Accessory manufacturer Qmadix has hit the market with a set of three new iPhone 4/4S covers that vary in price and design but should appeal to a wide variety of iPhone owners. In this post, I'll take a quick look at the Qmadix Bezel Slide-On Cover (US$59.99), the Metalix Snap-On Cover ($29.99), and the Vibe Flex-Gel Cover ($24.99).
Bezel Slide-On Cover
As you might expect from the premium price on the Bezel Slide-On Cover, this lightweight and minimalist case is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. It's similar in size and shape to Apple's original iPhone 4 bumper, protecting only the aluminum rim of the iPhone from scratches.
Since the aluminum isn't flexible or stretchable, Qmadix had to figure out another way to install the Bezel. The top of the case simply slides on after the iPhone has been inserted into it, and locks to securely hold the phone in place.
The Bezel comes in black, gold, gray, purple and red. The review unit, in black, added a nice touch to a black iPhone 4S. There are strategically placed pads on the inside of the cover to make sure that it fits snugly, and I found the Bezel to be one of the more solid "bumper" type covers I've tested.
In case you're wondering if an aluminum cover would affect 3G and Wi-Fi signal strength on your iPhone, don't worry -- Qmadix provided small slits that line up with the black antenna "lines" that are on the perimeter of the iPhone 4 and 4S. I saw no difference in signal strength for either 3G or Wi-Fi with the cover installed and removed.
While the price of the Qmadix Bezel Slide-On Cover might be a bit high, it's much better constructed than the plastic and rubber Apple bumper. There is a slight lip around the rim of the iPhone glass when the Bezel is installed, and it seems that for a number of situations that may protect the iPhone screen and back from breaking as it provides a slight amount of clearance.
Compared to some other aluminum "bumpers" that I've tested, the Bezel is easy to install and remove, requires no tools, and feels solid while not adding a lot of weight or thickness.
Metalix Snap-On Cover
I couldn't look at the name of this iPhone cover without thinking of Metallica. That being said, the Metalix cover is far from heavy metal -- it's a lightweight polycarbonate shell that snaps onto your iPhone 4 or 4S, with an attractive aluminum alloy back that adds a colorful accent.
That aluminum alloy back comes in a variety of colors. The review model sported a brushed red aluminum back, with polished aluminum around the edges that reflect light. It's actually a quite attractive look. The aluminum also comes in black, blue, gray, and purple.
The Metalix protects the back glass on the iPhone 4 and 4S well, and as with the Bezel, there's just enough of a raised lip around the display to protect it from many face-down drops. Of the three Qmadix covers in this review, I liked the Metalix the most and at just $30, it's a bargain.
Vibe Flex-Gel Cover
I'm not a real fan of gel-type cases, so the Vibe Flex-Gel was probably my least favorite of the three covers. And despite the fact that I'm a Denver Broncos fan, the bright orange color of the review cover didn't help matters at all. Fortunately, the Vibe also comes in black, blue and white.
Once nice feature of the Vibe that many other gel-type cases are missing is the clear rear window that lets you display the Apple logo on the back of your iPhone in all of its glory. The back of the iPhone will be protected from scratches, but at least it's still partially visible even when clothed in the Vibe. The cover has some nice ridging around the outside to give it a better grip in your hand, although I still found the material to be rather slippery.
Despite my dislike of this genre of case, Qmadix still makes a high-quality product and if you're looking for a gel cover at a bargain price ($25), the Vibe should keep you happy.
I was pleased with all three of the Qmadix iPhone 4/4S covers. It appears that Qmadix has decided to make quality construction a differentiating feature with their phone covers, as these were definitely had a better build quality than many of the cases that come through the TUAW Labs.