Going beyond the familiar world of traditional rubber, silicone, or TPU smartphone cases, I often find myself experimenting with substitutions that seem vastly out of the ordinary. While testing such cases for the brand-new iPhone 11 Pro, I happened upon the Element Case Black Ops Elite, which in my opinion, certainly lives up to the notion of being extraordinary.

Element Case’s Black Ops Elite case is built from a bevy of premium materials that you won’t find in most run of the mill iPhone cases, including a hard anodized aluminum frame that gets bolted into a sturdy G10 backplate, and a Dropshock-equipped TPU inner shell lined with a premium felt interior that gives your iPhone all the pampering and protection it needs.

At a tear-jerking $250, this case isn’t for everyone; in fact, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s not for most people – perhaps only the small 1% of iPhone users who demand the most premium of premium products that money can buy. Even then, it’s somewhat of a stretch.

I’m a huge fan of the case’s eye-popping black and red aesthetic in particular, which looks absolutely insane in person. The G10 backplate enveloped by the bolt-on aluminum frame looks rugged from any angle, and the red anodized aluminum buttons are particularly clicky when actuated.

In-hand, the case’s ridged edges and textured backplate are surprisingly grippy, and the case provides a decent lip around the camera module and the screen for added protection when laying your iPhone on any flat surface, but that’s not even the best part about this case.

At this price point, you’d be right to expect bells and whistles that the average case doesn’t incorporate, and I’d say it delivers them quite fashionably. You’ve probably already noticed the black metal belt clip on the rear, which can be removed without tools depending on your needs:

Just underneath the clip is a spring-loaded kickstand, which can be actuated via pulling down on the small rectangular switch at the bottom of the back of the case. The kickstand can prop your iPhone up at a 35-degree viewing angle, which is ideal for watching videos hands-free (I’m looking at you Netflix binge-watchers):

Lastly, you’ll find an integrated lanyard loop at the bottom-left of the case, and unlike the traditional lanyard loops you’ll notice that it’s particularly large. This is because Element Case includes a short 50-50 paracord lanyard in the box with a heavy-duty black steel clip, which is perfect for clipping your iPhone to a belt loop or backpack:

As for drop protection, Element Case says that the Black Ops Elite case withstands all MIL-spec drop testing standards, and so we have no doubt that this case will keep your iPhone from shattering when dropped. On the other hand, we probably wouldn’t want to see the beautiful hard-anodized finish after a drop, as it would likely become heavily marred after making contact with concrete. But hey, it adds character, especially for a rugged case, amirite?

TLDR; Element Case Black Ops Elite is a beautiful CNC-made work of art with unmistakable protection and niche features built in, but it’s also expensive as all hell, and probably isn’t the ideal case for the average iPhone user.

Here’s a short pros and cons list for those who’ve made it this far:

Pros:

  • Extremely slick-looking case that’ll surely make you the center of attention anywhere you go
  • Durable materials will keep your iPhone safe in everyday drops
  • Integrated kickstand lets you view videos hands-free
  • Integrated lanyard loop and included 50-50 paracord lanyard clip let you take your iPhone just about anywhere with confidence
  • Tactile buttons feel very responsive
  • Port and speaker holes are very large to accommodate for hefty connectors
  • Includes a complimentary screwdriver and spare screws in case you lose any

Cons:

  • The $250 price tag will turn most potential buyers away
  • The clip must be removed when you want to charge your iPhone wirelessly
  • It takes a while to install and uninstall this case due to being screwed together
  • Slicker in-hand than a rubber case

If your mouth began watering from the moment you laid eyes on this case, then you can pick one up for your iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max from Amazon for $250, but we wouldn’t blame you if you laughed at the idea of paying one quarter of the cost of your new iPhone just to protect it. As cool as it is, it’s tough to justify a price of this caliber for nothing more than a case.

What are your thoughts on the Element Case Black Ops Elite? Discuss in the comments section below.