The Bravo Case for iPhone 5 and 5s by Tigra Sport is the world’s first shock-proof and waterproof case that’s made out of aluminum. The anodized aluminum case is stylish and offers great protection for your phone in a world full of accidents, while still allowing uncompromised touch screen use. The Bravo Case is available now for $99.99.
The Bravo is a sandwich type case that is made of two pieces that screw together to encapsulate your phone. These two pieces work together with an included screen protector to create a water and dust-proof seal around your iPhone 5 or 5s. There are cutouts in the back and bottom of the case to allow for the camera, flash, lighting port, and headphone jack. The lighting port and headphone jack are protected from the elements using a rubber seal that’s attached to the case. The lighting port is further sealed using a plastic cap that is also attached to the case. The case also comes with a screw-in headphone jack seal that will fully waterproof your headphone jack. The case itself weighs 90g or 3.17oz. That is almost double the weight of the iPhone 5 itself, which weighs 112g or 3.95oz.
Included inside the Bravo Case retail box is: the case itself, a cleaning cloth, the screen protector, a torx screw driver, spare torx screws, a screw-in headphone seal cap, headphone conversion cable adapter, and a flat tapered tool that’s used to separate the two sides of the case when removing the case.
In order to be totally honest about the Bravo Case, I want to split the performance review into two parts; the daily usability of the case, and the protection that the case provides to your iPhone 5 or 5s.
Bravo Case Daily Usability
Full Disclosure: I typically do not use hardcore rugged cases for my iPhone 5, because I don’t drop my phone often or put it in a position to get dunked in water. So, some of my comments below may be due to my personal preferences and not being used to such a protective case. However, my wife uses a Lifeproof case and I have not found that I have a lot of these complaints when I use her phone.
I have found the Bravo Case very difficult to use in my daily life in the week that I’ve been testing it. In my mind, the perfect protective iPhone case will be unobtrusive, yet strong. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the Bravo has definitely affected the way I use my iPhone 5. The screen protector includes a plastic piece that covers the home button and allows use of the home button while still protecting the rest of the phone from water and dust. However, I’ve found that I can’t feel the home button click, which is an important tactile response when pressing the home button. This has led to accidental double-clicks or not actually clicking the button at all. Also, the circular membrane that protects the home button is too large and you can see it through the bottom of the screen window in the screen protector, see the photo below.
Another one of my pet peeves with this case is that the speakers are severely handicapped when the case is equipped. In order to hear the speakers clearly, I end up having to open the rubber gasket over lighting port and headphone jack to allow more air for the sound to pass through. Speaking of the lighting port, the opening in the case is too small to allow just any lighting cable to fit through. It needs to be an original Apple lighting cable or something of similar size, which I’ve found is not common amongst third-party lighting cables. Typically, the third-party lighting cables are larger than the Apple lighting cables. While I was travelling this past weekend, I was not able to charge my iPhone on the go because I didn’t have my original Apple lighting able with me.
Another reason I would not want to use the Bravo case on a daily basis is that it’s just too difficult to install and uninstall from my phone. When I wasn’t able to charge my phone, it would have been nice to be able to take the case off of my phone and then reinstall it. Unfortunately, you need a specialized screwdriver and flat tool to remove the case. If the case were easier to install and uninstall, it would be much more flexible.
On the plus side, the screen protector did not seem to impede my use of the touch screen on my iPhone 5 at all. While there did seem to be some space between the screen protector and my touchscreen, I did not notice any accidental “non-touches” while using my phone, which was a nice surprise.
The Bravo Case does provide impressive protection against dust and drops. While the edges of the case did chip when dropped on concrete, my phone was left undamaged. With the weight of the case, it actually feels like I could throw my phone across the room and nothing would happen to it. It’s a pretty good feeling to know that my expensive device is so well protected.
Check out the video below to see how the case fares while thrown under a car tire and being run over! Although there was some damage to the plastic lighting port cover, the rest of the case remained undamaged.
Unfortunately, unlike the Lifeproof cases, there is no way to water test the Bravo Case before putting your device inside. So since I didn’t want the chance of losing my iPhone to water damage, I did not do any waterproof testing on this case.
However, speaking of the case’s water protection, the rubber gasket that protects the lighting port and headphone jack doesn’t necessarily waterproof the headphone jack. While the combination of the gasket and plastic clip will waterproof the lighting jack, the rubber gasket itself does not fully protect the headphone jack from water. In order to fully protect the headphone jack from water you need to use the separate screw-in headphone jack seal. But, the rubber gasket is still necessary to waterproof the lighting port, so it’s not like you can take it off; the headphone gasket will just be hanging out there while the screw-in seal is in place.
While the case does provide adequate protection to dust, drops, car tires, and very likely water, it does hamper the everyday use of the iPhone. Something that I did not mention earlier is the innate problem with aluminum cases, which is degradation of WiFi and cellular signals. Although this is an almost universal problem with aluminum cases, this issue cannot be overlooked with the Bravo Case. I did notice some cellular and WiFi signal issues while using it. Unfortunately, because it affected the everyday use of my phone so much, I can not and would not recommend this case.
What I Like: Nice looking aluminum design; Provides good drop and dust protection; No touchscreen sensitivity loss with screen protector
What Needs Improvement: No way to water test the case before installing phone; Interferes with everyday use of phone though WiFi and cellular signal loss
Source: The Bravo Case was a manufacturer supplied review sample