ElementCase is at it again, and this time they took a different approach to wrapping iPhone in safety and luxury. Traditionally, ElementCase sells aircraft-grade aluminum bumper cases that just covers iPhone’s frame, but the new Solace case is a full case that morphs your iPhone 5/5S into a brand new device altogether. It’s a beautiful mesh of precision CNC machined aluminum and ultra-durable polycarbonate. It looks and feels unlike any other iPhone case.
Every ElementCase has had the ability to morph iPhone into a completely new device. It physically locks onto iPhone–it won’t pull from the edges or fall off, it becomes one with iPhone. It is sealed around iPhone and literally locked around iPhone with Hex screws. The Solace, unlike most other ElementCases, incorporates polycarbonate that covers the entire back of iPhone. It sort of looks like a regular iPhone case, until closer inspection.
ElementCase Solace is 3 pieces: the back and sides are one piece of polycarbonate with neat side grips and metal volume button overlays. The top and bottom of the case is aircraft-grade aluminum, which is what ElementCase is known for. The polycarbonate has a soft touch finish, but it’s quite rigid. iPhone can only slide into this piece with both the top and bottom crown removed. There’s a hex screw on all four corners, iPhone is locked in, and then the case is official!
The Solace case exceeds iPhone’s face by a couple of millimeters on all sides. A screen protector is never a bad idea, but the Solace does a very solid job of protecting iPhone. All corners are covered and the case is built for high impact. It’s not just protective, it’s thin, sleek, lightweight, and grippy. All of these qualities make Solace+iPhone a pleasure to hold in-hand.
It can be scary being out in the wild with a case that can’t be removed from iPhone. Luckily ElementCase includes a screwdriver disguised as a keychain. There’s a large opening on the bottom of the case for access to the headphone and charging port. It will fit most, but not all, headphone cables. The same applies for lighting cables. Docks are probably out of the question, unless it’s the ElementCase VaporDock.
When you have the ElementCase Satin in-hand, it’s clear that it’s not your run-of-the-mill iPhone case. I even had a couple people asked me “what kind of phone is this?”. The aluminum and screws give off a modern, but industrial chic, appearance. The usability on ElementCases has been consistently improving–there’s machined volume buttons and lock buttons, the vibrate toggle is easy to access, there’s a large cutout for the ports, and the screwdriver can travel wherever your keys do. It’s also less expensive than other ElementCases. It only loses points for requiring all four hex screws to come out to remove iPhone; most other ElementCases require only one or two screws to free iPhone. The ElementCase Solace for iPhone 5/5S is currently available for $79.95 in four colors: Satin Black, Pearl Gray Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, and Italian Red. It’s a more-expensive-than-average case, but its also a better-than-average iPhone case.
The Good: Beautiful, Different Color Options, Transforms iPhone into new device, Lightweight, Sleek, Grippy, Protective, Integrated buttons, More affordable than other ElementCases
The Bad: Pricey, You have to unscrew and screw 4 hex screws to remove or apply iPhone, Red model’s edges darken from wear, Can lock dust between iPhone and case