicks in place. The cover is basically invisible to the point that I did not even realize there were two parts when I first picked it up.
When I had to remove the case, which I have to do because of my job, it was hard to do without scratching my phone, but I assume the normal user will not face this problem.
Once the case was in place, it was quite difficult to tell that a bumper was being used unless I looked on the back of the iPhone where there is a slight overlap. Of course, had I been testing a red one, it would have been more noticeable.
Do I Recommend it?
I do. If iPhone 5 purity is part of your consciousness, then I believe you will know you have found your solution, and it is certainly well designed and well made. You will not have to worry about the bumper coming off, and it offers good corner protection.
The BookBook from Twelve South has long been the best and most luxurious leather wallet case for iPhone, but it has a new contender from Acase that wants to steal its crown. It’s called the Collatio, and in many ways, it’s very similar to the BookBook.
As well as holding your iPhone 5, the Collatio holds up to three credit cards, and features a larger pocket for bills, receipts, and anything else you’d like to stuff in there. It provides access to all of your iPhone’s buttons and ports — though you will need to open it up to use the volume buttons and mute switch — plus its front- and rear-facing cameras.
The biggest difference between the Collatio and the BookBook, however, is the price. While Twelve South’s offering will cost you $60, the Collatio is just $40. But is it as good?
The Collatio is certainly just as pretty — if not prettier — than the BookBook. I’m actually a big fan of the BookBook’s vintage book look, but if you’re not, then that’s one point to the Collatio. It comes in brown and it’s made entirely from genuine leather.
The front and back covers are shiny, while the spine is a softer chamois-like leather. It looks smart and sophisticated and exactly how you’d like a leather wallet case to look. There’s a small Acase emblem on the bottom corner that I wish wasn’t there, but it doesn’t look too bad.
The Collatio feels comfortable in your pocket, and even more comfortable in your hand. It’s soft and smooth, and its spine provides plenty of grip. It’s also very flexible, so you can fold the front cover around to the back when typing or taking a call, and when you close the Collatio’s front cover it stays closed — it doesn’t stick up like the BookBook tends to.
Inside the Collatio you’ll find three credit card pockets, plus a larger pocket for cash. You could probably cram more cards into those pockets if you want to, but it makes them harder to remove, so it’s easier to just stick one in each.
Your iPhone is held inside a leather frame that covers the sides of your devices, plus the bezels above and below the display — though the home button, speaker, and front-facing camera are left exposed. Nothing secures the iPhone in place, but the leather is tight enough to stop it slipping out.
The Collatio’s build quality is fantastic… a lot of care has clearly gone into its production.
On the back of the case, you’ll find one cutout for your rear-facing camera. It’s just about big enough, and I didn’t notice any reflection issues when taking pictures with the flash.
The Collatio’s build quality is fantastic. It’s made from high-quality leathers and a lot of care has clearly gone into its production. The sticking looks clean and tidy, and it’s super strong. The Collatio isn’t immune to a few scratches, but they add life to the case, and you’ll find a used Collatio looks better than a brand new one.
Although the Callatio stays closed on your desk, the front cover isn’t fixed down, so if you drop your iPhone there’s a chance it’ll flap open and leave your display exposed.
The cutout for the mute switch is nowhere near big enough — my mute switch is mostly covered up.
This wasn’t a major issue for me. Having magnets inside the case to keep it closed, or some kind of fastener, only adds bulk and weight and makes it harder to get to your device. But it’s something to bear in mind.
One thing that did bother me was the leather frame that holds the iPhone inside the case. It works well for the most part, but the cutout for the mute switch is nowhere near big enough — my mute switch is mostly covered up, and it’s really difficult to use.
In fact, I’ve gotten used to just folding the leather back at the side to get to the switch, but over time that’s caused it to stretch and go a little slack, as you’ll see from some of the pictures showing the inside of the case.
The other issue I had with this leather frame is that it’s not easy to get your iPhone out once it’s in there. There’s no pull tab like the original BookBook had, so you have to put your iPhone up from its base… only there isn’t really enough room to get your thumbs in there.
Removing your iPhone from the Collatio once it’s in there, then, is a bit of a struggle. I would have much preferred it if Acase used the same plastic housing that Twelve South used in its latest BookBook case. Not only is it easier, but it’s not as bulky, either.
I’ve mentioned before that I like iPhone wallet cases, and the Collatio is one of my favorites. It looks terrific, its build quality is great, and it does everything you want a wallet case to do.
I’d much prefer a plastic iPhone holder rather than a leather one, but then again, I think I’d happily live with the leather for the $20 saving the Collatio brings.
If you’re looking for a great leather wallet case for your iPhone 5, definitely check out the Collatio.
Product Name: Collatio
The Good: Looks great, feels great, and is very nicely priced.
The Bad: Leather iPhone holder is a little fiddly.
The Verdict: At $20 cheaper than the BookBook, the Collatio will be a better buy for many. It’s one of the best wallet cases I’ve tested to date.
Buy from: Acase
Wallets: I hate them, but having loose coins in your pocket which fall out every time you sit down is worse. Especially in a country where the coins are actually worth something. Right now I have a typically over-engineered German wallet which will probably last me forever, but I like the look of SF Bags’ new Finn. It’s flat, it holds cash and cars and – if you pick the bigger model – it also has space for your iPhone.
The Finn comes in two sizes and six autumn-y colors. The 25 holds 20-ish cards plus “a nice wad of cash,” and the 27 is a little wider, accommodating your iphone 5. Both have self-locking YKK zippers which open up on two sides, letting you get into the wallet without letting everything fall out.
The price isn’t bad either: $35 for a hand=stitched Italian leather wallet. And if it’s up to Waterfield’s usual high standards it should last you a good long while.
While clear film phone screen protectors can be a good idea, applying them requires a lot of patience and some skill. Otherwise you end up with a bubble-filled membrane that is hard to type on and see through.
Trü Protection is trying to simplify the process for iPhone 5 owners with a mounting system intended to automatically align a phone and a screen protector.
It’s called Trü-Fit, and here’s how it works.
Inside the package are screen cleaners, two protective screens and a tray.
Obviously, use the cleaners to clear your phone screen. When the glass is prepped, take the protective screen cover and slide it into the tray. You then peel back a tab that exposes an adhesive. Then the phone goes into the tray, face down, over the sticky screen protector. Press your phone into the tray firmly, then pop it out of the tray. The screen protector should be affixed.
It should, but I failed at my first two tries. By the third, I figured out exactly how to line up the protector in the tray, which must be just so.
It is easier than applying a protective screen without a tray, but still requires some attention and patience.
By the third try the protective screen came out reasonably well centered and I was able to press the few small bubbles out from under the protector to the edges where they disappeared.
The screen protectors are $20 a pair and have a matte anti-glare finish. I thought the matte finish made the screen easier to see once I increased my screen brightness, but that eats more battery power.
It is impossible to say how much protection you get from a film like this, though. As I have written before, there is no standard for testing these protective films. At the very least, it’s not likely to do any harm.
Upgrade your iPhone 5′s default sync cable with the thicker, posable Trunk and you’ll never spend another second of your life untangling that web of knots that magically appears in your pocket. Available now for just $20, the Trunk’s reinforced core can actually support your iPhone 5 in almost any position, letting you more easily use it as a navigation device in your car, or just keeping it off the floor while it’s charging from an outlet. Just make sure you’re ok with only four or five inches of slack.
Like many other gamers, we’ve spent hundreds of hours playing Grand Theft Auto games and look forward to GTA 5 arriving on consoles later this year, although there’s some fun to have playing GTA on mobile devices as well.
There is a lot of room for improvement with GTA Vice City on smartphones, but we couldn’t help but be impressed with just how far mobile gaming has come over the past couple of years.
Today, we wanted to feature a video found via YouTube that showcases some gameplay for GTA Vice City. What’s cool about this gameplay is how it puts 4 smartphones side-by-side, which includes the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Note 2, iPhone 5 and HTC One.
Two of the best Android phones fans are talking about right now would be HTC One and Galaxy S4, although phablet users swear by the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Then we have the Apple camp and iPhone 5, which might be smaller than most by loyal Apple users wouldn’t want any other operating system.
Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular open world action and adventure games, so combining this hands-on with the most popular smartphones right now makes a great review. Take a look at the video below, and then share a comment with your thoughts on how the game looks on each handset and your favorite. You might also want to read about the need for an official GTA 5 news app.
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iPhone 5s is rumoured to follow the trend of 13MP camera with touch sensitive buttons to match Galaxy S4. iPhone 5s boasts 8MP camera with simultaneous HD video recording and image captures while Galaxy S4 sports 13MP camera with dual shot and simultaneous HD video image capture as well.
OmniVision is expected to co-exist with all iOS 7 devices featuring full HD video capability of both the front and back camera lenses for FaceTime and similar video chat client. The new camera chip will also amplify light in low-light conditions to broadcast clearer stream. As for the audio part, a new speaker is speculated to be added on the new iPhone which is claimed to be dust-proof and water resistant.
Fingerprint Sensor, NFC and Wireless Charging
No Android smartphone yet has ever utilised the fingerprint security or sensor for phone functions and it seems like Apple will feature it on the upcoming iPhone 5s. The said fingerprint sensor is believed to be a bigger “Siri-like” feature and indicating revolutionary mobile payments using your fingers together with NFC technology and bar-code reading apps.
Another trending feature, Wireless Charging is also rumoured to develop on the upcoming iPhone 5s. Hopefully, their wireless charging technology can share recharging from chargers provided by other mobile brands.
Design Overall Revamped
Apple almost didn’t change the overall physical layout and the system UI of all their iPhone versions. Analysts, fans, critics and enthusiasts are all waiting of what will make the next iPhone unique from the previous generation and other mobile phones. Here are some suggestions indicating change for iPhone 5s:
- Aside from white, the next iPhone should have multiple colour variants
- Change of the buttons layout: power and volume keys now included
- Back-Side Illumination (BSI) Technology for the camera
- Revamped of the user interface including icons and transitions
- Larger screen of at least 5-inches
- Some hazard resistances to protect the body
- Lower price variants
- Memory expansion
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San Francisco, Calif.-based WaterField Designs has announced a new addition to its wallet line – the Finn Leather Wallet. Available in two sizes, the accessory is ideal for carrying cash and cards. One of the models also can hold an iPhone 5.
Priced at $35, the Finn is available in black, camel, gray, red, forest green, and brown. Size 25, the smaller of the two, holds up to 20 credit cards. The size 27 model holds the iPhone 5, or similar sized smartphone, plus up to 15 cards.
According to Gary Waterfield, owner of WaterField Designs:
The Finn is amazing because it holds so much yet remains compact and slides easily into my pants pocket. It fits just what I need—my smartphone and cash—and keeps a lean profile.
Full features include:
- Made from leather naturally-tanned at an environmentally-friendly tannery here in the USA
- Available in six trend-setting colors
- YKK self-locking zipper locks contents in
- Two interior side pockets organize cash, cards, ID and receipts
- Two sizes: The smaller size 25 holds 20+ cards and a nice wad of cash. The larger size 27 also holds an iPhone 5
- Supple leather conforms to contents ensuring minimal bulk for easy stowing
- Surprisingly generous capacity given thinness of design
- Highest quality components available make for great value-to-quality equation
- Hand-made and constructed to perfection in WaterField’s San Francisco sewing shop
The Finn ships worldwide from WaterField Design’s online store. Several shipping options are available to guarantee delivery before Father’s Day, which is Sunday, June 16.
By Miss PA recent article in Fortune reminded us that Apple stock began a six month free fall just after Cupertino reported record iPhone 5 sales — 5 million units sold in its first three days. I never thought I’d say this, but I am so glad I didn’t invest in any stock in Apple since then. Yet, who could’ve guessed that five million iPhone 5 units sold in three days would be taken as bad news by Wall Street?
On the flip side, Samsung, who, up until this point has never even bothered to post sales numbers of this smartphone, is proudly touting the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is poised to hit 10 million in sales after four weeks on the market. And, as Fortune columnist Phillip Elmer-Dewitt points out, “Samsung is talking about sales to carriers, not end users. Not quite the same thing.” And yet Wall Street applauds.
What’s going on here?
I am really not surprised. Why? Because the Samsung Galaxy S4 managed to over-perform, whereas the iPhone 5 — whether because of the Apple’s own doing or from all of the hype and buzz that preceded its launch — over-promised and underperformed. The display? Yeah, it was bigger — but not big enough. The form factor? Different from the iPhone 4/4S, but not really all that different. As a result, when the iPhone 5 premiered, the numbers came in as the worst case scenario.
Even though Apple managed to sell five million iPhone 5 units in three days, consumers still somehow managed to feel let down. Personally, I purchased the iPhone 5 — being partial to Apple products — but now I find myself very bored with the progression (and not feeling particularly excited about the near future.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, however, is expected to push more than 10 million units to carriers in 4 weeks, which clearly has been the most for Samsung. Its sales still fall far from the mark of the iPhone, but it’s the first Android to post short-term sales numbers that sort-of, kind-of come close to the iPhone. The company has since shipped 6 million units, and they’ve done it by out-buzzing the iPhone, giving users a lot of fun features: big screen, video that pauses when you look away — all that cool stuff.
There’s a part of me that even wants to make the move to the Galaxy S4, but I always want to check out the pros and cons. Being that I work the “big blue box,” I have heard so many opinions. I know the heads at Samsung are doing a little shimmy due to all of the hype surrounding this phone, but will they sell that many units? And does the GS4 really deliver the same overall quality and performance as the iPhone?
In spite of the Samsung Galaxy S4′s early success, the difference between the S3 and S4 are minimal to the consumer, and most want to stick with the S3, if for no other reason that to take advantage of value pricing. Also, I have heard more than once that the S4′s software issues are rattling most users that is scary. The camera is amazing, is that the only reason I want to get the jump and purchase a new device. The prices are similar for any device under a new contract. Unfortunately, I see Samsung semi-following Apple’s lead with the little “refresh” changes with a brand new device. Every device has their pros and cons, but I believe that Apple and Samsung should both head back to the lab to fix their issues and give consumers big, bold smartphones every year.
But that’s just me. For most folks out there, they’re ready to buy whatever’s coming out. That’s how Apple sells five million iPhones in three days, and Samsung sells ten million GS4s in a month.
Miss P is a tech blogger for the iPhone 5 News Blog. She hosts a popular YouTube channel, as well as her own blog and website at missp.tv. She covers the latest tech trends, as well as a wide range of culture and lifestyle topics.