Review: Designed by M Al13 iPhone 5 bumper case

One thing that phone hardware enthusiasts (like myself) hate most about adding cases to their handsets is the intrusive bulk that comes with it. So naturally, I’m not a big fan of covering up my phone with full body cases or bumpers, however, this case has altered my strong feelings on the subject matter. The case I’m talking about here is the AI13 from a former Kickstarter company by the name of ‘designed by m’. The AI13 is made with a special AeroSpace Aluminium that feels like a feather in your hand once out of its tin box.

Just to get a better sense of how light it is, when compared to the average aluminum bumper weight of 26 grams; the AL13 weighs almost half of that (14 grams to be exact). As a result, the case keeps the lightweight feel of the iPhone that we all love — it’s truly one elegant piece of material. The lightweight aluminum also prevents major signal loss, as it only drops the signal 5-10 percent, compared to the average 25 percent loss of other aluminium bumpers. I didn’t notice any real drop off in call quality when using my phone.

Putting the bumper on is a joy as well. Most cases or bumpers I’ve tried in the past have always had a janky way of going on the device or coming off. To put on the Al13, all you have to do is simply lay your iPhone 5 down inside the bumper and slide on the back plate: it’s really easy!

Once the Al13 is on, you’ll notice that the front of the phone along with the bezel almost is flush to the bumper case, but the back of the case doesn’t have the same closeness. This could be due to making the iPhone 5 better when it comes to drops, just a guess though. But I would be remissed if I didn’t mention the extras that comes with the Al13. What you get in the tin box is a screen protector for the front and back of the phone, along with a small microfiber-like cloth to wipe blemishes and prints.

Remarkably, the screen protector is no cheaply made plastic that goes over the display, instead it’s an anti-scratch, fingerprint and glare polyurethane screen protector. The protective film is great on the fingers when you’re performing your typical typing and swipe-gestures — it doesn’t feel icky after heavy phone usage.

Carrying my handset around with the bumper didn’t feel like holding a brick, it felt pleasantly light as I alluded to earlier. This allowed me to keep the case on throughout the day unbothered.

In the end, I’d have to say that this is one of the best accessories I’ve ever used. The presentation of the box catches your attention before you see the product, and once you open the box you become even more impressed. Designed by m delivered with this; the Al13 is quality to it’s core.

Al13 comes in five colors and sells for $79.99 here. Photo gallery is below!

  • julunair

    good case

  • julunair

    good case

  • Cool Design, very simple.

  • Andrew Fear

    I purchased one and I am noticing at least one drop in the signal bar with it on. I can’t explain it since this is supposed to be aluminum.

  • Janus2011

    Super happy with my Alfa case from EDGE Design

  • JonJ

    I liked everything about the case, except that my signal has been reduced significantly with the case on. I don’t have great reception at my house, and with the case on the battery drops very, very quickly due to bad reception. Take the case off, and the signal is better and I don’t have a ridiculous battery drain on my hands. Pretty disappointed with that aspect of the case, especially when it cost $80.

  • Martina

    I purchased the 4S bumper as a preorder customer in March, and since the first use experienced a loss in signal of at least 50% each time I use it. I live in a large city, where there shouldn’t typically be any communication issues and I also had issues while living in California. I wrote the company two emails to date about the return policy for preorder customers and have received no response or acknowledgement. It was an expensive purchase and renders my phone almost completely useless – I’m pretty unhappy about it and would never recommend this case to others.

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