Matthew Fitzsimmons

iPhone Bumper Review

UPDATE: Apple has redesigned the iPhone Bumper a little bit. Read about the update.

The iPhone bumper is a great complement to the iPhone 4. It rounds off the sharp edges, adds a little bit of shock protection, and a splash of color. It makes me a bit less concerned about breaking it, which makes me more comfortable using it. Although I guess I was fine before the bumper showed up…

But despite the fact that I like the bumper, it has some significant downsides:

  1. Remember the first generation iPhone? Where you could only use headphones specifically designed to work with it because of the recessed headphone jack? If you get a bumper, expect a return to that. The hole for the headphone jack is exactly the same size as the headphone jack itself. This doesn't present a problem for my Shure earphones, but it does present a problem with the speakers in the bedroom, the aux cable in the car, and my AKG over-the-ear headphones.
  2. This is related to number 1. The hole for the dock connector is designed specifically to work with the Apple USB cable. The tolerance is very tight, so here are some things it won't work with:
    1. The dock connector in my car.
    2. The iPhone 4 dock you can buy from Apple.
    3. The cheap Chinese knock-off cable that is almost identical to the Apple cable.
    4. The older Apple cables that have the spring clips to hold it in.
  3. Dirt. The rubberized portion of the case seems to pick up black dirt like crazy, especially on the corners. I have yet to find an effective method of cleaning this, although I haven't tried throwing it in the dishwasher yet. The shiny edges are fine. If you have a black or gray bumper, it's probably not a problem. But the colored bumpers are prone to this issue.

For now, I'm going to continue using the bumper, but the drawbacks are really starting to get to me.

July 12, 2010