The best kind of case is no case of all. That’s what I was thinking when I got the Utomic Edge for my iPhone X. It’s such a beautiful phone, and I want to show it off. So, I got a “case” that just covers the edges, one that would do nothing more than protect my phone from drops and on flat surfaces. I had a similar case for my iPhone 5, and it was protective enough against drops, so I didn’t have any qualms with the minimalistic case. Unfortunately, it seems I trusted the wrong company. Utomic has made what should have been the best case I’ve ever owned, instead it’s been the worst.
Utomic sent me more corners (5 more, to be precise). I also sent my iPhone on a nasty drop. Full update below.
Installing the Utomic Edge iPhone X protection isn’t a simple task. Utomic typically releases a cardboard guide that helps you line up the edges perfectly. However, somehow, they were unable to come up with such a guide for the iPhone X, even weeks after the iPhone X was released. So, I got a cardboard installer for a Samsung Galaxy S6 with my iPhone X Edge “case.” It did not fit perfectly, and actually made installation more difficult. Eventually, I had to line things up by eye anyway, as the cardboard sleeve was too narrow and didn’t line up with the corners anyway. Fortunately, I was able to get them all on securely, or so I thought. I later had issues with the edges staying on, perhaps because it was so difficult to install, or perhaps because their adhesive just isn’t very good.
An iPhone case should be beautiful. After all, the iPhone is beautiful, therefore what you wrap it in shouldn’t make it look worse. Unfortunately, it always does. However, the Utomic Edge Protection “case” doesn’t really get in the way of the looks of the iPhone X. It allows the beautiful glass back, those polished stainless steel sides, even the camera bump—which I’ve finally come to embrace on the iPhone X—look great. The Utomic Edges are a little ugly on their own, they look like cheap, dirty plastic, but they’re small, and easy to ignore. I got the “silver” ones. Turns out, they’re just gray, they have a slightly rough texture that looks unpolished and dirty out of the box. I wish I had leaned in to the fact that these will be blatantly obvious and gotten the red ones, perhaps they wouldn’t have looked so ugly. The plus side is that no one really notices them, these notches on your phone are fortunately quite small, and you just notice your beautiful iPhone X underneath.
Besides offering drop protection, an iPhone case also does something else that’s rather important. It makes your iPhone easier to grip. The Utomic Edge will not do that for your phone. However, they will offer a little nodule on the corners of your phone, which you may sometime use for grip. I found my pinky sometimes wraps around one of the corners now, giving me a slightly more secure grip on a phone that has curved edges, slick metal, and smooth glass everywhere. They won’t offer the same kind of grip as a normal iPhone case, but they’ll certainly give you a little bit more than you’d have without it.
I don’t want to drop my iPhone X ever, and, somehow, after nearly two weeks with it, I haven’t. Somehow I haven’t dropped this. Perhaps the Utomic case does add a bit more grip than I realized, perhaps the glass and weight distribution of the iPhone X does make it much easier to hold than the iPhone 6s was. Whatever the case, this phone has been more secure in my hand (knock wood). However, this case does not inspire confidence. I don’t believe the Utomic Edge protectors offer enough shock absorption to really protect my phone from a drop. Utomic has a few videos online, and other reviews of past versions have claimed that they are protective, but on this heavy iPhone, with these glass edges, it just doesn’t feel like these corners offer enough shock absorption. Maybe they do, but there’s another issue we have to consider, they’re only going to protect your iPhone from a drop on a flat surface. Drop it on anything else, the edge of a sidewalk or table, for example, and your iPhone will shatter. That’s definitely something you should think of before buying this. Even if they protect your phone perfectly from a drop on a flat surface, they won’t protect it from the stuff in your purse, or a drop on an uneven surface.
Poor Adhesive, Slow Customer Service
I don’t recommend using the iPhone X without a case, yet it feels like that’s what I’ve been doing. My iPhone X only has three corners protected right now. For those keeping track at home, that means I’ve got two sides of my device unprotected. I basically only have half a case on right now, as most of my phone is vulnerable. You’d think Utomic would want to ship me a replacement for my iPhone X, to keep it from being vulnerable for very long. You’d also be right to think that a lost customer costs far more than rapid shipping costs. However, someone at Utomic didn’t take any business classes. I spoke to their customer service department on November 22nd. They could have sent out a replacement that day, but the next day was Thanksgiving, so they can be forgiven for not sending anything out that Thursday. Perhaps they also gave their employees the day off on Friday, so, again, it’s unsurprising that it didn’t yet go out. However, on Monday, you’d think there would be a rush to send out parts for someone whose phone is vulnerable, someone who can’t just put on another case because their Utomic Edge protection makes the iPhone impossible to use with another case. Instead, they sent it out via a standard envelope and standard shipping through the United States Postal Service. USPS being the slowest option available. My iPhone has had only three corners protected for over a week. I was going to wait to do this review, but after this long, I gave up waiting. I hate to say it, but I think this will be my last Utomic “case.”
Odds and Ends
One of the things you might not think of with a case like this is the shape. From a side profile (if all the corners are still attached), your iPhone will look a bit like a dog bone, larger on the ends than the middle. The corners don’t transition smoothly to the iPhone case, giving it a sharp lip. That lip can get caught on things. That’s why, though the adhesive was weak on the corner that came off (and the one that’s loose right now), the one corner fell off and was lost forever, and I have to be extremely careful of the other corner. Because, if that one falls off, the entire “protective” case is useless.
Overall, I should have loved this case, I really should have. It’s unobtrusive, I loved cases like this in the past, and it shows off Apple’s best looking iPhone ever. Unfortunately, poor adhesive, a tricky installation process, ugly texture, and slow customer service responses have made it a nightmare. I’m constantly stressed while using my iPhone that I’m going to drop it and destroy it. The Utomic Edge protectors aren’t a case, and right now, it feels like I’ve got no protection at all. Once I have all four corners, I’ll be much happier, but the fact that this can happen so easily is extremely troubling. At $35 for four pieces of plastic and some cheap adhesive, I can’t recommend avoiding these edges enough.
Despite taking nearly two weeks to get to me, Utomic did pull through. They send me 5 new edge protectors, instead of the promised two. These appeared to have a different adhesive pad, which leads me to believe they may have had a number of customers complaining about the first one. On top of that, they also sent me their cardboard sleeve for the iPhone X. This sleeve showed me 2 things: 1) I did a fantastic job lining up my original Edge corner protectors without a sleeve, and 2) help me make sure the new corners (another one fell off by the time I got these) was perfectly aligned. It was good to see that they admitted they made a mistake.
Secondly, I dropped my iPhone, and it was a particularly nasty fall. It was bumped out of my hand while I was walking, and fell from perhaps 4 feet, higher than your average pocket. It hit the hard ground hard, bounced, and slid (seriously, this was a nasty fall). My iPhone X is in perfect condition, the Utomic Edge corner protectors did their job. I updated the score for protection below, but I kept in mind that the only reason the protection worked at all was because I had just stuck on the corners that had fallen off. Without that, my iPhone X would have shattered last night.
Finally, just a day after adding the new corner protectors, one of the new ones came off while I was sliding my phone out of my back pocket. This could be due to the fact that the protectors are supposed to have 24 hours to finish bonding, it could be due to the fact that this adhesive isn’t very great, or, and this is my bet, the adhesive isn’t made to attach to polished stainless steel, like you’d find on the white iPhone X. Perhaps the black iPhone X would hold on to these corners better? Who can say?
I love having these, and I love showing off my phone, but they are more of a technical pain than any other case I’ve had. I still recommend buying at your own peril, and only if you’re willing to put up with everything I’ve mentioned for some decent drop protection on flat surfaces and a good view of your iPhone.
Rating (not an average): 1.5 / 5
- Protection (revised after drop): 2.5 / 5
- Looks: 3 / 5
- Weight: 5 / 5
- Ease of Use: 5 / 5
- Grip: 0.5 / 5
- Features: 2 / 5
- Value: 0 / 5