The Element Vapor S protective case proves that sexy lines are not only for our cars.
Throughout high school and college, fast food and campus foods were typically the only types of food that I consumed. However, I occasionally felt that enough-was-enough and I wanted class, I wanted quality and I wanted flavor. It took multiple years to realize that fancy does not necessarily mean expensive. The sit-in restaurants tended to focus more upon on the dining experience and quality over the quantity served approach. I wish that this analogy only applied to fast food versus restaurant arguments, but we know that this applies to many of the tech devices that we use today. From printers to phone cases, to MP3 players, too many varieties of tech, our world has favored mass production to engineering marvels. Why should we upgrade to the higher quality more expensive cases? Hold on to the answer to that question for a moment and think about one more. Do you ever get tired of the fast food experience?
Instead of a one size fits all approach, the Vapor S case provided a form-fit, build it yourself experience. Like a kid in a Lego store, I could not wait to build the case around my phone. The 1.1-ounce case can best be described as a sandwich style case, which will require a small amount of construction. The case arrived fully assembled, resembling a bumper style case, but it was unlike other bumper style cases. The bumper style cases tend to be popular for their ease of installation, lightweight nature and added side/back and screen protection. However, many of them are bland, silicone/rubber, incredibly thin and provide only cursory protection. To install bumper style cases, you can simply press one edge into the case and then the other. I warn you, do not try that technique with this metallic case, or you may scratch up your phone. Instead, to install your iPhone X/XS into the Vapor S case, you will need to remove the five 0.50 hex screws from the back of the case. Since I received the case as a preview, only the case was sent and there was not an included 0.50 hex wrench (or back glass protector). Luckily, Harbor Freight sells Allen Wrench kits for Metric and US measurements, which included a 0.50 hex wrench. Once you unscrew each of the five screws, the case will easily separate into two halves, an upper and lower piece. As another warning, be careful with the small screws because they are small and scatter easily.
With the top removed from the case, I admired the internal construction. My iPhone X was placed under tension at the four corners and essentially eliminated any rattle. Replace the cover panel over the top and then reinstall the five hex screws to complete the installation. The case added very little bulk, measuring 3 1/8 inches wide by 6 inches tall by 7/16 inches thick and added very little mass to the weight of the phone. The case does not provide any direct coverage to the screen or to the back glass but provided amazing protection to the sides of the phone. The case added a boxy appearance to the iPhone, changing the shape from a rounded square/cylinder to an octagonal shape. If you look at the case from the side, top, or bottom, you will see a five faceted design. The case sloped upward from the screen and back, reaches a peak and then sloped downward toward the flat side. The opposing surface mirrored these changes and met at the flat side, top and bottom panel. Thanks to the raised peaks on the face/back panels, the case also added a degree of protection from glancings blows to the front/back. The case had perfectly placed cutouts for the volume toggle, speakers and lighting port. Cutting through the dark-as-night black color, the volume up, volume down and power buttons had blue metallic buttons. The buttons proved to be responsive, well placed and provided a reassuring click-feel. The entire front of the screen and most of the back glass were left unadorned. If you turn the iPhone face down, you will see that the company increased the width of the metal to improve grip. The side of the phone with the power button had a 3 1/8 inches long section and the opposing side had a 2 1/2 inch section that extended an extra 1/8 inches onto the back of the glass. This feature added grip and increased the visual appeal. With the phone face down and oriented with the screen notch away from you, you can easily see the Element Case logo.
As noted above, if you are looking for the cheapest case option or just something to throw onto your phone, this is not the case for you. The X/Y/Z sandwich design with the “^” shaped front/back angles, provided tabletop scratch protection by lifting the glass and iPhone into the air. I liked that I was able to install a glass screen protector to my screen and if I desired, I could add one to the back glass as well. Without question, I loved the lightweight nature of the case, the well-placed cutouts, the generously sized lightning port, and the responsive side buttons. I dropped my iPhone X from two to three feet onto my carpet without issue. I dropped the phone onto the side at 1 foot onto my hardwood and there was no damage to the phone or case. The case was designed for Mil-STD drop rating but I was too afraid to drop my phone from more extreme elevations. I will have to leave the full drop testing to others. I have carried the case around for the better part of two weeks and have fallen in love with the ergonomic grip, the wide open lightning port, the unencumbered speaker ports, volume toggle port, and the open back panel. The case was a delight to test and my iPhone X will continue to rest inside of the case until I upgrade to the XS Max. I can attest that the case will charge wirelessly and did not heat up.