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Mod-3 RADIUS case for iPhone 5: The most minimal case you'll ever see

Fresh from the world of Kickstarter comes the most minimal iPhone 5 case you'll ever see. The Mod-3 RADIUS case (US$69.99) is designed to protect your investment from most drops, all while weighing just .155 ounces (4.4 grams). How does it look and work? Read on, and then have a chance to win an all-slate Mod-3 RADIUS case.

Design

The first time I saw the RADIUS case I didn't think it was a case. It consists of an X-shaped machined aluminum frame that connects to four aluminum corner pieces held on with small specially-made stainless steel hex screws. While it doesn't appear that the RADIUS case can protect anything, it's actually quite an ingenious design. The aluminum X is just thick enough that it will protect the iPhone 5's fragile glass if you happen to drop it flat on the back side. The corner pieces fit the iPhone 5's curves perfectly and are lined with a shock-absorbent material to protect from corner drops. One piece is designed differently from the rest, complete with a hole to surround the iPhone's camera and flash.

What if you drop the iPhone face down onto a surface? No problem, as those precisely-engineered corner pieces also have just enough of a raised lip that they'll keep the display from smacking flat onto a floor or table.

It's incredibly thin and unbelievably lightweight; now let's see how it works.

Functionality

I'm not a big fan of machined aluminum cases, mainly because most of the time I end up losing those damned little screws. Apparently Mod-3's engineers read my mind, since they included an Allen wrench and four extra screws in the package. Using the Allen wrench, you remove the bottom corner pieces and carefully slide the X-frame onto the iPhone.

The pieces unscrewed with just a few turns of the Allen wrench, at which point I placed the RADIUS onto the back of the iPhone and promptly dropped the two screws. I was able to find one of them; even searching with a strong magnet failed to find the other. Whoever wins the giveaway will get only three spare screws...

Putting the two pieces back on was a piece of cake, unlike some other aluminum cases that I've had to wrestle with while reassembling. Once the case is installed, it was almost invisible. I have a black iPhone 5, and the case came in "slate" that blends in nicely. You can choose corner pieces in red or "polished" as well, and the X-piece also comes in the polished finish.

The installation instructions suggest that you use something like Loctite to keep the screws from backing out on their own, and I think that's a valid suggestion. If one of the screws comes out while the iPhone is in your pocket, it's doubtful that you'll ever find it again.

It's easy to see why the RADIUS case had almost 1,000 backers on Kickstarter. For people who want to protect their iPhone 5 but don't like traditional cases that hide the phone, the RADIUS is perfect.

Conclusion

The Mod-3 RADIUS is the iPhone 5 case for people who hate cases. The clever design and precision manufacturing make the RADIUS a winner.

Pros

  • Incredibly light and thin
  • Provides protection of the iPhone 5 without hiding the design
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Comes in finishes to complement both white and black iPhones

Cons

  • Somewhat pricy for less than two-tenths of an ounce of aluminum; you could buy three ounces of silver for the price of this case!

Who is it for?

  • The person who wants iPhone protection without the weight and bulk of a traditional case

Giveaway

Now one of our readers is going to win a slate (black) RADIUS case, courtesy of Mod-3, BiteMyApple.co, and TUAW.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before August 8, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive a Mod-3 RADIUS iPhone 5 case valued at $69.99
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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