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First look: Designed by m's aluminum 'AL13 v2' iPhone bumper touts zero signal loss

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Kickstarter graduate Designed by m on Wednesday debuted a revamped version of its AL13 iPhone 5 and 5s bumper, which is being touted as the first aluminum enclosure design to exhibit zero cell signal loss.

AL13 v2


A little under one year after launching its first all-aluminum iPhone bumper, Designed by m is bootstrapping another project into existence with the AL13 v2, a follow-up design that addresses signal drop issues experienced with the original.

In our review, AppleInsider found the design and high-quality fit-and-finish of the first AL13 to complement the iPhone 5's sleek design. While we appreciated the bumper's aesthetics and ease-of-use, we did note a definite issue with radio signal transmission.

During testing, we recorded signal strength drops of around -20 dBm in certain coverage areas, which brought overall reception down to two or three bars (as represented by the then-current iOS 6 signal bar mapping). The findings were in line with Designed by m's own claims that a signal strength took a 5 to 10 percent hit due to the form-fitting aluminum construction.

The design of the second-gen AL13 is said to remedy signal loss altogether, while managing to retain the "barely there" form factor we enjoyed in the original.

Along with the radio transparency tweaks, the new AL13 v2 enclosure has been reworked and now includes a more secure locking mechanism. The anodized bumper will come in eight colors, including a special "Kickstarter Green" limited edition run.

As always, judgment will be reserved until we have spent sufficient time testing the unit's capabilities.

Designed by m's AL13 v2 Kickstarter is now live with a goal of $25,000. Early adopter versions are going for $39 with a free mPact Glass protective screen shield. Once the first 150 are sold, the price jumps to a second early bird price tier of $45 without the screen protector. Regular pricing is set at $55 or $79 with mPact.
post #2 of 12
I've always been interested in this bumper, but if they're not delivering until June and I'm up for a new device this fall, I'll just wait and see what emerges for the iPhone 6.
post #3 of 12
So what exactly is the point of wrapping your already aluminum iPhone with a "bumper" of aluminum? It can't be anything other than personalization, right? Because it just doesn't make sense to me. Not that I don't appreciate the effort that went into making it, or the look, which is great, but how is it adding anything to the iPhone?
post #4 of 12
I wish it had a kickstand similar to the one on Zerochroma. After using a case with a stand I cannot justify a case without one.
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post #5 of 12
I've had their first gen sitting in a box gathering dust since I bought it.
post #6 of 12
I'd stay away from this company. I bought an mPact glass shield for my iPhone. A day after installing it, the edge of it chipped while in my pocket. Designed by M's fix for this was to offer me a new one at a discounted price.
No thanks. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

So what exactly is the point of wrapping your already aluminum iPhone with a "bumper" of aluminum? It can't be anything other than personalization, right? Because it just doesn't make sense to me. Not that I don't appreciate the effort that went into making it, or the look, which is great, but how is it adding anything to the iPhone?

If your phone suffers a nasty drop onto a hard surface, you ding your inexpensive bumper instead of your expensive phone.  That is the only purpose for a bumper of any kind.  This one is made out of aluminum because it's light and decent looking.

 

Thompson

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

So what exactly is the point of wrapping your already aluminum iPhone with a "bumper" of aluminum? It can't be anything other than personalization, right? Because it just doesn't make sense to me. Not that I don't appreciate the effort that went into making it, or the look, which is great, but how is it adding anything to the iPhone?

 

Ehm protection? Last time I looked at my iPhone 5, it's ugly as hell as it got scratches all over the bevels... I would love to have this!

post #9 of 12

I wouldn't touch Kickstarter with a 10 foot pole. The last iPhone case that went through Kickstarter, cost about $75 and never materialized for me at least. Kickstarter doesn't stand behind their creators and the creator never responded to emails. End result - $75 thrown away.

post #10 of 12
Here's the slimmest iPhone bumper one can buy.
http://www.iphonecaze.com/iphone5/iphone-5-thinedge-slim-frame.html

Had the same one the 5 and now on the 5s for a year and a half. Made out of plastic but durable.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgregory1 View Post

So what exactly is the point of wrapping your already aluminum iPhone with a "bumper" of aluminum? It can't be anything other than personalization, right? Because it just doesn't make sense to me. Not that I don't appreciate the effort that went into making it, or the look, which is great, but how is it adding anything to the iPhone?

It also helps to keep the phone pristine for resale.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by werdann View Post

I'd stay away from this company. I bought an mPact glass shield for my iPhone. A day after installing it, the edge of it chipped while in my pocket. Designed by M's fix for this was to offer me a new one at a discounted price.
No thanks. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.


Hey Werdann

 

Sorry to hear about the chip in your mPact Glass. You should have been offered a replacement free of charge and for that I apologize as its within our 30 Day return policy.  Please email me at les[at]thinkbym.com and I'll personally handle it.

 

Les M

CEO and Founder

designed by m

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