Borderline Bumper Case
Upon first handling this bumper case, my first reaction unfortunately wasn't super positive. As you'll see in the pics, the case is composed of a very flexible rubbery material with harder shiny plastic embedded within. While this gives it some style, it mainly gives the case some much needed structural rigidity. However, the plastic isn't embedded along the volume buttons or along the top near the power button, so those areas are a bit weak and more flexible. In a few pics I'm squeezing the case without the phone in it to show just how flexible it is. Note that I'm NOT squeezing that hard and just barely applying pressure. In other pics I'm holding the phone up by the edges of the case and letting gravity pull it down, creating a gap between the phone and the case. When held like this, there is a minimal gap on the side with no volume buttons due to the full-length embedded plastic along that side. However, the case pulls much further away from the phone on the volume button side because the plastic isn't there to support it on that side.
In other pics you'll see that the rubber on the volume buttons isn't 100% flush with the phone's edge, resulting in it sort of "pooching out" on the side. This is a minor annoyance that will probably get better in time as the buttons are pressed and the rubber has time to settle in and form to the phone. It also probably didn't help that I was purposely flexing the case and holding it up by its edges moments prior. With normal use, you'll notice that the rubber stretches a bit if you grab onto it when pulling the phone out of your pocket. However, it seems to pop back in place pretty well without any help, though only time will tell if it will begin to stretch permanently. The screen is fully recessed from the front edge of the case, so no worries about damaging it when laying it face down. The rubber at the top and bottom of the phone seems to also be just thick enough to keep the rear of the phone off the surface when laid on its back. However, the major selling point of this case is that it obviously doesn't cover the rear, so chances are most people aren't worried about scuffing up the back anyway. I must say, though... with it fully exposed, you can definitely feel that oh-so-sweet smooth metal backside. awww yeeeeaah
Anyway, the bumper case popped on quickly and easily and feels like it is held on tight enough to not worry about. It feels good when held, and the flexible areas of the case shouldn't be an issue with normal use. So if you're looking for a minimal case that will save the day and still let you feel up the backside of your phone, then this is it. Personally, I'm going to give it a try for a few days, but I will probably be reverting back to the Atmosphere case because it's so much more solid and has virtually zero flex or give. I think that is sadly something that I will appreciate more than that sweet, sweet backside. I know... I know...
I have since received a full refund for the bumper case because they contacted me telling me they are having issues with the redesign coming out by the end of May (if at all).
Both appear to be great cases. Despite the frustration of the covered IR blaster, I'm very pleased with the way Poetic is handling the situation and sending out replacement to those who bought the original designs. Their customer service was fast and polite (via their Exact-Deal Amazon store), so I'll definitely be shopping with them again in the future. While I personally prefer the Atmosphere case, my wife thinks I should carry the Borderline Bumper case because it shows off the phone more. I honestly haven't decided yet... but either case seems well made for my needs, and you can't beat the current price on Amazon.