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4-min read

Element Case X1 Collection Review: The Extra Protection Your Apple iPhone Could do With

We usually don’t review smartphone cases, but the X1 Collection from American accessory maker Element Case did truly catch our eye

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:March 5, 2019, 11:31 AM IST
Element Case X1 Collection Review: The Extra Protection Your Apple iPhone Could do With
The Element X1 Collection (from left): Illusion, Shadow and Vapor S

We usually don’t review smartphone cases, but the X1 Collection from American accessory maker Element Case did truly catch our eye, and attention. Smartphone cases come, and smartphone cases go, and no one really pays much attention—apart from picking out your favorite colour. But when your phone falls, the heart in the mouth moment is when you usually come to terms with the fact that a dirt-cheap case isn’t really going to save your expensive smartphone. The Element Case X1 Collection cases for the iPhone line-up focus on adding that extra layer of protection which most other cases aren’t physically able to do. And this is without looking as industrial as something that has just emerged from the depths of a military base.

The three cases in question are called the Illusion, Shadow and Vapor S. All three cases are available for the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR.

The first is Illusion. This feels extremely light to hold and has a well cushioned frame that protects the iPhone from damage around the spines in case of a fall. It also adds that crucial little gap between your iPhone’s display and the flat surface it may fall on, to prevent any impact on the screen. Flip the phone over, and what you get on the back is a dual tone finish which includes a tinted polycarbonate back panel and an opaque layer accompanying it on one side. We noticed that the polycarbonate layer can catch a few scratches if you aren’t careful, but that is a small compromise for the protection this offers without adding a thick layer of bulk around your phone—and that is a priceless asset to have in a smartphone case. This is available in the black, blue, green, grey and orange colour options, which could be paired well to either match your phone’s colour or even as a complete contrast. The Illusion case is priced at Rs 1,990.

The second case that we experienced from the Element Case X1 Collection is called Shadow. There is a rather definite personality which this case brings along with it. This adds a bit more girth to the phone, but nothing that would be a turn off. This coming from someone who usually prefers ultra-thin cases on the phone. But to get a better idea of how much cushioning this case provides to your iPhone, simply peek in from the side to where the physical toggle key is, and you will notice how far inside that is. Your fingers will notice multiple curves around the side spines and as they merge into the back, and all this is great feedback in a way as you may hold the phone without looking at it. The grippy finish helps, particularly if you are using this with the large iPhone XS Max. The textured finish on the back panel also look good, and additionally helps keep the phone planted on the table as you left it, even if there is an incoming call and the phone vibrates. This is available in black, blue, red and green colour ways. Element Case has added a dash of visual appeal to these, by giving a different paint job to the volume keys and the power key—for instance, the red option has orange coloured keys while the black case has mint green dressed keys. This is priced at Rs 2,790.

Then there is the Vapor S case, which is a bit more elaborate in every single way than the Illusion or the Shadow. The highlight is the SLS screw system, which basically means that you have to properly install this case, rather than simply putting it on the phone and going about your business. There are screws that hold together the front and the back panels—there are five screws in all, and Element Case bundles replacement screws as well as a tiny key to open or tighten these screws. When these panels are taken apart, you will notice there is extra protection padding that would come in handy in case your phone falls. There is also a glass back plate, to protect the glass back of the iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS and iPhone XR—and this is transparent, so you can still show off which colour iPhone you bought. That said, this case does add a significant amount of bulk (in terms of size mostly) to your iPhone, and if you are someone who prefers slimmer cases, this may not exactly be your cup of tea. This will cost you Rs 4,990 and is by far the most elaborate and most expensive case you can pick from the current Element Case X1 Collection line-up.

All three cases allow you to use a wireless charger with your iPhone as you would without a case perhaps. This works well with any Qi enabled wireless charger that you put the iPhone down on, to charge.

The reality with the smartphone cases ecosystem, particularly for the Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and the iPhone X, is that you are spoilt for choice, at even the most affordable price points. However, not all cases provide the same amount of protection for your precious iPhone. We see a lot of people buy the most expensive iPhones and then skimp money on cases, which are the only line of protection if the phone slips out of your hand or falls off a table, for instance. As the old English saying goes, “penny wise, pound foolish”—but that may not be ideal.

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