When the iPhone 4 first came out, Apple did something different with that phone and introduced us to the world of bumper cases. These simple cases basically protected the outer edges of the iPhone from small drops and bumps while allowing the beauty of the rear panel to show uncovered. With the iPhone 5, Apple no longer makes a bumper for this device but many third party case manufacturers do. Most have the look of Apple’s original bumper or are some variation of it but others go above and beyond Apple’s original design in terms of beauty and materials. One of the most sought after bumper designs has always been the aluminum bumper because of its strength, light weight, and just for the overall fact that it looks damn cool on your phone. One company that you’ve probably never heard of that makes an aluminum bumper is Esoterism, a case manufacturer from Taiwan. One of their first aluminum bumpers for the iPhone 5 is the Embrace-5 which I was lucky enough to get a sample of.
Design and Build
The Esoterism Embrace-5 is entirely made of aluminum. It’s a bumper so it’s meant to only go around the perimeter of your iPhone 5. What makes this aluminum bumper different than a lot of the others is that the Embrace-5 is a completely tool-less design meaning it can be installed without the need of a screwdriver or hex key.
The Embrace-5 achieves this with the use of a special thumbscrew that is located on the top of the case. Unscrew this and the Embrace-5 can be opened up. It’s technically three separate pieces of aluminum that are connected via a hinge system that is located near the bottom of the case. Just spread the pieces outward and you can then wrap it around your iPhone 5. Hinge it back close and then secure it with the thumbscrew. It’s that easy and literally takes only a few seconds to install. If you’re worried about the aluminum maybe scratching up your iPhone, don’t be because the inside of the case is lined with what appears to be a rubbery material that is non-conductive so it should not affect your cell signal.
One bonus feature on the Embrace-5 is that it has a built in strap hole. I know smartphones these days don’t come with these but it’s a neat bonus feature that allows you to attach little phone charms or a wrist strap to it.
In terms of fit and finish, the Embrace-5 is spot on and fits like a glove. The case looks great and for an aluminum case, I’m surprised that there aren’t really sharp edges on it. The only tiny issue you may have with the case is that the volume buttons are not a little bit harder to press down since they are recessed now but you don’t have that problem with the sleep/wake button because the case comes with a built in button that goes over the original one. Also the case they sent me was anodized in their Kyoho Sauvignon color which is basically like a gunmetal type color. The finish on it is superb being very smooth and even.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the Esoterism Embrace-5. It’s a company I had never heard of before but then again, I’m sure there are a ton of companies out there who make really neat stuff that we’ve never been exposed to. That’s why it’s always fun finding a new company that makes such wonderful products.
The Embrace-5 is great little aluminum bumper that fits great, looks great, and feels great. I love the fact that it does not require a tool to install or take off which means that you can take it on and off at will without having to search for a tool. I also like the fact that it comes in a lot of different colors, Kyoho Sauvignon, Opus Noir, Cigar Mojito , Champagne Blush, Space Gray, Rosy Cheek, and Oyster Blue. The Embrace-5 is a bit expensive though at $89.00, although that’s not the highest price I’ve seen for an aluminum bumper. I think it’s worth the price though for the quality you get. You can pick one up here directly from their site or from the links below.
- Kyoho Sauvignon – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Kyoho Sauvignon
- Opus Noir – Esoterism EF5-ONO Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Opus Noir
- Cigar Mojito – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Cigar Mojito
- Champagne Blush – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Champagne Blush
- Space Gray – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Space Gray
- Rosy Cheek – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Rosy Cheek
- Oyster Blue – Esoterism Embrace-5 Aluminum Bumper Case – Oyster Blue