Come along with me as I explore the rarified realm of high-end iPhone cases. Today I’m reviewing the Element Ronin Au, a case specifically created for the gold iPhone 5S (but it fits the iPhone 5, too). Put this on that fancy phone and you’ll feel like a one-percenter, even if all you have to your name is $189.95.
This new offering from the exclusive case maker features an exotic wood called Bocote (pronounced bow-COE-tay), a South American hardwood that you sometimes see on the back and sides of the finest acoustic guitars. The wood’s subtle beauty goes well with the polished nickel top and bottom of this lovely case, capped on the back with gold-colored Ultrasuede.
If you’re into hyper-bling, the Ronin Au case certainly makes a fashion statement. It’s functional, too. It’s so light that your phone doesn’t seem to be any heavier while ensconced within, and the button on the top as well as the volume controls and the muting switch are all easily accessible and work just as well as those on the phone itself.
As with most Element cases, you don’t just slap this case on your phone. You must install it by tightening a pair of tiny hex screws to secure your phone inside. That requires a custom wrench that Element includes with its cases. It’s tedious. Adding to the difficulty for me was the fact that my iPhone’s control buttons were stuck after my first installation attempt, but a slight loosening of the screws and shifting of the case quickly remedied that.
Another slight issue I noticed is that the muting switch protrudes slightly from the case, and might catch on your clothing as you place it into or pull it out of your pocket. However, that’s not a serious issue unless you’re wearing a bathing suit with mesh pockets, and I like the way the switch sticks out just enough to make it easy to operate quickly.
Along with this Ronin Au case, Element sent a matching accessory, the Vapor Dock Au ($99.95) that extends the gold theme of this luxury package. (As you Breaking Bad fans might know already, Au is the atomic symbol for gold.) It takes a bit of dexterity to rig up a Lightning cable within this substantially heavy anodized aluminum charging stand, but once all was properly installed and inserted, it’s a perfect fit of case and dock, giving you an elegant ensemble of golden iPhone ostentatiousness.
Take a look at the pictures of these two attractive partners presented both together and separately, with my apologies for not owning a golden iPhone 5S to show off these products to their maximum effect. The case and dock will fit any iPhone 5, and even though mine’s not gold, it’s still significantly gussied up while resting inside this exorbitantly expensive ensemble.
At $289.90 for the case and dock you see here, you could easily spend more for them than you would the iPhone itself. I must add that this golden look is not exactly my cup of tea — I’m one who prefers no case at all on my iPhone, and I think the whole gold iPhone syndrome is gaudy to the point of tackiness.
But that’s just me.
If you did opt for the luxury of a golden iPhone 5S, you might not be wild about the idea of covering it up with a case. But if you really want to protect that golden handset, this is the case to get. Just look at it. It’s every bit as cheesy as the gold iPhone 5S is, proving itself to be a worthy and protective companion for those so inclined.
Top image: Element Case. Gallery photos by Charlie White