Taking the traditional bumper case and souping it up with CNC-machined aluminum is a bold move, but is the upgrade practical?
I've never been a huge fan of bumper cases in the past, but after hearing about Seidio's TETRA Pro for the Galaxy S6, I had to see what it was all about. Combining shock absorbent TPU with an aluminum bumper could either be really smart or a huge flop, because what's the most attractive feature of a bumper case? Its simple, yet protective design and slim form.
The TETRA Pro comes with a silky smooth TPU skin that's completely transparent, designed to protect the back and edges of your Samsung Galaxy S6, along with a CNC-machined aluminum bumper that wraps around the TPU. So, what's this CNC business all about and why is it so special? Well, really, it's not that special — at least from a protection standpoint. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, and essentially it's a production process for complex 3-dimensional shapes that's much more precise and efficient than manual machining. There's even some CAD action involved in the drafting portion, followed by a code that the CNC machine interprets and then creates.
Installing the aluminum bumper around the TPU wasn't an easy-going process — at least for me. I found that it's best to start at the top left corner, lining up the volume buttons, then wrapping the rest around until everything is aligned properly. The final step is getting the bottom corner latch to snap securely into place, which takes a little patience because you really have to squeeze the bumper tight to get it right. Maybe the case I received was a fluke, but be prepared to exert more effort than usual installing this cover.
Once everything's sitting pretty on the Galaxy S6, it actually looks quite nice. The side buttons are easy to press and the ports are quickly accessible. The see-through TPU which covers the back features a bezel around the camera lens and flash, keeping scratches at bay. The front bezel also elevates the display from flat surfaces, which is a nice bonus. It's important to note that while the aluminum bumper of the TETRA Pro is supposed to make you feel more protected, there's not much grip to be had. Generally with bumper cases you've got that level of drop security with the TPU edging, but I just don't feel confident holding my Galaxy S6 with this slippery aluminum in my hands.
The bottom latch which keeps the aluminum bumper together had me curious how it would hold up to a drop — specifically on that edge. So, I performed few drop tests to see the TETRA Pro in action. Mostly, it held its own, but the second time around testing the latched edge proved that it can come undone. Thankfully, there's still the TPU core as extra insurance. The case as a whole seems to slide easily on any flat surface unless it's got grip to it, thanks to that special aluminum bumper.
I can see the angle Seidio is after here with the TETRA Pro Metal Bumper Case, but I just don't think they thought it through entirely. The aluminum bumper doesn't provide enough grip for me to warrant using this as my go-to case for the Galaxy S6. It does, however, keep a slim form and hold up to impacts better than I anticipated. Aside from the typical black, it also comes in red and gold.