The Kloqe aluminum case for iPhone 5/5s is sleek, minimalist, and beautiful. Well designed plastic caps on each end allow the radios to work effectively. It is the most beautiful iPhone case I have ever seen, but it does have one small flaw. The flaw may or may not affect you.
The Kloqe cases started as a successfully funded Kickstarter project. The idea was born of the fact that there were few metal cases for the iPhone, and those that existed interfered with the radio reception. Sergio Troiani, the developer writes: “We wanted to create a case with the exact look and feel of the iPhone 5. I believe we have done just that with KLOQE’s all-aluminum minimal design, while also aiding in eliminating reception issues.”
The case weighs just 35 grams, but is stiff and feels very sturdy. There is a 0.04 mm air gap between the side of the case and the iPhone to prevent scratching, and it only adds 4 mm to the height of the iPhone. Still, because this case is metal and has sharp edges, the iPhone should be inserted and the cap put in place with care.
It's available in four colors: black, gray, white and champagne. I was sent a champagne color model for review so that it would blend well with my gold iPhone 5s.
I didn't do any radiometric testing, but I did take the iPhone, in this case, outside to see if I could detect any changes in the signal strength from my AT&T Microcell. So far as I could tell, in informal testing, there was no difference whether the case was on or off when I was outside. Inside, I continued to have five bars with the case on. Because the tips are white plastic, this model matched the design scheme of the gold iPhone 5s.
As with many cases, the iPhone slides in, head first. There is a soft black material that cushions the back of the iPhone. Then, a hybrid metal and plastic cap snaps on the bottom. There is a small detent that keeps the cap on, and it worked well, keeping the cap secure, yet easy to remove when needed. Part of the secret is that there is also a soft material inside the cap that provides just the right amount of friction to hold it on.
Aesthetics and Use
This case is beautifully machined and accents the iPhone nicely in colors and style. For those who may have an interest in a mostly clear iPhone case in order to let the colors and design show through, this case takes that concern away because it is just as beautiful as the naked iPhone.
Resting on top of its excellent package.
While I didn't do a any drop testing, my sense is that if the iPhone were dropped in this case, say, in a parking lot, the case would get badly scuffed or scratched, yet protect the phone well. Those plastic cases that are made of polycarbonate or perhaps thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) will tend have a softer bounce and likely look better in the aftermath. But then, they don't have the beauty and rigidity of aluminum. Plus, thin polycarbonate has cracked on me when dropped on asphalt in the past.
A plastic screen protector is included.
Unlike some iPhone cases, there is no anti-reflection blacking around the camera port.
The feel of the iPhone 5 or 5s in this case is exceptional. The aircraft grade aluminum, the handsome colors, the quality of the machining, and the design aesthetics are first class. The "Kloqe" name is modestly engraved on the back as well as the felt-like material on the inside. The fit and finish is excellent.
The Kloqe case comes in a thick, black cardboard and plastic custom fitted box with a magnetic closure and a pull tab. It's a very nice "gift-grade" package.
Rugged package, screen protector and two-piece aluminum case.
A Small Design Problem
The volume buttons array is a thin piece of aluminum with a foam backing to provide the desired feel as well as protect the iPhone's buttons. It's held in place with a very small tab on the end and a spot of glue.
Inside: volume cover buttons and foam backing glued in place.
When I was doing signal strength testing, I was inserting and removing the iPhone frequently, and my take is that the frequent rubbing scraped the metal tab away from its mooring and caused it to come loose and get mangled.
From the outside, it's very good looking.
The upshot is that this is a magnificent case if you don't plan to remove the iPhone very often. However, you'll be annoyed and ready for warranty repair if the tab comes loose because gluing it back in is probably not an option for the average owner.
The developer sent me a second case, and while the design was no different, I took much greater care in inserting the iPhone and removing it. As a result, I didn't have any further problems. Finally, if that tab does come loose, the the developer told me that the case will be replaced under the one year warranty. Also, the first case sent to me was a very, very tight fit. The second case was a better fit. If you find it extremely difficult to remove the iPhone after insertion, there may have been some manufacturing tolerance that didn't go your way. A replacement should be sought.
The Final Analysis
This is the most beautiful iPhone case I have ever reviewed. It's drop dead gorgeous, has excellent fit and finish, is nicely machined, has a cushioned back on the inside, comes with a screen protector and comes in four attractive colors.
To be honest, I would have to say that the rating should be "slightly less than expected." But we don't have such a rating. For now, because of the design issue with the volume button control array, I'll have to warn the user that the case could become disappointing if the iPhone is inserted and removed often and the foam volume tab becomes unseated.
The developer wrote me: "This issue has been brought to my attention a couple of times from my initial Kickstarter batch, but overall hasn’t been a pressing issue. Nevertheless, I’m currently working with my manufacturer to come up with a solution for the next round of production."
When that happens I'll take another look at the design change and see what I think. No doubt, the rating will go up considerably.
For now, don't let the 2.5/5 rating, which I am obliged to submit, too strongly sway you. As I said, if you insert the iPhone and generally leave it and use extreme care when removing, this is a stunningly strong, secure, beautifully designed case.