Saturday, Oct 01, 2022 | Last Update : 01:54 AM IST

  Technology   Mobiles & Tabs  10 Nov 2018  Element Case Vapor-S review: Military-grade protection for iPhones

Element Case Vapor-S review: Military-grade protection for iPhones

Published : Nov 10, 2018, 12:05 pm IST
Updated : Nov 10, 2018, 7:38 pm IST

If protecting your precious iPhone is important, then a rugged case is a must-buy.

Element Case VAPOR-S is available for iPhone XS/X, XS Max and XR and is available in two colours — Black, Blue.
 Element Case VAPOR-S is available for iPhone XS/X, XS Max and XR and is available in two colours — Black, Blue.

When Apple announced its swanky new shiny smartphone a decade ago, people were taken aback on what technology on a smartphone can do. With promising features to change the way we consume personal technology, the iPhone has changed the way the world uses a mobile phone. However, from day one, Apple’s iPhones have never been cheap.

Today, their latest flagships launched this year are not only burning holes in a few pockets but are actually tearing some pockets apart too (pun intended). Starting at Rs 76,900 for the cheapest iPhone XR (64GB) and going all the way up to a whopping Rs 1.45 lakhs for the iPhone XS Max (512GB), iPhones are definitely not as affordable as some may make it sound. Though some can argue that the prices are ‘justified’ citing the expensive and most powerful technology being used within these pocketables, these are definitely not as affordable to the masses.

Though Apple’s latest iPhones are out of reach for many, we personally know a few out there who go that extra mile, save up the entire year, and pick up the latest iPhones — no doubt what the prices are. They value the brand’s offering, swear by the performance, and slurp up the status attraction they gain soon after. However, though they proceed to do the unimaginable, they are now (surely) having to spend more on protecting that shiny glass. And as we know, protection can come cheap, but when it comes to guaranteed protection, things get expensive there too.

Element Case VAPOR-S

Protecting the iPhone is not as simple as it sounds. So if you happened to break that display on your iPhone XS Max, be ready to shell out a whopping $329+ or $599+ (approx Rs 24,000 to 50,000) for a new screen replacement plus other additional taxes and charges.

And even if you are lucky not to damage the display, you are any ways bound to accidentally drop it someday or the other and causing ugly dents and scratches to the body, frame, rear glass and the display. This becomes a greater concern since the condition of your phone will speak of the depreciation when it comes to trade in your phone next year or whenever.

So what do you do to protect that expensive piece of glass-metal-glass sandwich? Well, unless you plan on limiting its use only on your bed, a smartphone case is the only option you have. And not any regular smartphone case. The case should be designed to protect it from almost every angle, even if it concerns the display. And having such military-grade protection does not come in cheap either.

So you now have no choice (probably) but to invest in an expensive iPhone case to protect an even expensive iPhone. Well, while there are many rugged iPhone cases available out there, from Rs 500 to unbelievably priced ones, we got our hands on Element Case. The company manufactures these cases especially for the Apple and Samsung smartphone family and ensures its safety, style and elegance while keeping an affordable price tag.


Element Case sent us a few cases to try out. Since we have the iPhone XS and XS max with us, they were keen on letting us take it out for a spin. Let’s see what this one has for your iPhone. They have cases that range right up to $249.95 (Black OPS 2018 Elite), which is the most expensive case for the iPhone XS Max.  While we did not get that one, we got our phone protected by the Vapor-S and the Rally, which costs Rs 4,990 and Rs 2,590 respectively. The Illusion and Shadow were also sent across for the iPhone XS, which retail for Rs 1,990 and Rs 2,790 respectively. These cases are presently available in India.

Element Case VAPOR-S is available for iPhone XS/X, XS Max and XR and is available in two colours — Black, Blue. This one is a reasonable case, and not as expensive as the original leather cases from Apple that offers basic protection. This one is a Precision CNC bumper case with an SLS screw lock system that holds your phone within the case, almost permanently. It features an aluminium front bezel that is precision manufactured to fit the iPhone to the very mm. It attaches to the polycarbonate back bezel using SLS Screws and helps secure the phone in between. With the case comes a screwdriver set for the screws, and 5 additional screws in case you lose any. 

The phone now is entirely encased between a strong front frame and a slightly softer rear case. The case is open from both sides and can actually be called a bumper frame more than a case entirely. With the VAPOR-S comes bundled a glass back plate that helps protect the rear glass of the phone. You can use this (optional) for added protection from scratches and shatters. The glass back needs to be stuck on the phone’s rear panel (similar to how regular scratch protectors are applied). The glass is laser cut to adhere to the case’s design.

Element Case VAPOR-S

Once installed, you can be sure that your iPhone’s frame (steel) will never be scratched or dented from accidental drops on its sides or corners. The VAPOR-S’ frame will take the impact, but will never pass on the shock to the iPhone within. The polycarbonate back has rubber protections pads (like small pillows) for each corner to ensure that the iPhone stays intact during a fall.

As far as the buttons are concerned, each button on the polycarbonate rear panel is also internally cushioned with rubber pads to ensure that the buttons don't get scratched. The buttons are soft and highly mobile to ensure that the button press feel is as natural as it would be on the iPhone itself. Lastly, there is a gap big enough that leads to the toggle button on the iPhone. This gap is ensured that the user can very conveniently reach to toggle the button without any effort. Similar is the case on the bottom where the charging port and speakers are taken care of.

Element Case VAPOR-S

To ensure usability, the frame/case has a unique and ergonomically designed shape. This shape is primarily designed for the left hand taking into consideration the shape of the muscles and body mass from your left palm. On the other side, the rest of the four fingers are also guided to hold on to the case with a firm grip.

Though the ergonomic design well, it seems like it is meant mainly for grip and does not cater to comfortable use of the iPhone. We noticed that the case adds a little bulk to all four six sides of the phone. While this is a superb design to keep the phone and refrain the screen and rear panel from coming in contact with the surface it is laid down on, the added width makes it a bit inconvenient to use the phone with one hand alone. This can be said as negligible when it comes to smaller phones, but on the iPhone XS Max, we found it difficult to manoeuvre our thumb to the sides or top easily. We had to use two hands to actually use the phone when browsing, etc.

Element Case VAPOR-S

While the case is definitely rugged and designed elegantly with strong military-grade materials, we would like to point out that the frame is highly susceptible to scratches from hard surfaces. So if you are thinking of opting for this case, do note that the colours will not be the same after a few months and scratches scraping through the paint will be noticeable. This is noticeable only for the top metal frame and not the polycarbonate rear/back panel. Lastly, if you are using the case, you have to make it extremely sure that you dress up your iPhone in a dusty environment. Dust can get captured between the case and the phone and this could ruin the iPhone looks while still being inside the case.

Element Case VAPOR-S

And lastly, for the drop protection, the case is said to be drop tested at the factory so users need not test them from their end. Though we don’t have the heart to try the drop test, we did try out the case for a few weeks on the iPhone XS Max; but never had an accidental drop till date. However, we must mention that we did try using the phone a bit roughly while placing it on the table and alike and found absolutely no scuffs or scratches to the display, rear panel or the camera glass protector.

Element Case VAPOR-S

If you are planning on opting for one of these, do note that the cases cannot protect your smartphone from every drop. Dropping the phone on a flat surface will definitely be safe, but if you happen to accidentally drop it on an uneven surface, or places that have a lot of pebbles/stones etc, then your display is definitely at a higher risk. If you are unfortunate and a sharp object manages to hit the display, then you know the cost… The case is meant mainly for protecting the phone from dents and scratches/wear and tear, and will not protect the display/rear panel from uneven surfaces.

Element Case VAPOR-S

The Rally, Illusion and Shadow are different — made from soft polycarbonate; these cases are meant for protecting the iPhone from accidental drops from shorter heights. These are pretty comfortable and equally ergonomic, but as mentioned earlier too, the cases tend to add a little extra bulk to the phone and can cause a bit of disturbance when using it with a single hand. However, you should be able to adapt to the new size and usage after a few hours of use.

Element Case VAPOR-S

Element Case VAPOR-S

The Element Case can be a lifesaver and are a recommended buy if protection of your precious phone is your highest priority. We pray that you never get the chance to put these cases through the actual test, ever. Just to let you know, Element Case also makes tough and rugged cases for Apple iPads.

Tags: apple, iphone, protection, case