The Blade comes to us from Tiger Design in Korea and it's a CNC machined aluminum bumper case for the iPhone 4 unlike any other case you've seen before. The Blade has the most futuristic like weaponry look to it that I've seen out of a lot of cases out there. It's one of those cases that will make others wow at first glance. Not only does the Blade look pretty damn awesome but it feels like you're holding some Transformer's iPhone 4. Read more to find out how the Blade performs in the full review after the cut!
Out of the box, you get the Blade aluminum bumper case and a pack of accessories which you will need to use in order to setup your Blade for use with your iPhone 4. First of all Tiger Design includes various foam pads that you need to place smartly around the insides of the Blade bumper case so that your iPhone 4 does not come in contact with the actual aluminum construction. I had to use nearly all if the foam pads and placed them at all corners, the top, bottom and both of the sides so that my iPhone 4 will stay scratch free and will also get the most shock protection available should I accidentally drop it on the ground. You also get a small multi-purpose screwdriver, extra screws and three aluminum buttons.
I'm not so sure of how much drop protection the Blade offers, but it's definitely a big plus having those foam pads inside. Not many companies give you a good amount of padding inside of their aluminum cases. Tiger Design really thought it thru with the Blade very well. The iPhone 4 is now fully protected on the inside from any metal to metal contact except for the top and bottom sides of the iPhone 4's metal band, however, I did not see any issues with the way the Blade works and installs around the iPhone 4 so there is no need to worry about that. The way the Blade secures around the iPhone 4 is by the aluminum frame which does not contact the glass of the iPhone 4 and is secured by four screws.
The Blade only comes with one frame which complements the design of the Blade by a different color of your choice. For this review we got an extra red frame to give a better example of how different colors would look like together. There are many color variations to choose from.
Once the iPhone 4 is inside the Blade aluminum bumper case, it is very snug so there are no moving parts thanks to the padding. You can see the amount of detail put into the Blade with its dedicated aluminum buttons for the volume and sleep/wake buttons which works flawlessly and provide true feedback as if you were using the iPhone 4 without the Blade on at all. I'm very happy to see these included because they really add to the uniqueness of the design. However, there are a few drawbacks to the Blade bumper case. The headphone and dock connector ports are deeply recessed. Not to mention that long sim card slot cutout is pretty useless and only takes away from the Blade's design. You will only be able to fit slim 3.5mm audio plugs into your iPhone 4 and same goes for the dock connector port. These are somewhat minor flaws of the Blade but a more noticeable flaw is how the case feels in the hand. It isn't comfortable.
When you hold the Blade in your hand you will feel the sharp corners of the back frame that sort of stick out. It's not all that comfortable handling the Blade bumper case in the hand, but the amount of grip you get is fantastic. The aluminum is machined in a way that there are these micro serrations all over the Blade's exterior which feel really great and give that cold, tough weaponry sort of feel to it.
And then there's the reception drawback. The iPhone 4's signal strength will drop about 1-2 bars with the Blade aluminum bumper case on, that's for sure. WiFi does not seem to be affected though. Nothing really drastic that should hinder your iPhone 4 useless, but nonetheless, it's something to take into account. Overall I think that the Blade is one of the best looking aluminum bumper cases available for the iPhone 4 at the moment. And I'm sure you'll be happy with it considering it's priced at $69. Compared to other aluminum offerings, this isn't so bad.
You can find the Blade in a few color variations on eBay and on Tiger Design's own website. Price $69.