• Mini-Review: Brando Iron Man Mark VII Armour for iPhone 5

    In honour of the release of Iron Man 3 around the country today, I thought I'd do a mini review of the iPhone 5 MARVEL Iron Man Mark VII Protective Case with LED Light Reflector (Limited Edition)…yes that it's full name…from Brando, purveyors of random plastic crap for any number of devices.

    Benny linked to this amazing piece of merch a while ago and, without thinking, I ordered one before promptly forgetting about it until yesterday afternoon when it arrived just in time for the Iron Man 3 midnight premiere. Seriously, that's how it happened…I'm nowhere near organised enough to have planned this.

    The case itself is a two piece slider designed to look like the Mark VII suit from big showdown at the end of The Avengers and fell like a lump of plastic surrounding your iPhone.

    Judging by the number of Marvel logos plastered all over the box, I can only assume that it's a licensed product…but hey it's Brando, so you never know!

    It's made of fairly brittle plastic and coated with metallic paint in the gold and hot rod red hues synonymous with old shell head. In the hand, it feels pretty awkward actually. The chest piece bulges out quite a bit and then tapers down to the base of the iPhone. Don't try and hold it to your ear with your shoulder while trying to unlock a door, that's a recipe for disaster! It does stand up quite well leaving a bit of a gap between the bottom of the iPhone and whatever surface it's standing on, which means that audio bounces off said surface quite well and sounds a little louder than it would ordinarily.

    This is what the light up Arc reactor looks like when a call comes in.

    As I said the plastic feels quite brittle and hard in the hand, it may protect the iPhone 5 if dropped but I don't think the case would survive the fall making it a one off save.

    If you look hard enough you can find the sleep/wake button just beside the right shoulder and the volume up and down nubs (they're not really buttons) on the left hand side. There's zero access to the silent switch, possibly because Tony Stark never does anything silently or maybe because they just couldn't be stuffed making room for it.

    With case (left), without case (right).

    The arc reactor in the middle of the chest lights up when you get a call, email or iMessage as long as you've gone into the Accessibility settings and enabled LED Flash for Alerts. This is both dorky and amusing, but comes with one major trade off: because the flash is diverted to light up the arc reactor, photos taken with the flash look like absolute crap as you can see on the right.

    That brings me to the camera access itself. Unlike most cases, which include a cutout for the camera and flash, Brando have opted to have part of the chest slide sideways to expose the camera. This probably also contributes to the crappy quality of photos taken with the case on.

    All in all, it's a crappy plastic case that looks kinda cool but is kinda horrible to use.

    Will I use it every day? Probably not. It's not the worst case I've ever used, it's by far the dorkiest and least practical though.

    If you too want to own this ridiculous piece of fanboy fodder, you can buy one here or keep an eye on the For Sale forum where I may or may not be putting this one up for sale next week

    PS - the quality of the case has no correlation to the quality of Iron Man 3. For a mini (and mostly spoiler free) review of the movie itself, go here.

    Alec is a self-confessed fanboy when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their version of Iron Man in particular. His opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of MacTalk, his employer or Stark Industries. You can follow him here, here and here for more inane geekery.
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