What can you really say about an iPhone case? Love it? Hate it? It's there? Sure you could say any of these things, but in doing so you apparently haven't tried the new Vapor Comp from Element Case.

Having played around with a lot of phone cases for the iPhone 4 prior to this one, I can be safely said that I had gotten used to feeling disappointed. Most of the current offerings follow the usual shortcomings associated with their poor reception because of the usual complaints: Not enough shock protection, too bulky or unusable port openings.

Thankfully for me, and for you too, the Vapor has all of these areas covered. Fresh out of the box I was assaulted by a pile of goodies, which left me wondering what he hell I'd gotten myself in to. After reading...er looking at the 4-step instruction sheet, the pile before me started to make sense. The Vapor comp is a combination case consisting of a precision-machined aluminum base, a polycarbonate sidepiece, a suede back section and a matte face protector.

Lets look at the base first. Having spent much of the past 11 years of my life designing and using precision machined components and machinery, I often scratch my head in wonder at some of the poorly designed crap out there in the consumer product market. Not so with the Vapor! The base frame is precision machined out of a solid block of aluminum then anodized to add some cool color as well as corrosion resistance. All of the appropriate holes for the buttons and ports have been machined in with special attention to detail given to the port openings, allowing you to use aftermarket data plugs that won't fit in to most iPhone 4 cases.

This aluminum base frame is lined with an injection-molded rubber that provides shock resistance as well as keeps out the nasty stuff that always seems to build up around the buttons on most phone cases. On the side, the rubber protrudes through openings providing you with a textured grip to help keep you from dropping your lifeline even in the wet slime.

When I first started putting the case together, I had my doubts about the polycarbonate sidepiece. Many of us know that polycarbonate is the same stuff that they make bulletproof glazing with, but why bother with such material when you could simply have aluminum all the way around? Obviously Element did their homework. When the iPhone4 was released it had this nasty habit of dropping calls when your hand came in contact with the antenna side of the phone. This same situation would hold true if your hand contacted metal that was located on the antenna side. This polycarbonate sidepiece solves this issue so that you need not worry about suffering from this condition known as "the iPhone death grip".

After assembling these two pieces to the phone with the included tool, you proceed to stick on an adhesive velour back piece, the anti-glare screen protector and you're ready to rock and roll. The whole package covers the phone really well offering, excellent protection while maintaining a comfortable grip.

However, all of this precision design and manufacturing comes at a price. Running at around $100 the Vapor Comp is certainly not cheap in the realm of aftermarket iPhone accessories. But it's good enough to where instead of thinking of it as a pricey case; it's a lot less coin than buying a new phone!

My single complaint is that this case tested is exclusive to the iPhone 4 and in the next few weeks I'm going to be dying to test out one for my iPhone 5! Something tells me Element will be designing a Vapor case for Apple's latest offering and when they do; I'll be the first in line.

The Vapor Comp retails for $99 and can be ordered directly from the following URL:
www.elementcase.com/Articles.asp?ID=272