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View Full Version : Review/Pics: Piel Frama iMagnum iPhone 4 case




random person
Jul 31, 2010, 04:59 PM
Well I've had mine now for two days and my verdict is that this case Rocks!

For me, it is by far the finest case I've ever tried -- and I've tried many, including the Vaja Top.

Piel Frama has been in the business of fine leather products since 1945, and they were one of the first cellphone case makers (since 1984). They use fine quality Spanish leather, have many fine products and options, and they do custom work as well. So I thought they would be an excellent option to Vaja, because in addition to all this they -- wait for it -- deliver in 10 to 25 days depending on the product and level of customization. They also accept returns, no questions asked, within a 30 day period. Lastly, they are distributed in the US by at least one company (cases.com) so you can even order one of these and get it overnight if you want -- no waiting at all! So I figured it was a no-brainer to try one of their cases.

What I didn't expect, really, is how gorgeous this case would be! It is beautifully made, with fantastic attention to detail. Fit and finish is first-rate, everything is perfectly cut, stitching is sublime -- and the leather, oh the leather! A very fine grained leather, backed with some padding -- the thing is just delicious in the hand. If you've ever owned a really fine leather wallet, the kind that feels like buttah, well then you have an idea of what this leather is like. And the padding makes it that much softer, more sybaritic.
It's luscious, really.

They got all the details right too. The headphone port is sized so that even my gargantuan L-shaped headphone cords (Ultimate Ears UE11Pro) fit perfectly. Speakers are perfectly exposed. Every port and control is accessible and perfectly accommodated. There is no impedance of the camera flash.

Like the Vaja Top, the phone is tightly gripped by its sides, surrounded by lovely leather that is a pleasure to hold. This case also has a flap too, just like the Vaja -- except this flap opens UP rather than DOWN and closes perfectly via a magnetic closure in the tab.

As it turns out, the UP flap feature is the best feature about this case, because it means that while you are on the phone the lid just floats behind your hand, completely out of the way.

With this case you get all the benefits of a flap case with none of the drawbacks like a flopping flap in front of your mouth, the need to fold it back to hold it, etc. You can also just neatly slip the tab open so that you can connect the phone to your car dock connector without having to leave the case open and vulnerable. Honestly, with this case you can surf, talk, check email, etc., and the flap absolutely never gets in the way. It's wonderful!

The magnet is the perfect strength. You can open the flap with one hand just by pushing upwards on the flap lid and the magnet will release -- no need to pull on the tab first. When you're done just flip the case with your hand -- again, all one handed, and the case automatically closes, with the magnetic tab just sliding into place. You have to experience it to believe how perfectly this works.

The case not only solves my reception problem but it also seems to have added bars for me -- I'm in a rural area right now, with at best 2-3 bars of Edge service, and the case gets me 5. Don't ask me how! The magnets have no effect at all on the functioning of the phone. I imagine the compass would be impacted, but since I don't use that feature I'm not worried about it.

Unlike the Vaja Top for iPhone 4, this case comes with a belt clip option. You can choose not to use it and the case is then flat on the back with a small silver plug where the belt clip knob would be. Piel Frama supplies a tool for you to remove that and replace it with the belt clip knob. The belt clip itself is bomber -- no way would it fall off or release the phone! And while the belt clip has no ratchets -- it is continuously adjustable -- it has just enough friction resistance to stay put on your hip no matter what position you put it in: horizontal, vertical, or at an angle.

Simply put, the belt clip works perfectly.

The case's padding makes it less vulnerable to drops and indeed the case design seems intended to also provide crush protection. The walls of the top flap match the walls of the bottom of the case and they have built in a little space or air there. (In one of the pictures I am attaching you can see the space they are building in to protect the screen.) If there was an impact, your screen would still be safe. And if you dropped it, unless you were unfortunate enough to hit that exposed camera corner, I'm pretty sure it would simply bounce.

In my view this case is much more protective than the Vaja Top. With the Top you feel like you are holding a thin layer of leather covering plastic. With the iMagnum, you are holding a cushioned layer of leather over ABS plus there is a small gap built in to further protect your screen.

As a result this case is indeed a bit deeper than the Top. The net effect is that it adds just enough padding to be the same thickness as the Vaja Top with 3GS inside. Nothing to worry about, in my opinion. If absolute thinness is your goal, neither the Vaja Top nor the iMagnum nor any flap case, for that matter, should be on your consideration list.

In summary -- this case is fabulous. It provides more protection, more beauty, more fabulousness in the hand. It is returnable. And if you order from a place like cases.com you can get it overnight or in days rather than months -- and at the same price as the Vaja. (It's a bit more expensive to order this directly from Spain). You get all the benefits of a flap case in terms of protection, without the flap getting in the way. And you have the option of a belt clip!

Really, if you are in the market for this type of case you should give this one some serious consideration. It is gorgeous!

Now for some pictures -- which I will have to do in groups, I think. Note all pictures were taken with a Nikon D300, using Pro glass -- either the Nikkor 2.8 105 Micro VR or the Nikkor 2.8 17-55 DX. All shots were taken in natural light using a Gitzo carbon tripod with Markins M10 Ballhead. And yes, I am a semi-professional Fine Art Photographer, but no I don't ever shoot this type of subject!

Here are some photos:



Hennesie2000
Jul 31, 2010, 05:02 PM
just my opinion but EEEWWWWWWWW

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 05:06 PM
More:

appleguy123
Jul 31, 2010, 05:06 PM
This is only how I feel, but if Apple gave me a redesigned iPhone 5 early and the only stipulation was that I had to keep it in that case, I would laugh them and turn the offer down. That is the most horrible looking case I have ever seen.

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 05:10 PM
just my opinion but EEEWWWWWWWW

:D:D Red is not your color, eh?

Just a couple more pics and I'm done.

localboy28
Jul 31, 2010, 05:11 PM
Sorry but that is fugly

IrishVixen
Jul 31, 2010, 05:18 PM
I had a similar style for my first iPhone. For using the phone as a phone, or for data, I like the top flap setup. For using it as a camera though, it becomes awkward and unwieldy.

It's great that you found something you like so well! Thanks for the pics, they helped me confirm that this is definitely too thick a case for me, and I personally hate that style of clip, though I know others like it. I think their iPad cases are more elegant than this one turned out.

The red leather's a stunner though! Same color I had for my first iPhone case three years ago; it wore pretty well over time.

ARH1956
Jul 31, 2010, 05:21 PM
That's an atrocious case but at least it's an ugly color, LOL.

wrkactjob
Jul 31, 2010, 05:58 PM
I hate these style of cases, just imagine taking a call with that massive flap hanging down hitting you in the throat.

Dreadful.

essvee
Jul 31, 2010, 05:59 PM
Looks super-pocket-friendly.

F123D
Jul 31, 2010, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the review but definitely not something I'd want for my phone. I'd rather use a bumper.. =x

reliantj
Jul 31, 2010, 06:07 PM
that's a chunky ### case haha. to each their own.

wrkactjob
Jul 31, 2010, 06:07 PM
Thanks for the review but definitely not something I'd want for my phone. I'd rather use a bumper.. =x

Id rather use a sock out of the laundry basket!!

maverick86
Jul 31, 2010, 06:45 PM
Good review but the case is too...red. I feel like that case wouldn't look half bad in black but for $80 it's just too expensive.

asleep
Jul 31, 2010, 07:00 PM
Verrry pretty ..... me like. :D

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 07:44 PM
Mmmm. Shoulda photoshopped it in black. But I didn't order black because black is so ....black.

Anyways, I am a photographer and I tried to make the photos as revealing as possible. Note that any flap case is bulky -- ANY. ALL will fit in your front pocket, and this is not materially bulkier than any other. This one is the size of last year's Vaja for the 3G/S which I happily carried in my pocket.

Sigh. My point is this. If you are a leather fetishist of any kind (and you know who you are) AND you are interested in a flap case, this one will blow you away with its quality.

Watch this video. It is of another model Piel Frama but the leather quality is the same. And now you will know what I'm talking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm5x7LpxyXM&feature=related

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 08:34 PM
I had a similar style for my first iPhone. For using the phone as a phone, or for data, I like the top flap setup. For using it as a camera though, it becomes awkward and unwieldy.

It's great that you found something you like so well! Thanks for the pics, they helped me confirm that this is definitely too thick a case for me, and I personally hate that style of clip, though I know others like it. I think their iPad cases are more elegant than this one turned out.

The red leather's a stunner though! Same color I had for my first iPhone case three years ago; it wore pretty well over time.

Happy to have saved you some money! Although in fairness my photos were designed to be very revealing -- the case doesn't seem thick in real life.
And I'm with you on the belt clip -- I never use them! But I thought people would want to see that.

Do you own the Piel Frama iPad case? I'm so hooked on their leather that I am thinking of ordering one -- but I am concerned the case may be too thick! ;)

kirkx5m
Jul 31, 2010, 08:41 PM
barf

richxps
Jul 31, 2010, 08:41 PM
Wow thank god for bumpers

schulzmc
Jul 31, 2010, 08:44 PM
Happy to have saved you some money! Although in fairness my photos were designed to be very revealing -- the case doesn't seem thick in real life.
And I'm with you on the belt clip -- I never use them! But I thought people would want to see that.

Do you own the Piel Frama iPad case? I'm so hooked on their leather that I am thinking of ordering one -- but I am concerned the case may be too thick! ;)

I have the PF iPad case and love it. Not too thick IMHO.

reliantj
Jul 31, 2010, 09:02 PM
it's thicker than others...

The Vaja's are way thinner, for example.
Also SGP's Valencia and Argos leather cases are way thinner.

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 09:17 PM
it's thicker than others...

The Vaja's are way thinner, for example.
Also SGP's Valencia and Argos leather cases are way thinner.

The Vaja is NOT way thinner -- I have one.

The SGP is, however, way thinner.

random person
Jul 31, 2010, 09:18 PM
I have the PF iPad case and love it. Not too thick IMHO.

Thanks for that -- I may go ahead and order one.

yankintx
Jul 31, 2010, 09:22 PM
just my opinion but EEEWWWWWWWW



You got that right! Spend all that money on a case and hope that when you drop it, it doesn't land on the exposed camera section.

ngrimes-2010
Jul 31, 2010, 09:33 PM
Looks super-pocket-friendly.

I don't know why but this got me uncontrollably laughing LOL

ToroidalZeus
Jul 31, 2010, 09:47 PM
that case is nasty

reliantj
Jul 31, 2010, 10:14 PM
i guess this turned into the "look at my ugly case" thread.

thesumokid
Jul 31, 2010, 10:48 PM
nice case man looks good. heard good stuff about piel frama cases.

nyghthybrid
Aug 1, 2010, 12:30 AM
ugh. uglyyy. esp the red. so tacky. maybe if it was black...

Lenow
Aug 1, 2010, 07:23 AM
I like the look. I am waiting for my black, almost 3 weeks now. I like raja products but they aren't putting belt clips on their iPhone 4 cases so that leaves this piel frama bottom up flip case alone in the class. If anyone knows abbot bottom up flip leather with belt clips please pass the info along. Thanks for your thoughtful review.

random person
Aug 1, 2010, 09:12 AM
I think the case would look great in black. I only went for the red because I always get black cases and I wanted something different. Not sure why people can't focus on the case itself even if they wouldn't want it in red.
It is really very well made and it will be worth the wait, I'm sure. Oh and thanks for your kind words about the review, lenow.

*smb*
Aug 1, 2010, 09:48 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do a review and photos! I for one enjoy seeing accessory photos taken by the consumer - they usually show something different that one might not notice on the manufacturer's website. Also great to hear what people do and don't like after trying something out. :)

django696
Aug 1, 2010, 10:03 AM
I'm probably going to get one in tan when I get my phone..A case is for protection, right? This one seems to fit the bill for that. The only problem does the flap cover the flash & lens when you open it???????????

random person
Aug 1, 2010, 11:13 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do a review and photos! I for one enjoy seeing accessory photos taken by the consumer - they usually show something different that one might not notice on the manufacturer's website. Also great to hear what people do and don't like after trying something out. :)

Thank you for your comments! I deberately made sure to guarantee that the photos were precisely revealing -- no beauty shots here, just very accurate close ups so that anyone who is interested in this type of case could see exactly what it looks like. Unfortunately there's no way to communicate the quality of the leather!

random person
Aug 1, 2010, 11:17 AM
I'm probably going to get one in tan when I get my phone..A case is for protection, right? This one seems to fit the bill for that. The only problem does the flap cover the flash & lens when you open it???????????

Yes i would say it is incredibly protective and well made. As for the camera you do have to hold up that top flap while shooting. That sounds a lot worse than it is to do in practice -- it's really not a big deal.

But of course you may think differerently but at least if you get one of these and decide you don't like it you can always return it.

BTW did you check out the video I posted earlier in the thread? It is of a different piel frama iPhone case but it is the same tan leather. The tan is great looking!

jblock
Aug 11, 2010, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the review and all the photos. Going for the tan one.

hidefguy
Aug 11, 2010, 02:12 PM
it's thicker than others...

That's what she said...:D

makefunnyfaces
Aug 11, 2010, 04:04 PM
I hate cases with flaps. I use my phone too much to be bothered by opening/closing one. I do like the red, though!

steve31
Sep 10, 2010, 02:16 AM
Well... I like that case! I have the same model in black for my Nexus One and love the look and the way it feels. My only concern with the iPhone 4 model is the cut out for the camera does not provide any protection. Nice case!

sarends
Apr 14, 2012, 07:16 PM
Looks like a beautiful case.

SchneiderMan
Apr 14, 2012, 07:30 PM
Looks like they tried to copy Vaja, but failed miserably.

LOLOMGWTFBBQ
Apr 14, 2012, 09:23 PM
Appreciate the write up and pics! With that said, one of the ugliest cases I've seen.

Falk3n
Apr 16, 2012, 12:32 AM
I will stick to my otterbox defender :)

djransom
Apr 16, 2012, 02:12 PM
I hate these style of cases, just imagine taking a call with that massive flap hanging down hitting you in the throat.

Dreadful.

That's what she said ;)

Dkorda
Apr 21, 2012, 08:03 AM
If that case don't score you 'all the chicks' I don't know what will.

aroych2
Apr 23, 2012, 05:12 PM
Don't know if it's the General Tso's chicken I had for lunch, but not feeling well after looking at these photos.