Bumper style cases are typically made with a silicone or TPU material. These rigid, yet jelly like materials are suitable for minor bumps and bruises but may not be so helpful for the rugged user. The RAILkase p5 by Scosche is a new case that combines bumper functionality with the protective framing of aluminum, and it just brought home a CES 2013 Design and Engineering award.
It is difficult to find metal bumper cases simply because of the nature of the bumper. A bumper case runs the rim of an iPhone, only providing protection on the sides and corners of your device. Thanks to the creative team at Scosche, the RAILkase utilizes a hinge and locking system to provide a nonbendable bumper option…
Crafted from solid anodized aircraft grade aluminum, the RAILkase uses three different corner hinges to provide an opening large enough to slip in the iPhone. Although the left, right, and bottom edges are a matte finished aluminum, the top locking piece appears to be a high polished plastic. I find this to be an odd combination. Perhaps using aluminum on aluminum as a locking connection proved complicated. It does not detract from the quality, but I would prefer all four sides to be aluminum
Because a metal bumper would grind into the finish on an iPhone, the case comes with a silicon bumper insert to protect against abrasions and provide a shock resistant layer. The two layer system fits like a glove, both around the iPhone and into one another. Cut similarly to the iPhone 5, the exterior aluminum shell has flat sides with a cut edge on the top and bottom.
The port openings are well crafted, giving a perfect outline to the docking port, speakers, headphone jack, and mute switch. However, the sleep/wake and volume buttons are covered by the silicone interior bumper, covering the items that do not need direct exposure to operate correctly.
When it comes down to it, I really do not prefer to use any cases, skins, bumpers, or sleeves. Using my iPhone naked is the best possible experience, but sometimes I need some protection. Aside from a skin, bumper cases are the minimalist option while still providing a certain level of protection.
The RAILkase still provides six sided protection and utilizes aluminum to solidify the rigid bumper, which otherwise would simply be another gelatinous rim. Combining the shock absorbing ability of the silicon lining with the sturdy metal exterior gives RAILkase a nice double standard offering.
Giving ample accessibility, I am glad to see the port holes are adequate. Too often, case manufacturers make the mute switch opening too small, requiring me to rely on my fingernail to slide into the opening and flip the switch down. With RAILkase, there is no fumbling around trying to mute the iPhone. The headphone port may be a different story, however. As the precise cut of the case rims the 3.5mm jack, larger headphone cable tips are not RAILkase compatible.
A lightweight, yet rigid and shock absorbing option, RAILkase is a good product to consider for your protection needs. Although the bumper does not come with a skin for the front or back, it still offers six sided protection by protruding slightly past the front and back edges.
A consistent image and design to the iPhone itself, RAILkase is somewhat subtle, aside from the Scosche branding etched down the right side. The clear silicone interior would preferably be replaced to match the exterior color to provide a more streamlined aesthetic, but a two-toned look may appeal to some users.
Overall, I genuinely like the railKASE at $39.99 and appreciate my friends at Scosche for sending this one over for review. The low profile fits nicely in a pants pocket, covers all sides, and offers rigid, bump resistant protection. While the RAILkase p5 is not the first aluminum bumper case to market, the hinged design truly sets it apart.
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