e13ctron Hybrid S4 Review on iPhone 4S

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Stangs55, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Stangs55 macrumors 6502a

    Stangs55

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    The Lone Star State
    #1
    Received my new e13ctron Hybrid S4 yesterday in the mail and figured I'd share some early impressions.
    (See this thread for a review of the non-Hybrid version)

    Some Background
    In my opinion, aluminum bumper cases are the classiest looking cases on the market for your iPhone. Whether it's an Element Vapor or an e13ctron, the fit and finish of these cases is unparalleled. Unfortunately, the problem with aluminum cases has always been that they interact with the antenna on the iPhone 4 and attenuate the signal--whether it is your 3G, WiFi, or GPS signal, some or all of them were affected to different degrees.
    To combat this, case manufacturers have had to find inventive ways to keep the aluminum from coming in contact with the iPhone's metal band. Element does this by using a small synthetic band that keeps the Vapor Pro (not the Vapor 4) from touching the antenna. E13ctron addressed the issue by making the bottom half of their two piece aluminum case not aluminum; instead, they've replaced it with an acetyl material, which is a hard thermoplastic. So between the top aluminum band and the iPhone, you get a rubbery gasket that keeps the two from touching, and on the bottom you now have a hard, machined plastic.
    Which of the two is better? Well that's beyond the scope of this poster. I've never used a Vapor case, so I can't comment on it. I chose the e13ctron based on looks alone. It's worth noting that the Vapor case is twice the price of the e13ctron, which may be a huge factor for some users. Fortunately, I'm in a place where money wasn't the limiting factor...but I just prefer the look of the e13ctron over the Vapor.

    Fit
    Well I can't really say enough about the fit. It's difficult to use the word "perfect"...but the fit is perfect. I mean I imagine that somewhere, in some e13ctron lab, some fella took precise laser measurements of the iPhone 4 and used those to machine a piece of aluminum with absolutely zero tolerances. As you can see in the pics below, it's fits exactly like e13ctron wanted it to be. There is absolutely no wiggle, give, flex, or bend anywhere in the case. It is truly like an extension of the case.
    My only concern with the fit is that there is a very small space that is created between the case and the phone. This groove seems like it will build up dirt and crud as time goes on...we'll see.

    Feel
    Do you know what aluminum feels like? Well that's what an aluminum case feels like :D...or at least that's what the top half of this case feels like as that's the only aluminum piece. I chose the matte option, which I'm told has more grip than its polished brethren. The bottom half of acetyl plastic feels like a high quality, very very hard plastic. The only way to really tell that is not aluminum is that it lacks the grain inherent to aluminum. It almost feels like a metal. It's a bit smoother than the aluminum and you can certainly tell that they are different materials, but it doesn't feel cheap at all.
    The only thing I would change about the feel would be rounding off the corners a bit more. They're not sharp, but there are definite edges that you can feel when holding the phone. It's not really a criticism as it was a design choice and adds to the machined look of the case, but rather a personal preference.

    Performance
    It's been 16 hours since I received my iPhone 4S and installed the e13ctron hybrid...so I'm not exactly in a place to accurately comment on performance. I will say that there seems to be absolutely no impact on the antennas. My GPS acquires signal rapdily, my WiFi signal is strong throughout the house, and my 3G bars are in the same place they are on my wife's iPhone 4 with an Otterbox Defender in place. I'll update this post as times goes on.

    Protection
    Sorry guys, but I won't be doing a drop test with my 64Gb 4S, so all I can do here is theorize. I'm a pretty careful guy and take good care of my toys, so I feel that I'm the kind of person who can go without a Lifecase or Defender and be just fine. In my profession, however, I carry my iPhone on my waist ALL day and constantly pull it out for phone calls, email, and apps...so the imminent threat of accidents is always there. In the past, I've used the Otterbox Commuter as it seems to be the perfect marriage of style and protection. In fact, if I could only use one case the rest of my life, the Commuter would be it. But my ADD has gotten the better of me this go round, and I started looking for something different. I rarely/never droped my iPhone, so why was I lugging around a two layer case adding significant bulk to my device? After much soul searching, an aluminum bumper case seemed to be what I needed.
    In daily use, I'd actually imagine that this little aluminum bumper is much more protective than people give it credit for. The top and bottom of the case are protected by a lip so that it's never setting on the ground. If you drop the case, it seems that the low tolerances of the aluminum and plastic would (hopefully) transmit some of that shock around the band. So instead of absorbing the shock like in silicon cases, you're transmitting it around the edge of the iPhone in the aluminum. At least that's my theory. ;) I'll update this post after my first drop. It's worth noting that I do plan on putting a clear shield on the back of the phone to protect it from scuffs. In addition, carbon and designer backplates have become very popular with aluminum cases...they're just not my style. To me, the seem to say you're trying to hard. Subtle elegance speaks much louder, imho.

    Conclusion
    In the end, this really is a phenomenal case at an unbeatable price. To me, you get unrivaled style and elegance in the best looking case at any price range for any phone. It just feels different and expensive...heck, I was asked at dinner last night by two different people what case I had on my phone. It's a head turner and you won't likely run into someone else with the same case over the life of your phone. Right now they are running a discount if you use the coupon code 'E1315' getting you 15% off your order; that brings the e13tron Hybrid to $59, a true steal if you ask me.

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  2. iEnvy macrumors 65816

    iEnvy

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Location:
    DFW
    #2
    Good review, glad you like it. I like the look of this aluminum case compared to my Atomic
     
  3. THEAnonymous macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #3
    Sorry if this is a dumb question - can't tell from the pics - but does the backside have a plastic protector on it, or is this basically just an aluminum bumper? Thanks.
     
  4. Bakes7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    #4
    First off, great review. I have been doing heavy research for the right case for my newest Iphone and I think this is where I am landing. Thanks for the coupon code, I'm going to book mine right now.
     
  5. Bakes7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
  6. Stangs55 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Stangs55

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    The Lone Star State
    #6
    No plastic protectors. Just the 4S and the case.

    Dark grey matte.
     
  7. Stangs55 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Stangs55

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    The Lone Star State
    #7
    Well...that didn't take long...

    My wife dropped the phone this morning in the parking lot from about waist height...no dings, no cracks. :)
     
  8. Mrrikki macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    #8
    Stangs, is your phone a GSM version? Just asking as that is the version we have in the UK and want to know if the volume rockers work.

    Not sure if you have different types in the US anyway now?!

    Thanks
     
  9. Mr D macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #9
    her phone or yours?
     
  10. Mr D macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    #10
    does it come with a tool to install the screws?
     
  11. VidPro macrumors 6502a

    VidPro

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    #11
    I dropped my phone today getting out of my car. The case took the beating and not the phone. It did its job. I'm careful with my stuff too but accidents happen. If I had nothing on this phone it would have some real battle scars now.

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    Yes
     
  12. Mr D macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
  13. VidPro macrumors 6502a

    VidPro

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    #13
    Just the case, screws, and tool.
     
  14. Stangs55 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Stangs55

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    The Lone Star State
    #14
    All 4S' are the same.

    ----------

    Mine!
     
  15. bighabeeb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    #15
    Stangs - what does the hybrid side material feel like? Is it similar to what others are calling "hybrid" material or is it more plasticy? Last E13 I had hands on was early on all aluminum, so I'm curious...

    Are they still using those plastic insert jobbies on the inside?

    ----------

    I agree, much as I like the look of the atomic, this has a bit more style to it. I had one of the all aluminum ones early on and literally the ONLY complaint I had was that the screws were so tiny they were a pain in the butt :)
     
  16. Stangs55 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Stangs55

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    The Lone Star State
    #16
    Well I'm not sure what the other's feel like...so I can't really draw a comparison. It does have a plastic feel, but it doesn't feel cheap...if that makes sense.
    And there is a plastic flexible gasket that fits between the iPhone and the aluminum piece only.
     
  17. jcmeyer5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    #17
    Am I missing something? If I want to buy a case, I can purchase the individual pieces for less than buying the case as a whole? So, looking at the case at $85, or a top, a bottom, and a screw set for $77? And then the 15% on top of that? Does the S4V have the plastic inserts as well?

    They dont have their pricing set up right.
     
  18. McJUG macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    #18
    Just ordered one too!

    Can anyone recommend a skin for the back?
     
  19. tardman91 macrumors 6502a

    tardman91

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Tampa Area, FL
    #19
    Does anyone have the white back? Does it get dirty/yellowish after use like all of the other cases I've used, or does it stay nice and white?
     
  20. loskickking23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
  21. Ryvius819 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    #21
    Is there a version of the hybrid that comes with the front and back liner like the regular s4?
     
  22. VidPro macrumors 6502a

    VidPro

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    #22
    I just got the hybrid. I have a question about installing it though. Am I supposed to use one of those spacer pieces on the hybrid side too? It seems like it will not fit.
     

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