Last month I've discovered a new design company in Japan that was getting ready to release an aluminum bumper for the iPhone 4 called the Deff Cleave, and it was like no other bumper case. Well now the Deff Cleave bears a new name for the American consumers and that is the Draco IV aluminum bumper case. Inspired by Deff Japan, the Draco IV is breathtaking. Never have I seen such uniqueness in a aluminum case for the iPhone 4. The Draco IV's curvatures are out of this world and may remind you of an exotic sports car you always wanted. Check out the full review right after the break as we dig deeper into this fascinating aluminum bumper.
The Draco IV will set you back $99.99 and it's available in six aluminum flavors with extra screws and everything you need to get started. What's so different about the Dravo IV is it's extreme curved body. The process of manufacturing this case out of a solid piece of aluminum is no easy task and Draco Design / Deff Japan have brought an amazing looking aluminum bumper to life. The anodized aluminum finish isn't completely matte but at the same time it isn't glossy. It resembles the anodized aluminum of Apple products. The Draco IV fits the iPhone 4 spot on and it's secured using 2 screws around the back.
While the Draco IV has rocking curves, it's not a perfect aluminum bumper, however it comes very close to it. The attention to detail is impressive with dedicated aluminum volume and power/sleep buttons and even a silent switch. All of these make for an effortless experience using the Draco IV. Having these dedicated buttons is like extending the iPhone 4's buttons so that you have the same exact tactile feedback when pressing each button. No more reaching thru cutouts. It's worth noting that the button inserts do rattle a bit inside the bumper.
All these curves are very appealing but they're not necessarily all that good. The Draco IV feels like a bulky bumper case on the iPhone 4 and it looks like Deff slightly sacrificed comfort and protection for good looks. I'm not saying the Draco IV is uncomfortable to hold but all these curves don't agree with my hand very much. It sort of feels like I'm holding a piece of architectural art instead of an ergonomic everyday case for the iPhone 4. Sure many will probably take good looks over comfort any day and time but that's almost always the case with aluminum cases in general. An Apple Bumper is a bumper case you would want if you're concerned about comfort. Since the Draco IV is such a unique beast, I'm more than willing to turn a blind eye and throw away a little bit of comfort out the window. Wouldn't you?
Inside the Draco IV are four padded corners with polyurethane that will help reduce some shock in cases where you might drop your iPhone 4. In addition, these also eliminate any contact with the iPhone 4's antenna and the Draco IV. The Draco IV sits around the metal band of the iPhone 4 and does not come in contact with the front and back glass. This allows you to use any type of screen protector, even wood skins like the Trunket. The most notable downside to the Draco IV is that it has absolutely no screen edging on the front or back. There's not lay-on-the-table design meaning when you set your iPhone 4 on a table, the back or front glass will always be in contact with the surface and there's no protection what so ever. The Draco IV is bulky in a wide prospective only so it looks like Deff sacrificed some protection for looks as well as tried to minimize the overall bulk of the bumper.
I was pleased to see a very wide dock connector cutout which allows for 3rd party cables and accessories to be used. The top headphone port has a very recessed cutout that will only fit slim 3.5mm jacks. Speaking of cutouts, there is a side slot cutout for the sim card and I really think that's just such an unnecessary addition and it takes away from the clean design.
Let's get to the reception performance of the Draco IV. I must say that I was stunned to find out that I still had 5 full bars of signal with the Draco IV on my iPhone 4. I don't know how Deff managed to pull this off but I'm guessing the Draco IV uses a more pure form of aluminum without mixed-in metals which block signal. I've decided to inspect my reception performance more precisely using the field test mode and I got -77 DB which is fantastic. The Draco IV hands down beats every single full aluminum bumper case out there for the iPhone 4. It's just incredible. Depending on your area, you might notice a drop of just one bar.
Would I recommend purchasing the Draco IV aluminum bumper? Absolutely yes. But only if looks are more important to you than protection. I would still suggest using a back film protection or skin. The combination can actually make for one incredible performing aluminum bumper that every single geek will go nuts for. $99.99 is pricy but when compared to other aluminum bumpers like the Vapor, the Draco IV single handedly beats it. You can pick the Draco IV up over at Amazon, currently in the AT&T iPhone 4 version only. The Verizon iPhone 4 compatible Draco IV is yet to go on sale.