The AL13
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 2 stars
  • Poor

  • The AL13
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: Nov 9, 2013

Review Summary:

PROS: Beautifully designed. Quality made. Easy to set-up.

CONS: Possibility of a very strong signal loss.

TheAl13 3Having an iPhone put into a case might be a problem for some of us. You’re probably aware of how iPhone 5 is beautifully designed and that it’s actually a perfect showcase of today’s industrial design. I am sure that Apple’s engineers worked very hard to bring you a taller screen without adding any weight or thickness. In fact, the newest iPhone generation is one of the lightest and thinnest smartphones, which is an incredible engineering success. These are all the reasons why I don’t like placing my iPhone 5 into a case, which usually covers it from all sides and practically hides it.

No matter how beautiful this phone is, iPhone 5 is a serious investment all around the world. This is why it’s completely normal wanting to protect it from scratches or any other serious and permanent damages. If you’d like not to cover your phone from all sides, and still to protect it, you should consider using a bumper.

AL13 scr2

iPhone bumpers became popular during so-called “antennagate”, where bumpers were the only solution to iPhone’s reception problems. Today you can purchase beautifully designed iPhone 5 bumpers, and right now we are going to tell you about one of those. It’s called the AL13, and it is made by Designed by M. Currently, its price tag is $80.

Once you purchase it, or once you receive a packaging containing the AL13, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s nice to see that designers at Designed by M took their time to come up with a nice looking metal box, so once you open it you’ll see the bumper nested in black foam. I guess designers tried to show how much attention they’ve paid to details, and this is clearly visible once you take the AL13 for a closer look.

AL13 1

This bumper is made of a high-grade aluminum, which is very sturdy and firm, resistant to damages, but also very light at the same time. The process of installation is very simple, and all you have to do is to slide two pieces over iPhone’s sides. You’ll also receive a protective film for the back of your iPhone, which is a nice addition. There are precisely cut openings for any button, switch, and port, and they all fit perfectly.

I am very happy to say that this bumper naturally fits and complements original iPhone 5 aesthetics, and many people will believe that your phone actually came that way. It offers protection just like any other bumper, meaning that iPhone’s touchscreen will never touch any surface, but it can never offer the complete protection, like a full-featured case could.

In the end, I also need to pinpoint a potential problem. According to Designed by M, which is a studio behind this beautifully designed bumper, signal loss can be up to 10% – which is something you can normally expect from any aluminum made bumper. However, in practice many users noticed that reception was extremely weak, and this completely prevented them from using the AL13. This is something to have on mind in case you’re really interested in this product.


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