4th Design's Blade 5 for the iPhone 5 was arguably a shaky new iteration of the once notorious Blade bumper for the first generation iPhone 4. We thought 4th Design later redeemed itself with the release of the T-type 3, a clean-cut aluminum bumper with a big emphasis on minimalist styling. And now, it appears as though the company has lost all of its marbles by releasing yet another aluminum machined bumper case called the Trigger. Forget about words like 'simplistic' and 'Apple-esque' - the Trigger is one gaudy-looking, overly masculine piece of an outdoorsy fashion statement of sorts. Can it punch nails into wood? Does it open up beer bottles and turn into brass knuckles? You're about to find out in our full review down below!
Well the answer to those self-asked questions is...no. It does absolutely none of those things. It is however going to cost you $99, which is $20 more than you would pay for the Blade 5 as well as the T-type 3. It's only available in anodized silver and titanium colors with a machined polished finish we couldn't care much about as it feels slippery to hold in the hand and can even blind you on a bright sunny day. 4th Design's sand blasted aluminum finish it offers for its Blade 5 as well as its T-type 3 bumper cases is what best compliments the iPhone 5, and overall provides a nicer feel when held.
We were pleasantly impressed by our last encounter with 4th Design's minimalist bumper for following the iPhone 5's original form factor of subtle rounded equalities. But the Trigger on the other hand looks to be armed and extremely dangerous.
4th Design was going for a mechanical look, and it's a very distinct design there's no doubt about it. The interesting parts of the Trigger are more specifically around the top left side of the case where you'll find a massive hinge mechanism complete with integrated push buttons for the volume and one built-in slider button for the mute switch. These all work exceptionally well as you'd expect given the fact of such a gaudy accentuation of these individual parts.
Right above the set of integrated buttons and inconspicuous mute switch is the Trigger's knurled screw that lets you effortlessly collapse the entire side assembly of the integrated button bridge in order to allow you to easily insert your iPhone 5 from the top downwards and into the bumper where it meets two side rails of black plastic that ensure no metal-on-metal contact is ever made.
Upon closing down the latch which of course secure the top opening of the Trigger, a small rubber tab on the interior acts as a safety pad so to not scratch the top portion of the iPhone 5's aluminum band. The sleep/wake button remains exposed and sandwiched between the Trigger's recessed cutout at the top, and because of that it doesn't feel nice to use.
I'm afraid that once again, 4th Design has failed to cover the integrated metal volume buttons with appropriate padding so that with use, the Trigger's metal buttons won't scuff and cause potential damage to the iPhone's actual buttons; albeit you can use a small bit of tape to remedy this caveat like MacGyver.
So alright I get the play on the name Trigger and its trigger-like volume button assembly, and not to forget the loop hole for attaching your own paracord thingamabobber and other things that can rig thru it to make it more manly. But with all of that, I still strongly think it's all really inconvenient and just a desperate attempt at grabbing attention, and not the positive kind. The Outrigger is as pointless as pointless gets.
More importantly, the Trigger feels like a burden to use. It's way too uncomfortable to hold and the disproportionate form factor and bulky profile makes it one of the worst aluminum bumpers ever. Unless you truly care more about personal taste, the Trigger falls short in having the right qualities that a case should bring to the table.
If we compare it against 4th Design's brilliant T-type 3 bumper, the Trigger literally overshadows it with its sheer bulk and grotesque volume buttons which look like they're overcompensating for something. And I though the Blade 5 had it bad. I get that 4th Design markets the Trigger as an entirely different type of a metal bumper geared towards people who like mechanical-like styling, but surely there's a much better way of implementing that into a case you'll be using on a day to day basis.
At least with all of the bulk, it appears that you shouldn't have trouble plugging stuff in with these large openings. Except of course Apple's little Lightning to 30-pin Adapter.
quite frankly, this is a ridiculous attempt at making a gaudy iPhone 5 bumper that's as awkward to use as it looks. The Trigger is completely and utterly over the top, and unnecessary take on how a "hardcore" (as 4th Design puts it) iPhone 5 case should be made. If a hardcore aluminum bumper case is what you're looking for, Element Case has definitely got that side of the meaning down with its well designed Sector 5.
As a protective bumper, the Trigger is bulkier and even thicker than the Blade 5 which it closely resembles as simply a heavier type of design which should supposedly look more hardcore. It isn't any good and we wouldn't dare recommend you try it. On the other hand, 4th Design's minimalist T-type 3 is one impressive and amazing to use aluminum bumper case we do actually recommend.