Review: Crimson AFC Case For iPhone 4

Review: Crimson AFC Case For iPhone 4

[expires on=”9/30/2011 + 2 days”]

Scroll to the bottom for a chance to win a Crimson ACF case of your own!


Finding an aesthetically pleasing case that offers good protection at an affordable price can be rather cumbersome, and many cheaper cases tend to be low quality and feature poor designs. Fortunately, there is a balance to be found between affordability and performance, and one case that fits in that category is Crimson’s new Aluminum Frame Case (AFC) for iPhone 4 ($39.95, Direct).


The Crimson AFC for iPhone 4 is an attractive and durable case, made from lightweight solid aircraft-grade aluminum milled to precise specifications. As such, it provides an impressive degree of durability and incredible protection for your iPhone 4. Retailing for just $40, the AFC is more affordable than most cases in its class, and the design and shape of the case does an excellent job of complimenting the aesthetics of the iPhone 4.

I was appreciative of the fact that the AFC came with all of the necessary tools to install and remove it, and extra fastening screws, as well as a cleaning cloth for polishing and removing fingerprints from the display, as well as a screen protector to help protect and extend the life of my screen.


The simple construction of the AFC case and its ability to protect your iPhone from impact are extremely impressive, and the quality of the materials is excellent. I’ve been using the AFC for three straight days, sliding it across my desk and using it out in the open, and I have yet to notice a single scratch on the case, or on my iPhone (that wasn’t there already, that is). I have found, however, that this case can easily trap dust or dirt particles between itself and the iPhone 4, so those that work in dusty or dirty environments may want to shy away.

While the quality and construction of the ACF case was excellent, I did find that the ergonomics of the case left something to be desired. While the case feels good in your hand at first, using your iPhone for an extended period of time in this case can be a bit uncomfortable, as the edges of the aluminum tend to press into your hand a bit. It didn’t feel natural stretching my thumb over the edge of the case to reach the home button, and I often found myself wishing that the edges of the case were significantly more rounded.

I also found that installing and removing the AFC case from my phone took longer than expected, as the included fastening bolts and the holes they go in are small, and it can take some careful manipulation to get the bolt started. Once the bolt has started into the hole, it’s a swift process to fasten the case.

Among the design elements I particularly enjoyed with the AFC case was the very wide opening for the dock connector. I found it was easier to dock the iPhone in most devices with the AFC case installed than most 3rd-party cases, and the only accessories I couldn’t easily use with the AFC case attached were docks that contoured to the iPhone in some manner.

Screen Protectors

The case itself comes with a set of anti-fingerprint screen protectors (shown installed below), but I opted to try an anti-glare screen protector in addition to the included fingerprint-resistant one. I found the screen protectors to be extremely easy to apply, as long as the display is clean and you’re in a dust-free environment.

The fingerprint-resistant display includes an oil-resistant coating that rivals Apple’s own coating in quality – with the anti-fingerprint protector installed, I found that removing fingerprints from the screen was as simple as very gently wiping it off with the included cloth, much like the coating on the iPhone 4’s screen.

The anti-glare screen protector, on the other hand, tends not to show smudges anyway as its surface texture is matte, resembling the feel of paper. I personally find that anti-glare screen protectors such as Crimson’s improve the crispness of text on the display, and make the texture of the screen more pleasurable to use. Both screen protectors were equally high quality, easy to apply, and stayed on after intensely using the iPhone for several hours.

The above image shows the anti-glare screen protector installed, and how much glare it eliminates compared to the anti-fingerprint protector.


What the AFC lacks in the ergonomics department it makes up for in raw strength and durability. Using the case for three straight days in all kinds of environments (including outdoors) sliding my case across the desk periodically, and even accidentally dropping the case onto pavement failed to scratch or dent the case in any way.

The AFC case is quite possibly the most durable case that I have ever used, providing a rather extreme level of protection. Your iPhone will not easily be damaged while safely nestled in the AFC.


Crimson’s AFC is a beautiful thing to look at, with its various lines and curves designed to complement the iPhone 4 from every angle. It also has incredible strength, and does an excellent job of protecting the iPhone. I also appreciated the fact that the AFC was easier to use with most iPhone accessories than most iPhone 4 cases.

I was a bit concerned about its tendency to trap small dust and dirt particles against the iPhone’s screen, as it doesn’t seal completely against the iPhone, however, and I found that it wasn’t a terribly comfortable experience to use the iPhone in the AFC case for an extended period of time, although this may be due to the fact that I have smaller than average hands.

All things considered, I consider the AFC to be an excellent case that delivers a high degree of protection, but those who work in dusty or dirty environments may not have the best experience, and those with small hands may find that the case isn’t that comfortable to use for extended periods.

Rating & Information

Rating: 3/5[rating:3]

In considering the AFC’s durability, style, and affordability and contrasting those with its ergonomic issues and its tendency to trap particles between itself and the iPhone, I award the AFC case a 3/5.

If AFC made the fasteners a holes a bit larger, included an airtight seal between the case and the iPhone, and rounded out the corners more to make it more comfortable, it would be a lot better overall case (although it would also likely be more expensive). Below are some of the pros and cons I encountered while using the Crimson AFC for iPhone 4:


  • Constructed of precision crafted high quality aluminum. Extremely durable.
  • Works with more 3rd-party accessories than many iPhone cases.
  • Extremely lightweight, doesn’t add to the heft of the iPhone.
  • Compliments the design of the iPhone 4.


  • Took longer than expected to install/remove my iPhone.
  • Can be uncomfortable to use for long periods.
  • Tends to trap dust between itself and the iPhone.
  • Small fasteners and holes were at times difficult to work with.

The AFC is a nice case that I can recommend to those who like the industrial appeal and aren’t concerned about dust or small particles. The Crimson AFC for iPhone 4 is available in black, silver, red, blue, polished silver or polished gold and is available for just $39.95 when ordered direct from Crimson. For more information or to purchase, visit Crimson’s product page on the net.

[expires on=”9/30/2011 + 2 days”]


Even though I pointed out a few ways that the Crimson AFC case could be improved, I nevertheless found it to be a unique and affordable case that shows a lot of promise. It is in that spirit that I’d like to give one of you the opportunity to win a black Crimson AFC case of your very own!

You can enter to win by tweeting the following:

Win a Crimson AFC solid aluminum iPhone 4 case – RT to enter! #MTCrimson

Contest is open now, and will remain open for approximately 24 hours – I’ll be picking the winner around 9:00AM MT tomorrow morning, September 30 2011.

We have now drawn a winner for the Crimson case – congratulations to @Woolgather![/expires]