Hot off of the release of the iPhone 4S, Element Case released an all black special edition of their Vapor Pro line of iPhone cases, aptly named Black OPS. This case is touted as being field ready, and that can certainly be considered an understatement. The case can take just about anything you can throw at it, which is more than you can say about the bumper style cases and most of the other third party iPhone cases on the market today. A majority of the cases that are available are either plastic, rubber, or a combination of the two. Sure, these can all protect against subtle bumps and movement, but pale in comparison to the Vapor Pro.
Manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum, and then followed up by getting anodized to thicken the hard protective layer, the case is designed for heavy duty. Casually tossing your phone after checking your messages or ending a phone conversation will often cause other cases to fall apart or become loose after repeated movement or bumping. With this case, that is far from the truth. After thoroughly using the case for an extended period of time, you will wonder if any of the four screws need tightening or if the case has shifted and will need to be adjusted. Definitely not. It is so finely crafted and designed with such precision that you most likely won’t have to worry about your case for the life of the phone.
Dropping your phone, which is not recommended for any electronic device, but does happen to the best of us, may worry you for that split second, but your mind is usually at ease when you realize that a little mistake has just cracked, chipped, or smashed your case, but overall has protected your phone from damage. This is where the Vapor Ops excels. That same drop will cause next to no damage to the case, neither physically nor cosmetically. Most of the time, after a rough abrasion, you won’t even notice anything has occurred.
The only downside to the toughness of the case is the fact that it only protects the edges around the sides of the phone, like a bumper, and doesn’t give that hard case protection to the front screen and back of your device. It does come with an Ultrasuede sheet for the back and ear piece on the front, but if the device falls on a pointed surface or something hits the screen, you will still fear the worst, in terms of damage. Fears aside, the suede sheet gives your phone that chic look and feel that a device like the iPhone really deserves. It doesn’t seem to pick up pocket lint and fuzz very easily, so the surface will look nice for quite some time.
The top, side, and bottom slot openings are enlarged for easy access. On the side, the mute switch and volume buttons are fully exposed so you won’t be stuck trying to awkwardly mute your phone or turn down the ringer. The charging port on the bottom has a wide enough opening to accept just about any third party chargers and cradles. The best part about the enlarged openings is the fact that the headphone jack on the top will accept most 3.5mm plugs. You’re not stuck using the tiny headphones that came with the device, like you would be because of the tiny opening most other cases leave you stuck with.
Assembling the case is pretty painless, unless you have a problem working with tiny screws, much like those found on eyeglasses. The case requires four screws, 2 on each of the thicker opposing corners, both of which you screw in easily using the Speed Wrench in the included Vapor Transit Kit, which also includes a zipper case and a screen protector. While you are fitting the case on your phone, you’ll see some rubber-like padding on the inside corners that firmly hold your phone in place. As was mentioned earlier, once you put together the case, it will probably be quite a while before you have to tighten any of those screws, leaving you free to handle the more difficult dilemmas on the phone, such as which ringtone and text tone to use.
This is one of the pricier iPhone cases on the market, but it is definitely one of the most durable, rugged, and stylish that you will find anywhere. The Vapor Pro line comes in a variety of colors and back plate styles that will appeal to most any preference. Add to that the fact that it will nicely fit any iPhone 4 model out there, and you know you have something special. If you want to buy one case for your phone and know that it will outlast almost any other case out there, and have the all-black limited edition style, the Vapor Pro Black Ops Limited Edition Kit is for you.
*Element Case provided SlimGamer.com with a review sample.