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After Antennagate, bumper cases became the norm as protective frames for the iPhone 4. A bumper offered some buffer between the iPhone and a table you'd set it down on, but it didn't protect either side of the chassis from scratches. This case from Element Case offers a three-part solution with its version of the bumper case by including a padded back plate and a screen protector for the front.
The Vapor COMP Epiphany iPhone case comes with its own instruction booklet, in case you needed any more proof that this is serious business First, you tack on the screen protector, and then you use the tiny Torx screwdriver keychain included with the case to install the aluminum frame. When you're finished, choose which backplate you like the most (either the Epiphany Blue Ultrasuede or the Hererra White Pearl, featured below), peel the adhesive paper from the back and place it so that it aligns with the rest of the case. It's a simple process, one that produces stylish results.
The bumper frame does not impact the use of either of the buttons on the iPhone 4S, though the power button doesn't have much feedback when you press it down. There's also a bit of rubber piping on the side of the case that helps you grib the phone. Since its material is very light, the bumper adds no extra weight to the iPhone, nor does it add bulk when you place it inside your pocket. The backplate is just as nonchalant, and feels like a soft piece of fabric when you grip it.
Overall, this is a fantastic case, and its colors look particularly nice paired with a white iPhone. However, the adhesive on the back could wear out over time. Since we had such limited time with the review unit, there's no guarantee that it could withstand hot temperatures or a steamy bathroom, which has often caused screen protectors to slide right off. Another caveat is that the case costs a little more than a Benjamin. That makes it a bit more pricey than the previously reviewed Rokform aluminum case, which offers a similar aesthetic and could easily be paired with front and back clear protectors from another vendor.
The bottom line. If you've got the cash flow and you're looking for a bumper case that's stands out from the rest, the Vapor COMP Epiphany case from Element Cases is well worth a look.
Vapor COMP Epiphany iPhone Case