The one case that had everyone fall deeply in love with its tactical attributes, feel-good ribbed design and sensible price is bested by a superior look-alike. The Bump Case for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 is Magpul's dual-layered case version of its greatest hit - the Field Case. It supposedly fuses the best of both worlds by using two types of materials similar to Speck's CandyShell, albeit done up in Magpul's unique and one-of-a-kind exterior texture. With a hard outer shell and a softer, shock absorbing interior layer, Magpul's Bump Case serves a slightly more protective purpose compared to the more flexible, standard all-thermoplastic TPU Field Case. For quite a few years now, we were known to rave about Magpul's Field Case case for the iPhone, but that may change now that the Bump Case is here to please. Read the full review down below to see which Magpul case we find triumphant.
Bump Case is only an incremental upgrade over the Field Case. And that's only if you think that having a more rigid, dual-tone designed difference merits the Bump Case's higher cost.
Well it turns out that Magpul came to its sense from a business prospective since we called the company out on its ridiculously low pricing of its $13 Field Case case a year ago, and a lot has changed since in terms of pricing. What was once unbelievably inexpensive is now a little more in line with case pricing you'd expect to find at your local Apple store. And that's somewhat unfortunate of course, but even so, we still think Magpul's cases have a lot to offer. While the Field Case will now cost you a modest $17, Magpul's latest Bump Case offering is even pricier at $27. Not only is it still cheaper than many cases being sold at the Apple store and other retail giants, like its more basic twin – it is still being made in the USA and is far more impressive than most.
Like the Field Case, you'll find the Bump Case in its appropriate color attire of tactical and camouflage themed colors including bright orange and pink flavors as well. To be clear and thanks to the awesome folks over at TekCases, we are reviewing the Bump Case in orange, black and OD (olive drab) green. The latter is a very dark shade of green. If you have trouble warming up to these specific colorways, you may want to hold out as we're confident Magpul will release even more vibrant color options like it has with its Field Case case offerings. And speaking of offerings, although the Bump Case is exclusive to the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 as of the posting of this review, Magpul has just recently made the Field Case available for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPad mini.
The biggest difference that you'll come to notice between the Bump Case and Field Case cases for the iPhone 5s is rigidity. The Field Case as you can tell is made from a single layer of TPU, and because of it it is highly flexible yet still solid enough to keep its shape. Whereas the Bump Case is a lot more rigid and cannot flex nearly as much if at all. That's primarily due to its exterior shell which is made out of what looks like a hardened thermoplastic polymer that thankfully still maintains that same grip and texture from the Field Case, but is ever so slightly more like polycarbonate than the gummy-ness nature of the Field Case's flexible TPU.
Magpul's Field Case being twisted and flexed. Not something that's possible with the Bump Case.
The Bump Case as a protective case does in fact feel more robust compared to the Field Case, but that definitely doesn't mean that it's a better case. Having used both cases well enough, I think they're both terrific but in their own kind of way. One case may seem simplistic in its construction while the other will immediately have a more impressive quality to its simply for the fact that it is more complex in its dual-layered composition, but the difference between the two respective cases is very minimal once you get to experience each of them as they encase your iPhone. You'll be hard pressed to tell the difference if blind folded for example. Then again, having both cases at the ready - I'd still pick the Bump Case over the Field Case. That being said, I'm not sure that I would necessarily spend more for the Bump Case had I not owned neither.
If we look around the front of the Bump Case we can see that dual-layered material construction forming a seamless border around the edge of the case which is the gray flexible TPU material that lines the interior of the Bump Case as well as being co-moulded into forming the intigrated volume and sleep/wake button controls.
Not to be concerned with regards to impact protection, the Bump Case's gray interior if fully layered with the same flexible rubbery TPU material that makes the Field Case, while the exterior shell provides a tougher capsule that will do a better job in protecting your device from forceful direct impacts compared to the Field Case.
Another noticeable change are these gray, raised bumps around the back surface of the Bump Case. And again, these are made out of the shock absorbing interior TPU layer which Magpul designed as not only as feet-like traction points due to the Bump Case's hard shell, but also as a means of protecting the surface finish of the Bump Case from abrasion. Other than that they also help to visually set the Bump Case apart from the Field Case, and in depending on the color of the case, they also add a nice little contrasting detail which I think is a small interesting styling benefit.
RIBBED FOR MAXIMUM PLEASURE
In case you were wondering, both the Bump Case and Field Case share the same style of design with Magpul's popular PMAG rifle magazines that are designed to offer unprecedented crucial traction and grip for flawless operation with or without tactical gloves - which is what inspired the tremendously grippy surface and ribbed pattern featured on the Bump Case for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. The Bump Case shares the same semi-rigid, snap-on design as its Magpul case predecessors but with an improved constructed body that fits and hugs the iPhone as if it were a latex glove. It fits flawlessly in such a way that it kind of feels like it becomes one with the iPhone in that there's no give or flex whatsoever. The fit is solid as a rock and that's one of the great aspects about Magpul's arguably innovative design.
If you're overly picky and anal about the fitting around the border of the iPhone when using these type of cases, you may find that the Bump Case does have some points where its TPU doesn't entirely cover the iPhone's aluminum bezel like the rest of its body. Not that it in any impacts the usability of the case. We suspect this happens when the case is removed from its mould during manufacturing. Pro tip: we were told by a few Field Case as well as Bump Case users that a quick heating of the affecting area/s using a hair dryer will allow you to permanently bend the area back to its place so that it fully covers the iPhone's edge. From our experience, every Bump and Field Case case is different. Some may have these small and insignificant gaps while others don't. That being said, we don't think it's anything worth worrying about as it doesn't affect the case's rigidity and tight fit around the device.
What is that? I'll tell you. It's what happens when a case such as this takes a heap of bath salts, and the outcome is this crazy fine texture you won't find on any other TPU case. TPU cases are known to have a not so unique characteristic, however, Magpul's concoction of experience resulted in something that is more special than your average TPU-made case.
The amount of grip being provided by the Bump and Field Case cases is borderline insane. I'd go as far as saying it's as grippy as rough sand paper, but that just comes out as seeming like an uncomfortable thing to be holding. Magpul's expertise in manufacturing some of the most popular tactical accessories certainly transferred over to its iPhone 5 case in a big way. The textured exterior seems to me like some type of proprietary granular texture I've yet to see on a case of this kind. Notice the dark outlined pill-shaped camera cutout reveals no part of the iPhone's aluminum in case you're picky like that. It's also worth noting that there's no flashback issues at all because of this.
The texture and the slim profile of the Bump Case define exactly why it's an amazing case to use even if you couldn't care less about tactical gear and the whole industry behind it. You have to feel it to believe it, and understand why we're raving about it so much. Because photos and a few words can't express the sensational feeling of using the iPhone with the Bump Case.
The side ribbing, slim yet protective profile and that extremely grippy durable material makes the Bump Case a pleasure to use and hold more than ever before. One of the small details that come with the Bump Case's unique textured polymer is that lint and fingerprints fear it even if you pick up a black colored Bump Case. Despite its dual-layered construction, the Bump Case manages to be as slim as the Bump Case and only insignificantly thicker on paper - which amazingly isn't enough to notice even if you put the two next to each other.
Magpul's Bump Case is purposely designed to have a low profile so that it won't interfere with how you use your iPhone whilst still featuring a minimal, and well rounded lay-on-the-table designed rim along the edge. And while I love using Spigen's Tough Armor case, the Bump Case by comparison is slimmer, a bit more refined with its form-fitting fit and a whole lot more agile to hold. It doesn't feel as bulky as the Tough Armor, and that's appreciated especially when the iPhone 5s is one of the thinnest smartphones on the market. What's more is that any tempered glass screen protector will fit with the Bump Case without any issues. And in fact, TekCases is offering a complete Bump Case protection package which includes a Bump Case, a 0.33mm-thin beveled-edge tempered glass screen protector and an Element Case tactical belt holster with Velcro closure for $65.
Just like the Field Case, the Bump Case features uniquely designed integrated volume and sleep/wake buttons which compliment the grip-enthused styling, and offer superb tactile feedback when pressed.
Cutouts for the iPhone 5's 3.5mm audio and Lightning connector ports are designed to support the Bump Case's form-fitting rigid construction without impeding on the functionality of using the iPhone 5s' ports. You'll be able to easily plug in any modern 3.5mm audio jack, however, there are obvious limitations as to which type of additional accessories you might be able to use with this case on. We haven't seen a case that can accommodate large adapters without sacrificing its rigidity support around the bottom end of the case where usual flexing or sagging of the case would otherwise occur.
If you drop your iPhone 5 inside this case, chances are it'll be safe from a waist height drop because of the shock- absorbing polymer and ribbed design. I wouldn't recommend it as a tough case, but instead as a very protective case that'll keep your iPhone 5 safe from the occasional drop, scuffs and scratches without imposing any bulk whatsoever.
Magpul's Bump Case for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 continues to offer the same iconic and very much tactical PMAG-ribbed styling, amazing grippy texture and great fit made popular by the Field Case - albeit with one small difference in protection. In a sense, the Bump Case does feel like a step up from the Field Case as far as protection goes, but granted it's a small difference and an ever smaller change in styling. To be fair, the Bump Case does have an impressive dual layer construction that's a lot more rigid than the Field Case which gives the Bump Case an ever so slight advantage in terms of impact protection. Although the biggest difference is in price, the Bump Case still offers a compelling proposition for iPhone users looking to get a tactical-esque protective case that's relatively slim and provides a great amount of feel-good grip in a pleasing to use refined form factor. And still, we think that there's no going wrong with either of Magpul's iPhone cases.