Hornettek Vader Aluminum iPhone 4 Case Review

Today on Review the Tech I will be checking out the Vader Aluminum iPhone 4 Case from HornetTek. Hopefully George Lucas won’t send his copyright lawyers after them for naming this product after the famed Star Wars villain.

The Vader is an aluminum bumper style case that covers the sides of the iPhone 4. HornetTek designed it to work with both the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 models. It is composed of machined aircraft grade aluminum creating an industrial style that meshes with the Apple iPhone 4 design. To keep the iPhone 4 better protected the Vader is lined with a shock absorbing material to keep the phone safer from falls.


Product Name:Vader Aluminum iPhone 4 Case

Author:Tom Ratas

Provider: HornetTek

Price: $79 (from Amazon at time of review)

-Every case is built from a single piece of solid aircraft grade aluminum alloy with an accuracy of 1/2000 inch. Weight of the case is 0.80 oz which is one of the strongest yet lightest cases in the industry.

-The casing is slightly elevated on both the front and the back of the casing to protect the iPhone 4 from scratches when placing the case on a flat surface.

-Anti-Shock resistant materials are strategically installed in the four corners of the inner casing. Drop tests reveal that more than 90% of the time the phone will land on one of its corners first.

-The engraved earphone joint designs exclusively for Apple headphone connecters.


The Review::

The Vader Aluminum iPhone 4 Case arrives in a plastic and cardboard package with the case visualized through a clear plastic window on the front. On the back of the box is a list of specs, package contents and visual instructions on installing the Vader onto the iPhone 4.

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Opening the package reveals the case and a small ziplock baggy containing four spare case screws and an allen wrench. The Vader comes in four-color combinations – Silver/Blue, Silver/Gold, Silver/Titanium, and Silver/Red. For today’s review we will look at the Silver/Blue version.

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The Vader is a two-piece bumper style case, which is held in place by four small allen screws. It is slightly thicker than the iPhone 4 and adds height to the top and bottom of the iPhone 4. The requisite openings for the volume, mute, power controls, headphones and speakers are found on the Vader.

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Installation is simple but does require manipulation of some fairly small allen scews. These screws install on the back of the case, which is the colored component of the Vader. There is a removable power button on the case which rests on the iPhone 4’s power switch but can be removed if you prefer the power switch to remain recessed within the Vader.

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Here is a picture of the iPhone 4 housed within the Vader. HornetTek’s choice of machined aluminum goes well with the iPhone 4 aesthetic. The Vader surrounds the perimeter of the iPhone 4 and provides a small elevation for the front and back of the phone’s surfaces if resting flat on a surface.

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The headphone jack is recessed into the Vader and may cause problems with some styles of headphone jacks. Additionally, the dock connector is also impeded by the case preventing the insertion of the iPhone 4 into a dock; connecting via the standard iPhone cable did not cause any issues.

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Now the bad news – wrapping the iPhone 4 with its external perimeter style antenna with an aluminum bumper style case does not improve cellular reception; in fact it makes it worse! Much worse! I spent one day walking around NYC with the Vader on my iPhone 4 and was relegated to either Edge service on AT&T or no signal at all. Once the case was removed then my reception levels returned to normal. This discovery was incredibly disappointing.

In terms of protection the Vader seemed like it would handle a side impact by other trauma would not fare so well. I have never been a fan of the bumper style case as it leaves over 75% of the iPhone 4 exposed and the Vader is no different. This case is designed more for style than protection and it does that extremely well.



HornetTek’s Vader is a well-constructed sleek looking bumper style case. It’s industrial style works well with the iPhone 4’s look. If you are looking for ultimate protection for your iPhone 4 then the Vader is not what the doctor ordered; especially if you need to take your iPhone 4 quickly in and out of the case.

However aesthetics are nice but not when the composition of the case impacts the effectiveness of the iPhone 4’s reception. Locking the iPhone 4 into a piece of aluminum may not be the best idea after all.


+Looks great
+Solid construction
+Quality build and materials
-Impacts cell phone reception
-iPhone 4 is locked into the case
– Expensive
-Only protects the sides of the iPhone 4
-Recessed areas may impede certain connections


Scores:: 7 out of 10
Overall: score-7-10
Aesthetic: score-9-10
Value / Price: score-6-10
Build Quality: score-9-10
Usability: score-6-10

Disclosure:This product was given to Review the Tech for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review, we do not, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products. This product may have also been bought by us for review purposes and does not influence the review.