[REVIEW] Case-Mate Barely There Brushed Aluminum (Signal, GPS Strength, & 4G Tested!)
Here is my review of the highly anticipated Case-Mate Barely There Brushed Aluminum Case.
[UPDATED 10/30 - Added 4G Signal Testing]
[UPDATED 10/31 - Added More 4G Experiences]
The Case's Build quality is excellent. The brushed aluminum has a very nice look and feel, and looks completely real. The edges of the aluminum have a nice cut to them. The rest of the case, made of plastic, is extremely sturdy and strong plastic. The case does not flex more than it should (and doesnt flex at all on the phone). It fits on the phone perfectly and goes on easily.
It protects the back and both long sides. The top and bottom sides are protected on the back edge, but not so much the front (see pictures to understand). Though if it was dropped on a flat surface from a vertical angle, it would hit the sides of the case that it does protect, and not hurt the middle. The case also "overlaps" the camera, protecting it from scratches when the phone is put down. Taking the case off is a bit trickier, but not too difficult compared to a snap on case. It is most easily taken off by pushing the phone out of the case through the camera hole.
As the name says, it is supposed to feel Barely There
. And for the most part, it's true. The case is pretty thin and light. Though it is thicker than a plastic snap-on case. The phone feels a little thicker, but not very much, adds less bulk than any other case I have used. It keeps the nice looking shape of the phone, that many other cases hide (mostly snap-ons because they cover around the top edge) and this one does not! Though it does make the phone look just a tad wider, which i dont mind at all
The case is somewhat slippery not being rubberized in any way, the aluminum is (understandably) slippery/smooth, but the plastic sides offer a little more grip.
Pictures: Click for Full Size!
(If you would like any specifics or comparisons to other phones, just ask!)
Conclusion: NO DIFFERENCE with case on or off
I have nearly perfect signal in my house. With the case on or off, not touching the phone i get -76db (4/4 Bars) Death Gripping the phone i get -96db (2/4 Bars) with the case on or off. So there is absolutely NO difference!
I am unable to test 4G myself since it is unavailable in my area. Here are quotes from another members about it.
Mixed Experiences - 2/3 people have 4G issues.
Originally Posted by banksmi09
[...] This case kills my 4g. As soon as I put the case on, the 4g disconnects and won't connect until I take the case off.
Originally Posted by tmacgarris6727
My case kills 4g also
GPS Signal Testing
Originally Posted by 1lazysheep
i'm in san antonio and have no 4G issues with the case installed. i just got my phone last week and once couldn't connect to the network. i rebooted the phone and everything was fine again. i attribute that to the LOS problem people have been reporting.
Unfortunetly, Even though cell phone signal is unaffected, GPS signal IS affected by the case.
I compared it also with my old snap-on plastic case. It seems any case affects the GPS signal a bit, but this one a little more than the plastic for signal strength (although sometimes a more accurate lock)
Times to get a lock were the same all around.
Tests: All taken INSIDE.
Obviously, these tests move around alot, and are not static results. Here is what I saw and my own take on it...
Barely There Case:
Absolutely see a decrease in strength and accuracy. But not to the point that makes it unusable. strength went up when phone put perpendicular to floor (hard to show in screenshots, but I am sure of it) Keep in mind these tests were also inside.
Also Affected GPS Signal, did not hurt signal strength as much as Barely There case though. (in some shots the accuracy is shown lower despite higher strength, which I'm not sure why, may be a margin of error.)
No Case: Parallel to Floor...............No Case: Perpendicular To Floor
Barely There Case: Parallel to Floor..........Barely There Case: Perpendicular to Floor
Plastic Snap-On Case: Parallel To Floor......Plastic Case: Perpendicular to Floor
Feel free to ask any questions