First of all, we're giving away four Vapor cases in your choice of colors to four lucky readers. Second, the Vapor case is awesome. The Vapor bolts onto the edge of your iPhone 4 and cradles it in aircraft aluminum, complete with little rubbery grips on the inside to isolate the antenna and provide some shock absorption. It adds just enough width to the phone on the edges to make it a little easier to grip, especially if your hands are larger. The indentation allows for added grip, plus the larger edge makes it slightly more stable if you want to sit your iPhone on its edge.
True, at $79.95 the Vapor is not for everyone. It is a premium case. If you like finely-crafted accessories, you will love it. Apple's case provides similar protection, so if you're on a budget, you can afford to buy a cheaper case. Still, the machined power button and the cutouts for volume, SIM, cable connector and headphones are meticulously cut. There's clearly a lot of thought in the design of this case. If you appreciate great design and want a case that stands out from the rest, the Vapor is for you. You can even get custom engraving and several colors. The downside is that ElementCase, makers of the Vapor, are busy taking pre-orders and aren't currently shipping.**
(**Note: Since this writing, TUAW has learned that ElementCase is, in fact, shipping both current and back orders. Expected order processing time is currently less than two weeks.)
To put your iPhone in the Vapor, you'll need a little hex wrench that comes with the case. There's an optional carbon fiber back plate you can add, but I didn't feel it was necessary. Once the four screws are in place, the case cannot easily be removed. That could be a minus if you tend to use a dock, because you'll have to keep the wrench with you and unscrew those screws every time you want to dock the phone. Still, in my road testing I never felt I needed to remove the case. It made the iPhone feel sturdier, fit better in my hand and provided insulation from my antenna woes.
Details on the giveaway on the next page.