When I was first contacted about reviewing the Element LIQUID Case, I was really quite excited. I have now been writing about iPhones for over a year and a half, and in that time I’ve written numerous case reviews. I still enjoy doing these reviews, but after a while cases start to look increasingly similar. But here was a case that was anything but the norm — how cool! In addition, here was a case that was not only unique, but it also offered customization and personalization the likes of which is rarely seen; I was anxious to receive the review unit.
So does the Element Case live up to my initial excitement? Let’s take a look —
This custom painted case is the Hot Rod of all cases!
Each Element Case is custom built and hand-assembled in the U.S. The LIQUID cases are injection molded from the finest clear Impact – Acrylic and PolyCarbonate polymers. Every LIQUID Element Case is then custom painted with up to 7 layers of House of Kolor** paint, to provide a quality appearance. Graphics are precisely Laser Engraved into the Flip-Lid and Backplate of every LIQUID Element Case, providing a customized look for the iPhone and iPhone 3G. The LIQUID CASE is designed to fit both the original classic iPhone, and the new iPhone 3G. Shaped with GamePlay in mind, the Element Case provides a totally unique look.
Having used the Element Case for a while now, I’m of two very different – and mutually exclusive – minds.
On the positive side —
The case is truly as unique as I was expecting it to be; it has an unusual shape and feel. It’s even built from materials that are certainly anything but commonplace. When the device is in the case there’s no question about the degree to which it is protected. The plastic is heavy duty and all but guarantees that the phone is safe from everything but the most radical abuse.
When placed over the screen the customized the faceplate allows the device’s screen to receive the same degree of protection as the rest of the device. At the same time, when you want access to the screen, the case is designed to allow the quick removal of the faceplate.
Moreover, the same magnets that hold it over the screen are present on the back of the case, and they provide a convenient way to ensure you won’t lose it.
The customization is neat. I was incredibly impressed by the way in which they were able to customize the faceplate after I sent them the logos from both Gear Diary and WhatsOniPhone. (The company was kind enough to send me two a faceplate with the logo of each).
In all, if you’re looking for a high degree of protection and a unique, eye-turning case, then this may just be the case for you.
On the less positive side —
If you’re looking for a case that is convenient, protects the iPhone while also respecting its smooth lines and gives you flexibility — then this is not the case for you.
Let’s start with convenience — in order to get the device into the case (or out of it) you need to use a special tool that ships with every case. You have to remove not one, not two, not three screws — but a total of four different screws before the plaque that holds the device inside of the case comes free. You then have to repeat the process to secure the phone inside it. If, like me, you use a variety of different cases depending upon what you have planned for the day, you’ll have to go through the entire process far too often. It was nothing short of maddening.
If one of the things you love about the iPhone is its sleek design, then this is not the case for you, either. To call the case bulky is at best, an understatement. It’s large, substantial, and adds a good deal of weight to the device. That said, a high degree of protection often comes with a large, heavy case.
Finally, if you’re looking for case that allows access to the iPhone that is simple and fast this probably isn’t the case for you, either. In order to access the screen you need to remove the face plate — something that requires two hands. Moreover, the case is large enough so as to make one-handed use of the device a challenge.
At a price that starts at $99, this is not a case that should be bought by anyone who isn’t planning on using it often.
In conclusion, I have a love-hate relationship with this case. I love the uniqueness and the degree of protection offers, but from a usability perspective I’m anything but a fan. I can see how someone would get this case and absolutely love it. That person, however, is not me.
The Element LIQUID iPhone Case is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like:
Offers a huge degree of protection
Makes gripping the iPhone easy
Good gripping for gaming
Cover protects screen and, when not needed, sticks to the back.
What Needs Improvement:
Bulky and heavy
Inconvenient to get in and out of case
Access requires a special, easy to lose, tool
Not dockable in case (you can sync and charge, however)