Android Central

Let's face it, the back of the Nexus 4 is glass and it will get scratched. But it's so darn cool looking you don't want to cover it up! This is why Google announced that it would be selling a bumper case alongside the Nexus 4, but it's pretty hard to come by. Luckily case maker Poetic has stepped in here, and makes a pretty nice bumper case for the Nexus 4 at an affordable price.

The basic idea of a bumper case is to cover up the sides of the device to provide some grip and keep either the front or back panels of the phone lifted off of any surface you put the phone on. This way the edges of the case take most of the bumps and bruises instead of the glass, but you still get to keep the nice aesthetics of that glittery back plate. In this respect the Borderline case does its job. The hard plastic colored sides are accented with grippy grey rubber material, which pulls double duty adding grip for when you're using the case and grip on tables when you set it down. Speaking of colors, as of now the Borderline is available in blue, green, purple, red, yellow and black.

The case definitely adds a bit of bulk to the Nexus 4, which may push it over the edge of being too big for some people's hands. I have pretty large hands and don't really notice the extra width and thickness, but this definitely isn't a paper-thin case. Because the edges are raised up higher than the whole of the back plate, the bumper actually does make the phone a little awkward to hold. With most devices you're used to having a convex back that you can wrap your fingers around, but using a bumper on the Nexus 4 means the back is technically concave and it definitely takes some getting used to.

The Poetic Borderline bumper case is probably your best bet right now if you're looking for a good middle ground between protecting your device and showing off the striking design. And at a hair under $10 on Amazon, it's kind of a no-brainer even if you'll only occasionally use it. Stick around after the break for a quick hands-on video and photos of the case.


Reader comments

Poetic Borderline bumper case for the Nexus 4


I bought one and it arrived a few days ago. I really like it. It does add a little bulk but feels solid, unlike the ones made for the iphones, which feel IMO like cheap rubber.

And like you said, $10 is a no brainer.

I definitely recommend it

Pure junk. Rubber is cheap, and poorly molded to the plastic surround. Pulled it out of my pants pocket a few times and the rubber completely came off the plastic shell.

I've designed many injection molded parts including over-molds and this one is simply poorly done.

I've had mine for about a week and love it, but just to be safe I also put on a back glass protector that I found on Amazon. The combination gives me great peace of mind.

Ok so if I have the nexus bumper already, would you give this a recommendation? Or is it pretty much the same thing? I find the stock one to have a little less grip than I would like and have been thinking about just getting a normal case.

I've heard this one is actually a little smaller than the nexus bumper, your lucky if you already have one, the point is that most nexus owners can't get an original nexus bumper because they've been out of stock for a long long time. This is a great alternative, for in terms of availability and price. $20 is a bit steep for a bumper case.

I actually had the Nexus bumper and sold it once I got the Poetic bumper. It's not as nice as the Nexus bumper, but I found it was easier to hold on to and a bit smaller.

I was thinking of getting this but after looking at the reviews and user photos there seems to be quality issues.

Like? I see nothing, looks perfect to me, fitment/button holes, but maybe you see something different?

Saw that too. The first one I received (for another N4) had the issue with the rubber separating from the hard plastic. Contacted Poetic, who is completely aware of the issue, and they instantly sent out a new one and didn't even ask for the old one back. They say that they've fixed the problem so I'll take their word for it. My yellow one (for this N4) hasn't had any issues yet.

A friend and I both ordered first day it was available. Mine is great, his is completely falling to pieces. If you read comments on amazon others are also having problems with it falling apart. The good news is poetic offers a warranty, which my friend will be taking advantage of, though he hasn't yet so i can't speak as how difficult of a process it is.

Strange mine is perfectly fine, and I actually take it off and put it back on fairly regularly. It took me some time to find a screen protector that this case didn't make bubble up on the edges.

I wonder if it's a problem with different colors? I have the black one and I've owned it for a month, no signs of falling apart.

As I said in a comment above, the process is easy. My first one had the separation issue and I just shot them a quick email with a picture, and they responded next business day and sent out a new one. Easy process.

Theyre aware of the problem, and have apparently fixed it. And like you said they have a warranty so there's no reason not to.

I bought this case a couple weeks ago, and I loved it until the dark gray portion separated from the yellow plastic. It was really sad because I love the feel of the glass back and I haven't found any other bumper cases that I can buy. It was a great case until it fell apart. Hopefully no one else has had this issue.

I tried to glue mine back too, but made a mess of things and had to throw it away. I contacted the manufacturer and they are sending me a new one. I liked the case and hopefully they have figured out how to keep the thing together.

I've had this bumper for about a month now. the biggest problem I have had is that the gray top part started separating from the main black part (i my case, yellow in the pics). i super glued it back together and it hasn't separated since.

Also, as with any case it traps dirt and dust underneath it.

overall i would recommend this especially since the official bumper is sold out and it is cheap.

This happened to mine as well. I have emailed the seller on Amazon with no response at all. Am about to file a claim with Amazon. I may try the super glue route just so that I can keep using the case. I really liked it until it fell apart.

Hmm interesting. I bought mine on eBay, and got an immediate response when I emailed them to send a replacement for the separation issue.

mine separated at the opening for the usb charger on the bottom. i saw the pictures on amazon where the top of the case was separating, so i think in my situation it was easier to glue it back.

I've had this case for about a month, I use it combined with a back and front screen protector so the phone is safe from scratches and most falls. It's a very good case, the concave back isn't anything new, all bumper cases are somewhat concave by design, I'll admit it felt a little strange when I first picked it up, but I quickly got used to it and compared to my last tpu case it actually makes the phone considerably less bulky. It really is a no brainer.

This ia a real crapy bumper. The rubber lining on the front came off in a week. Read all the 1 star reviews on Amazon and u will realize how many people have suffered from this poor quality bumper.

Mine broke after a couple weeks - there are two pieces of plastic that are held together with glue, essentially, and I'm almost certain it's a design flaw that would affect anyone with this case eventually. A lot of people on amazon have reported the same problem.

I've had 2 of these and they've both fallen apart, I'm currently waiting for my 3rd one as replacement under their warranty. Despite these quality issues, I absolutely love the bumper. it does its job well, I work in an auto shop and my phone still has no scratches on it at all. I will say that people should wait a while until they get their quality control under control.

It's good to hear from someone with as rough of a work environment as I have myself. This is my main concern since I work in a wood shop. I come home with saw dust in every port of my phone because it floats around the shop and ends up in my pockets. My Nexus S has gotten considerably worse wear since I started working there, and I was worried it may be the same for a Nexus 4. I'm glad to hear yours is still looking good with a bumper on it since this is the exact same route I will go with mine once google restocks them and I can order one :)

Although mine has started to separate, I still think it's a great bumper. I used the Contact link through Amazon last week to let Poetic know about the issues mine was having, and they shipped me a new one, no questions asked. I received it yesterday.

I've had a Poetic cover for my iPad for about a year now and also love it. They are just working through some manufacturing problems with these 2 material bumpers.

For those complaining about the quality of it - CONTACT THEM.

I've had a poetic bumper on my Nexus 4 for less than a month. Three days ago the rubber border began to separate from the plastic border. I've emailed the seller I purchased it from on ebay and I'm waiting for their reply but as of now, I wouldn't recommend it. I would wait until a bumper was available that was one complete piece to prevent this from happening.

I have the Poetic slimline case for my N7 and it's probably the best case out there for that device.

For $10.00 you really can go wrong (plus it has a 3 year warrenty)....

This case is junk. I pre-ordered mine through Amazon and initially thought "What a great price, how is it possible?" While Poetic's customer service is great, like others have said, it's pretty piss poor quality. I received it at the end of Dec. and had it replaced once already, and am debating whether or not I should have them send me another one. The plastic and the rubber do not connect together well at all and you are lucky to get more than one full week of use without it starting to separate. The thread about this case on XDA shows that it's very widespread not alone with this issue. That's what the warranty is for though.

I bought it off a seller from ebay. Almost a week, and it's still going strong. I had a feel of a friend's official N4 bumper, and I remember it feeling rather slippery. The one from Poetic feels less slippery, which is good.

Hey in this video I saw green notification light, I thought there was only white notification light in N4.... So can anybody tell me in how many colors does the led light glow. can we customize it???????

Bought this bumper case and it started splitting apart after 2 weeks.
It never dropped even once, gotta say I'm thoroughly disappointed in the piece of cr@p!

The bumper is not designed well in my opinion. I think I own it a month, and the bumper started to come apart in several areas. I think I will try the bumper from Google Play now. If that doesn't work...who knows.

Is nobody smart enough to contact poetic or do any research? The first batches have peeling issues, contact them and you can get a free replacement that is fixed.

An update for anyone paying attention. The rear part of the bumper is so far off the glass, taht the phone doesn't stick, or charge, on Google's Nexus wireless charger ("orb"). Buyer be forewarned.

I've tested Google's bumper with the the orb, and it just barely clears the outer rim of the orb, allowing the back glass to stick (and, of course, charge).

Thin back shells (I really like the Poetic Palette I bought for $4.95) don't have any issues.