Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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August 23, 2012 • Reviews

DRACOdesign EVO for iPhone 4/4S Review

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We recently reviewed DRACODesign’s Cleave Crystal case for iPhone 4/4S (read the review). It is a nice, bumper-style case that avoids the issue of signal degradation thanks to its non-metallic construction. As the company puts it

By using polycarbonate as base material, the bumper is hard on the surface to prevent from scratch with elasticity around the frame of the bumper for shock absorption to protect your iPhone4/4S. CLEAVE weights only 9 gram while keeping the same aesthetics and mechanics design ingredients of DRACO IV. The amazing contours and curve lines of CLEAVE is a masterpiece of craftsmanship with ergonomics engineering design.

I liked and appreciated the look and feel of the case. Yes, the somewhat odd-shaped sides added visual interest, but they also made it more comfortable to hold the somewhat boxy iPhone 4S. I did, however, find myself wishing the case were able to maintain a strong signal but also avoid being made from the “polycarbonate”, aka plastic, material. That’s where the DRACO EVO for iPhone 4/4S comes in. Made from aluminum, it has the same great shape as the previous models we have seen but avoids any signal issue thanks to a small area of polycarbonate material. Let’s take a look.

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From the company:

DRACO EVO is engineered to highly reduce radio field interference. Research shows metal material may interfere with iPhone4/4S reception. By adopting composite materials of aluminum and polycarbonate, radio field interference is highly improved while the 2 textures in 2 different colors make this bumper truly stylish.

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The case comes with a screen protector, a cloth wipe, two extra screws and an alanwrench.

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A cursory look reveals a typical metal bumper-style case. We’ve seen these before and always appreciate the refined-look they offer. We have also seen the way in which such cases can kill your ability to use the phone as a phone thanks to all-but completely blocking any signal from getting in or out. That’s where the left-hand side of polycarbonate comes in.

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Yes, the case comes in two parts connected by the tiniest screws you will ever see. (More on that in a moment.) One side is beautifully-machines aluminum. The other is polcarbonate.

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Together they give you the best of both worlds: the refinement of metal and the usability of nonmetallic, non-signal killing material.

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And when screwed together the case wraps the iPhone in a protective ring that also looks and feels great.

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As you can see from the back (the phone is wearing a Bodyguardz protective skin) the case wraps tightly around the phone. When we reviewed the CRYSTAL case I found there was a bit of give between the phone and the case. It resulted in some creaking and a somewhat loose feel. There is none of that here. The EVO, once tightened in place, feels like it is actually part of the phone.

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To get the case as thin as it is the company had to use tiny screws. There are just two of them on the case- one at each joint- and they are about the smallest screws you can imagine. I lost one the first time I tried to put the case together. My point is, when working with the case to put it on or take it off, use a large flat area so that the screw, if dropped, doesn’t disappear forever.

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Like the previous case we reviewed from DRACOdesign, this case includes an insert for the mute toggle. Like the screws it is small. That makes it difficult to place properly. Take the time to do it right since, without it, the mute switch is inaccessible.

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The 30-pin dock connector is a bit recessed while using the case. It works fine with my cables and docks but large cables or shallower docks might be an issue.

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The case has an MSRP of $79.99. That is a bit on the high side but it is actually in the ballpark of other aluminum-style bumper cases. Best of all, in my experience the case does not have a negative impact on the signal strength of the phone. Add in the unusual shape, one that actually makes the phone MORE comfortable to hold, and this case is a winner. If you want an aluminum bumper case that looks and feels good AND keeps the iPhone completely usable, give this case a look. You can check out all the colors here on the company side. Check out this actual case here.

MSRP: $79.99

What I Like: Looks and feels great; Doesn’t negatively impact the iPhone signal

What Needs Improvement: Tiny screws that are easily lost; No lay on the table protection; Pricey

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