Sector 5 case for iPhone 5 by Element Case review

I've always likened the high-end, aluminum bumper cases for the iPhone to hypercars like the Lamborghini Reventon or Aventador because that's precisely where they seem to draw their lines from. The Sector 5 case for the iPhone 5 by Element Case is certainly no exception. In fact, it continues just exactly that tradition from Element Case, bringing their trademark quality and corners to Apple's latest iPhone.

Element Case has made two major innovations with the Sector 5. The first is in the way you put it on and take it off. With past versions of the aluminum bumper, you had to remove and replace multiple screws and deal with a fussier, two part assembly. Now it's streamlined down to the new Multilink system -- one screw, and one piece. Open, insert your iPhone 5, close, secure, and done. It's still more effort than a soft, slip on case, but as far as metal goes, it's a huge improvement.

Sector 5 case for iPhone 5 by Element Case

The second is in the manufacturing. The Sector 5 is still CNC machined in the U.S. from T6061 aluminum, but the new trussed design gives it a much lighter feel; almost as unbelievably light as the iPhone 5 itself. The one negative about the trusses, however, is that there's more area for dust and lint to find purchase. It's nothing the occasional wipe-down won't fix, but the more complex the architecture, the more involved the upkeep.

There are strips to cover the sides and an Ultrasuede back plate to protect the anodized aluminum unibody of your iPhone 5. I'm a minimalist so I didn't use those, but if you want the full package, they're there for you. And as always, Element Case puts that package together beautifully, from box to bags, everything you need is there.

I used the Sector 5 for a week and had absolutely no problems with reception, including in areas with low cell signals. I don't know if its the trussed design or the polymer RF bridge components, or the different antenna system of the iPhone 5 itself, but I never dropped so much as a bar. Voice sounded the same, and LTE downloaded every bit as fast.

Overall, the Sector 5 case for the iPhone 5 by Element case looks great and feels even better. It's a premium product, made out of high-end materials, using a high-end process, and has a price-tag to match. But if you want something that makes your iPhone stand out from the crowd, that's just as high-octane as it is high-end, then check out the Sector 5 by Element Case. And buckle up.

Rene Ritchie

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

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Reader comments

Sector 5 case for iPhone 5 by Element Case review

15 Comments

I like it, it looks nice, but I can't bring myself to pay $140 for a bumper. I would consider paying half that. But hey, thats my opinion! :) Hey Rene, when you switch to another case or bumper, I'll take that one off your hands for $70 :) All I need is the bumper part, nothing else :)

I'm not sure how well a metal case protects your phone. Metal tends to pass on vibration and shock due to its hardness, where softer materials like plastic, silicone, or tpu tends to absorb some of shock. So while you phone won't get any dents from being dropped on its corner with this case on, most of the shock will still be passed through to the internal of the phone. And that's the issue when you drop your phone, it's not the dent from dropping it, (which is always depressing) it what damage is being done to the inside of the phone. Just a thought.

$140.00, what are you crazy??? The way you are trying to peddel that damn thing you would think you have stock in the company. Anything with metal on it just gets in the way with your radio signal. It is just junk.

OMG are you kidding me??? Seriously. You drop your phone face down on the ground and you can kiss your glass goodbye. $140 isn't protecting much sad to say. Pass but thanks.

Hi everyone, here is my sincere experience with Element Case. I ordered a iphone 5 Ronin on the 15th dec and they are supposed to send it by the 20th. it didn't happen and when i asked their customer support the first time they replied and said they would send it that evening via fedex, which they never did. And the second time when i asked about it, they gave me a refund and said that paypal had security issues with my account which is such a lie, because i've done plenty of transactions with other vendors and this never happened before. I checked with Paypal and they say to check with Element Case instead. Doing my best to warn everyone. My advice? don't do business with these amateurs. Furthermore a lot of their products have been copied in china and going for less than 10 usd. Which begs the questions, is Element Case's product is really this innovative and unique, since it is so easy to copy. Or worse, if their product is PERHAPS made in China instead of made in USA, and the supposedly knock-offs are actually factory leaks from China. Beware of them.

It's hard to tell from the pictures and video but is the phone slightly recessed within the case, or is it flush with the edges?