Element Case shows off Vapor for iPhone 4

TiPb readers will remember Element Case for their original Liquid case for iPhone and the Joule stand for iPad, and you just had to know they wouldn't sit out something as sexy as iPhone 4, right? Enter Vapor:

Available in a wide array of custom color options and custom features, the Vapor consists of a solid, CNCd aluminum frame made from aircraft grade metals lined with a new, shock-absorbent liner material to protect and stylize.

And yes, it'll also insulate the iPhone 4 antenna band to prevent any attenuation-related issues.

We'll be getting our geeky little hands on some soon, and thanks to their usual awesomeness, doing a give away just for you. In the meantime, in joy the pics!

UPDATE; Element Case just sent us one more pic, an exclusive look at the cutouts. Check it out below.

[Element Case]

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 110 comments. Add yours.

iPhone4GPlanet.com says:

That yellow one looks nice....sold!

thekevinmonster says:

Erm, so if the case is basically an aluminum bumper, how is that not going to affect reception considering you are covering the metal antenna with a piece of metal?
Granted, the same goes for any other metal case for a phone, now that I think about it. (Wasn't that why the original iPhone had that plastic bit at the bottom where the antenna was?)

Björn says:

Those cases look hard as hell! But what are those 2 jacks in the bottom right-hand corner?

chenzo51 says:

Sweet looking. how much? website is in flash

Steven says:

Is it just a bumper or does it have front and rear protection

Walky Chalky says:

I like it. Concerned about recepetion issues with it being aluminum though...

Havok says:

sorry but $80 for a case, hell no...

Ethan says:

Read the post it says it's insulated...so it's not metal on metal

Walky Chalky says:

Just checked their website. It has this to say:
"The inside of the Vapor case is lined with a very high tech shock absorbing material that reduces the G-forges of an impact. It also creates a non-conductive barrier to help maintain the iPhone's antenna signal strength."
And they retail for $80. They MUST be nuts!! I'll wait for it to hit eBay for half that price...

Whatsupchia says:

That's awesome looking. No worth $80. WTH r they thinking?!

Jason says:

I was excited as these cases look sweet. But $80?! I'll pass. That's worse than the bumpers

Shrike says:

I think it looks really nice. Hey, if you want nice stuff, you have to pay money. TANSTAAFL.

ack154 says:

@ Björn
They're not jacks. They're allen screws to hold the case together. And I must say, that is a damn hardcore way to put a case on a phone.

JBaby_9783 says:

I love Element Case design but their prices are too rich for my blood. $50 is my limit when it comes to cases.

Dub C says:

For 20 dollars more you can get it in carbon fiber 2. May b if i win the lotto. But it is very well design tho!

Mr79 says:

I hope this case does not interfere with the flash.
A lot of cases with a backing reflect the light back on the camera making the phot cloudy.
If this does not do it, I would probably purchase this.

chuck732 says:

They figure if Apple could charge $29.95 for the Bumper they could get $80.00 for there case. As others have said HELL NO! I just paid $29.95 for the bumper and still got to buy a good screen protector.

sherlock says:

Love the case but $80 is a bit too pricey for a case...

Leanna Lofte says:

$80?!?!?! Damn, I really wanted the pink one. But not for $80!

Analog Spirit says:

Yeah, that price is a bit steep for a case. But it's really nice, and if it protects the phone from getting damaged, I think it'd be worth it. I'd go for the black one, or maybe the carbon fiber one.

zag says:

From their site...
The inside of the Vapor case is lined with a very high tech shock absorbing material that reduces the G-forges of an impact. It also creates a non-conductive barrier to help maintain the iPhone's antenna signal strength.

USAFRetired says:

Nice but like others have said--price is a little steep. Wonder how if would work with front and real protective film.

Dan says:

$40 bucks w/ carbon back and ill think bout it

dloveprod says:

It's cute just mad expensive

fresh1 says:

I have done tons of CNC work and design ( not sure what CNCD is though ..lol Rene .. just messing with ya ).. Looks pretty good ...
Only thing that could be a problem for some is that they used hex key bolts ( so you will need a allen key wrench to put it on ..or take it off)..
So if you use a dock or something ( which the case wouldnt fit) it would be a pain taking the case off and on ..
I love the carbon fiber though ... Cant wait until you guys get some and give it the good ol TIPB review...

icebike says:

Aluminium covering the antennas?
Now I know why Apple is advertising for Antenna engineers. Theirs quit (or were fired) and are now working for this company.

luca says:

80.00? I will pass, I rather pay 50.00 for otter box and you can throw that thing and not cause any damage...

-T- says:

This is definatly the nicest case I've seen so far... But $80?? Heeeeeell no! I'll wait to find it or a copy cheaper.

jamez says:

wicked case now that is good looking I would buy it :)
props!! all the way

Analog Spirit says:

@Luca: Good idea; I like this aluminum case, but I'd rather spend only $50 on an Otter Box than shell out $80 for this.

DeathGrip says:

It would be nice if they could make the logo bigger.

ouch says:

Very nice job on the case but OUCH! $80!!! Almost half the price of the iPhone itself (on contract).

jamez says:

80 screw that noise ... FAIL

Wolfmore says:

This company is literally ridiculous to charge $80. They're the ones that charge over $100 for an iPad stand called Joule. You can just find alternatives at office depot for one dollar by using the stand that's meant for business cards.(http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/the-0-69-ipad-stand-from-office-dep...). Yes it is super cool but I'd be embarrassed to be thought of as having paid $80...of feed like a real a$$.

unchew says:

looks legit pretty expensive though

Bill says:

Am I the only one interested in this case who's concerned that all of these "pictures" look like renderings, and not photos?

JNGold says:

I'd be more embarrassed being seen with a one dollar case on my slick new iPhone 4. Considering I have paid 100 bucks for a Vaja case before, I don't mind paying for quality. I will definitely look into this case after I see some YouTube reviews.

Matt says:

LOVE the design, but not enough to warrant $80! YIKES!

sfwrtr says:

Umm, did anybody notice the views /do not/ show the buttons?
I really like the look and am all but sold (red please)..., however, I'd like TiPb to get a sample and test it to verify that the reception with it on is not affected.

Potheadhero says:

It's only 30 dollars more than an Otterbox and much sexier. SOLD! Now if I could only get onto the website.

Espo says:

$80 ($100 with carbon fiber) is WAY to much for a case, I hope that is a typo. I really like it but not for $100. Ill stick to my case-mate and iFrogz.

Ivoryplum says:

Love this thing!
Will wait for it to be cheaper or something. $80 is just way too much. I'd drop $50 on it though.

Sean says:

"It would be nice if they could make the logo bigger."
that made me lol, reminds me of Rickey Bobby..."This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons."
gotta make that logo bigger for sure!

Wolfmore says:

@Jerry G "touché!!!". Dam I do want one...they should throw in 2 colors for $80.

pnut78 says:

I hope there is a contest to give these out!!
Honestly you get what you pay for with Element Cases. I won the Liquid and the protection and style is what you pay for. Considering you get a freaking rubber band with Apple for $30, paying $50 more for a thinner, waaaaay more stylish and to me more protecting case is worth it

Kenneth says:

Aluminum? Yeah, wrap the antenna of a phone that ALREADY has reception issues in aluminum. I'm no electrical engineer but even I know this is a very poor idea. Unless you're trying to shield it from sending/receiving RF signals altogether...
Looks boss, though. If it was plastic/rubber (and cost $30) I'd buy it.

On2Vegas says:

Nice, but $80. Hell-to-the-NO!!!

omgabunny says:

Yes it's aluminum. But you people fail to read previous comments about the insulation they use to shield it from the outer parts of the iPhone 4. Geeze...

iPhone boy says:

Wow, that does looks nice.
Expensive though!

Kenneth says:

Except it makes no difference whether the aluminum is actually touching the antenna or not. If the antenna is completely shielded/surrounded/enclosed (as it appears to be in the pics), you're still going to have lousy or nonexistent reception. Aluminum is radio frequency kryptonite. It's the worst material they could have used.
I want to see some reviews of this thing. If it doesn't kill the antenna reception, I'd be quite surprised.

61Butte says:

Jeezus, that's gorgeous.
Any idea on cost?

61Butte says:

NM - I see the other link now.
Starting @ $79

Irish Charlie says:

So does this mean I have to pay $80 more dollars to hold my iP4 anyway I want?

annans says:

Homer Simpson is back on a new application for i phone, i pod touch, android…!!!! check this out on :

BrianTufo says:

Lol @ $80 for a phone case. We are in an economic crisis and they charge that much for a case? What a scam!

Danny says:

Bought a bumper case today , signal issues are still there but not as bad ... REFUND

Danny says:

O and after i left apple my first 4 calls were dropped

61Butte says:

@Brian, seriously? You dork. You buy an iPhone and have a plan that costs how much?
Have sellers of premium goods just shut down 'cause the Anointed One hasn't done jack to fix the economy?
No. So quit whining about an expensive case you can't afford.

JArmour15 says:

Looks awesome, can't wait to read the reviews and enter the contest.

Lars says:

It sure looks nice, but at that price... Ugh. At least it makes the Apple bumper 'case' look cheap by comparison.

Danny says:

Your post just made you come off looking like a total dweeb. This is a blog, people are entitled to their opinion as to whether is something is overpriced or not. Get over yourself.
And your obvious shot at Obama being the "Anointed one" shows your prejudice and obvious lack of knowledge on the issue. If you think the president alone can fix what another president has done financially, you are ignorant of presidential issues past and present. Presidents can spend money, not accrue it.
And since you wanna talk about money and call people cheap, I can almost promise you my car note matches your mortgage. See? That made me sound real cool. Dork

Dimwit says:

I believe a case machined out of copper would be worse than aluminum for the antenna, but not by
I'd love to see one in person to see if it does affect the antenna, as well as if it keeps the glass protected when set on a flat surface.
I do remember hearing many on the left chanting "It' the economy, stupid" to/at President Bush and thinking the same thing.
Car loans are stupid.
Thanks for playing,

61Butte says:

Your point about the car note seals the deal mate. I have no note - I have a car - paid for in cash. Lots of cash. As for assuming yours is better - guess again. You type like a 15 year old and I doubt you even own a car, let alone a home. As it turns out, I do, and it's in the third most expensive are in LA County. So, while you're trying to defend your choice of a "leader" in 2008, I have moved and act accordingly.
You have no idea how wrong you are on every "point" in your lame post defending "Brian" whom I'm sure can stick up for himself - well, I hope so.

Chobbs11 says:

Not sure why people aren't willing to pay 80 bucks for a case. But hey that's cool. That means that I'll have a case that not many have. This case looks awesome. Last year I bought a case from vaja and I loved it and it has protected my phone for the whole year. And I paid over 100 bucks for it. I am willing to pay through the nose if the product is well made and will last. I hate disposable items that are meant to be thrown out after a few short years

Limegrntaln says:

Yeah, not too many iP4 bumpers out yet, but Im not sure you'll find one nicer than this. $80 its a little steep. $60 would be fair.

61Butte says:

@ Gregg,
You make them yourself, then come back and tell us "what's fair"
You've obviously never taken on a task like this.
Pony up, or don't, but don't talk 'bout whatcha don't know 'bout.

Chobbs11 says:

For those who were worried where the volume buttons were. If you look at the last pic you will see the is a large cut out for access to these and the silent switch

Dorito says:

For $80 it better massage the pelotas.

WaLky ChaLky says:

If I spend $80 on a case I'll need another case to protect that one lol

Chris says:

I would definitely spend $80 on this.. Assuming it doesn't worsen reception.

pcdsim says:

Awesome, but that f%@#ing obnoxious logo...

James says:

You are a complete douche bag. Whether you have money or not, your inability to control your mouth proclaims you lack of class. You are the type of person who loves to tell others how your money can get you whatever you want. Well, I am here to tell you, no one truly likes someone with his head up his a; your money, nor your mouth are buying you friends here. Screw off jacka.

Dezee says:

Hands down, one of the nicest cases I've ever seen for the iPhone. Period. Very impressed. As previously mentioned, sometimes u have to pay for nice things. Fresh a*s case: 80 bucks, being different from the other 2 MILLION iPhone 4 users: priceless.

unchew says:

looking forward to the review wont get one til i read a review if i am gonna put down that much mula

Anthony says:

I can understand people being upset about the cost... However on their website it says this thing is designed and made in the US... Good enough for me... End the free trade act and start tarifing cheap Chinese goods.

Uwant1 says:

Nice but aluminum? I'll wait to see a video review. What do u guys think of this case vvv below?
I'm a gear head and love the look. Looks like it will protect the phone..idk

Robert Walton says:

The rotten economy was created by the previous and cureent whacky Democrat congress. Tax and spend some more!

Ch3rishYourLif3 says:

It's like Hulu+ it looks great but the price tag is gonna kill it.

James says:

I'm sorry, but if you cannot afford $80 for a case to protect your iPhone that would cost $700 to replace, then you really shouldn't have an iPhone to begin with. I understand that upgrade costs considered, the iPhone 4 is surprisingly cheap, but even then, if you had to replace it, you would be out either $700 (which I know most people cannot afford) or an iPhone; the choice is yours. All I know is this is practically an $80 insurance policy that never expires and has no monthly premiums. If Apple can charge $30+tax for a cheap piece of silicone that protects nothing, then I'm sure that this case is justified at $80 with the high grade materials used.

HQ says:

@32 couldn't agree more with you.
Seriously folks, you already dropped $200-$300 plus tax on a friggin APP PHONE. You obviously have a good amount of disposable income to spend!!!

Lisa says:

Love the case...hate the huge VAPOR logo on the sides. Was thinking about ordering, but will wait for the million reviews on logo, design, material and if it really works/protects.
Let me know if the "Logo" just ruins it when you receive it. Just bought the "Reception Case" from Ivyskin for $15...
Clear all around and it lets the beautiful phone shine through.

designiskey says:

i'm ok that the price is more than most ppl will pay... it just means less ppl will have the same looking iphone than me. i'll pay extra for that. you pay for nice design, no one complains that an aston martin is too expensive compared to a toyota. i'm not saying a toyota is a bad car, they both get you to point A to B, just as some cheap silicone bumper will do the same job as this vapor case, but i'm gonna get to point B in style. that's what you're paying for. too bad about that tacky huge logo on the side.

designiskey says:

.. oh... i can't afford an aston martin by the way.

fernie says:

I really like this case maybe for $79.00 with back carbon cover, to many options out there, carbon cases are beautiful as well. and cost is below $80.00 2nd option would be a battery case, will protect iphone and more productive. Yes is nice, by the time you sell 100 unit something similar from china will sell 1000's time, they what to sell, you should study economics friend. Good luck.
PS: thats why china and other countries are kicking out but.

keith says:

seems like an awesome case. aside from the huge vapor logo on the side. I've read in a few other places that you will soon be able to put a custom logo in place of the vapor logo soon. Unless that is just speculation. I don' know. I also heard a review from someone that has one, they claim that it made the reception issue worse. And my other concern is, it seems to be covering up the noise canceling mic.

Andy says:

I agree, BEAUTIFUL case, but waiting to read some REAL reviews on the item in question. . . .
I wrote to them about the logo on the design, and they assured me that I could request a "stealth mode" option, that would NOT have the obnoxious logo on the side.

Dieu says:

I ordered the vapor4 the same day that it was announced on Engadget (a month or so ago). Tuesday, I received two emails. The first, indicated that my order shipped, absent of tracking information. The second email, read that it had not shipped. Prior to Tuesday, it was impossible to obtain a specific response of the status of my order. Although I cannot prove with certainty, I believe the monies derived from the pre-orders are used to front the manufacturing costs of the Vapor4 cases. Thus, the unusual protracted ordering process, ambiguous and conflicting shipping information. In other words, I do not believe that the Vapor4 existed as a shipping product prior to the advertising blitz by Element. Further, it is unusual that no Vapor4 cases have been spotted or reviewed by any website.         

Aaron Hastings says:

DO NOT BUY FROM THIS COMPANY. Had one of the "pre-orders" from them in early July (3rd?) and was even on the 'pre-register to pre-order' list and still no case. Finally filed a paypal complaint a couple days ago after repeated unanswered emails to element. Almost immediately after filing the complaint, the status of my order went to 'shipped'. However, 2 days later the package still hasn't even been scanned into the USPS system so obviously all they did was print out a shipping label to try and get the complaint dropped. They did however finally refund me my order after I told them I would refuse shipment of the package if and when it ever did show up.

Chris says:

There is a review of the case herehttp://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/element-case-vapor-for-ip...
Apparently the metal surround is disastrous for reception and the back is GLUE on!!!!

rob says:

Don't waste your time or money on this. I ordered one then after several weeks finally got a confirmation # that allowed me to actually order it - so I did. The order sat in processing for about a week, then I emailed them to ask what was going on and the order got bumped to waiting to ship, then I got a notice with a tracking # but after a week the USPS still hadn't received the package. I kept emailing these guys to find out what was going on with the order, but I never once got a response. I should have gotten the clue when their web site (order form) referrs to the iPhone 4 as the iPhone 4G. I finally did receive the case/bumper and here is my opinion (trying to forget their customer service and just review the case:
-> my car charger (AT&T brand) won't work with it the slot is too small and deep
-> if you aren't using the stock ear buds there is a good chance the plug won't fit. The holw for the earphones it pretty tight and again deep.
-> This thing killed my signal.I don't have a very strong signal at my house (-80 db without a case and without holding the phone) When I put this bumper on the signal strength dropped from -80 to -94 db (again - not holding the phone - I left it in the same spot I had it for the initial test).
-> their web site boast that the bumper is lined with non conductive material to help absorb shock and eliminate antenna problems. The reality is, the put a few .25"x.25" squares of peel and stickstuff inside. The problem is the bumper still makes contact with the metal frame of the iPhone where it wraps around the front and back.
Maybe all my problems would go away if I spent the extra $20 for the glue on carbon fiber back cover.
With all the negative comments I just made, I DO like the way it looks, but I don't think I can live the the signal drop.

kw says:

I just received a second vapor case 8-27-10. The first case I received was one that was manufactured in the first batch before the retooling. The first one was a black on black. Great craftsmanship and fit. Did not have any reception issues at all. The small impact foam they place at critical points does keep the case off the antenna. I returned the first all black one as it did not have the sim card slot machined out. They returned a silver and blue one from after their retooling effort. Once again - great craftsmanship and fit. Logo looks good - I like it - no problems with them putting it on their case (just like apple having their logo on the back of the iphone).
Only issue I have with this case (and a bare iphone for that matter) is how smooth it is and therefore will slide off the couch or dashboard etc very easily.
4 stars out of 5.

Skip Haughay says:

It attenuates the antenna very noticeably, resulting in loss of calls, crappy sound during call, etc. Very disappointing.

Mike D says:

I posted previously and stated that I noticed no signal loss. Today I did notice I lost 2 bars. Too bad because other than that I love the case. Back to the old steady case mate barely there. $100 is too much to add to my case collection. It goes back tomorrow. I can't lose signal.

Russell says:

Case looks great but once installed, no signal!. I do not recommend unless you are searching for a great looking paperweight.

Art Simmons says:

I preordered my Vapor case 7/03/10 thru paypal. I recieved a confirmation from paypal on the same day. Then I started reading stories about a design flaw that was going to delay my shipment by several weeks. I heard nothing from Element about my order so I would check for updates on their website. On or about August 14 they posted a note saying that they were all caught up and would start shipping out orders. On Sept 1 I tried calling customer service for an update on my order and got a full answering machine. so I sent them an email. When a reply was not received I sent a second one a few days later. Still no answer from them. Then on Labor Day I received an email from them stating they did not have an order in my name. I sent them a reply with a copy of my paypal reciept and have not heard from them. I sent a second email with the same info and still no reply. Today I contacted paypal and they have started an investigation into my case.
I have also read some blogs where it seems that I am not the only one experiencing this miss treatment from this shoddy company. One blog I read also stated that some people who ordered just two weeks ago have already received their product.

Raptormd says:

I submitted my request to "pre-order" one and while I am waiting I checked out eBay and well the extortion game is in full swing there. Cases that cost $79 are being sold for $175 as "Buy It Now" by sellers. Sure fine make some money, but what gets me is one of the sellers has 9 of them. No wonder Elementcase can't keep up with "demand" they are creating a dealer market with non dealers.
I may like to have nice hardware, but I will never pay the $450 price tag that 6 different sellers are asking for the extremely limited edition 007 version.
Nice case, but seriously by the time they get caught up the iPHone 5 will be out with a new form factor and I will already be onto the new phone that we all know won't fit right in the old cases.

Raptormd says:

Its funny you ask, I signed up for a pre-order and was waiting for my next step confirmation. I cruised by eBay and found about 60 listings, some realistic for eBay and some I feel are out right ripoff prices but that is for each person to decide (but really a $79 case selling for $175 and the seller has 9 of them).
But I was doing some web searches and found this video http://video.gearlive.com/video/article/elementcase-vapor-4-iphone-4-ant... which raises some serious concern about the product and how it affects the performance of the iPhone 4.
They appear to be at an independent lab that does thee correct testing and found that the iPhone 4 (w/ no Vapor 4 case) has 26.8dBm vs iPhone 4 (w/ Vapor 4 case) 7.7dBm
The higher number is the better number. This test was done in an Anechoic chamber (like the $100 million dollar chamber Jobs has). It appears to kill the signal by 99%. Has anyone run into this themselves.
To be fair I am going to ask this question of the folks at Elementcase, I really don't need to buy a nice case only to lose my reception, if it does cause that.
The higher number is the better number. This test was done in an Anechoic chamber (like the $100 million dollar chamber Jobs has). It appears to kill the signal by 99%. Has anyone run into this themselves.

Rob says:

THESE GUYS ARE CROOKS! I bought one of these, then after it KILLED my signal I contacted them and shipped it back. I eventually got an email saying they issued a refund, but after 2 weeks I still don't have my money. I have emailed themseveral times but get no response. You work hard for your money, don't give it away for nothing. I have a feeling I lost $80+ and don't even have the signal killing case to show for it. 

Bryan Morris says:

So I purchased the AR-15 version of the element series. It's essentially identical to the Vapor 4, but $20 more ($100) and cooler looking. I went through a lot to finally get my hands on one. I made these sacrifices and spent a lot of money in order have what I saw as the best functional solution to protect my precious phone. And all I can say is that I am truly saddened by the level of disappointment I feel owning this thing.
The site boasts two important points I'm going to call BS on, so pay attention!!!! One, the company claims the case only supports apple approved charging cables. This is false. The case only supports the iPhone 4 cable. THAT'S IT!!!! Two, the company also claims the case promotes better signal strength. FALSE!!!!! The case actually chops your signal to roughly HALF of what it should be, if not drop the signal entirely.
So to those of you considering the purchase of one of these cases from Element, let me be clear. DO NOT BUY AN ELEMENT VAPOR 4 CASE FOR THE IPHONE 4!!!! THEY SUCK, AND YOU WILL HATE YOURSELF FOR EVER BUYING ONE!!!!

Art Simmons says:

To Rob,
If you made your purchase thru Pay Pal, give them a call. That is how I finally got my money back. The people who run Element Case are either total idiots or just out and out crooks. You won't get anywhere dealing with them directly. Good Luck

Jeff Steinebach says:

I ve waited for long time for this case, there was no customer service, it felt cheap . Save yourself money and don't get this case!

Jack says:

I wish I would've researched these reviews before I wasted my money on the Vapor case. Talk about design flaws, I couldn't even attach the charging cable to the phone due to the case's slot being too small. I am literally laughing at myself for falling for the slick marketing on their website. The case feels like plastic and the "carbon" backing they sell for $20 is just a shiny sticker. This is really a case of "Buyer Beware!"

James Shih says:

They only cost less than 25 US in China. I bought a whole bunch of them to use and give away as gift to friends. Never had any signal problems though.

frostwire says:

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sin says:

You guys are just wasting your tim of doing nothing.
please dont underestimate my product or else it will cost you heavily.
i hope u guys get this staright. Thanks
CEO of Aircaft Vapor

Alex says:

The case destroyed my signal, damaged my phone and to get a refund was a nightmare. They wouldn't return my emails. I had to hunt down a phone number and call it repeatedly until I'm sure they got sick of hearing it ring and picked up.
Their contact info phone number: (650) 486-1353

Waster says:

I wanted to buy one of them, but thank you guys, you saved my money:) I will never buy it...KUUUUUUUUUULL