Designed and built by a company many would call avant-garde in California, the Ronin also known as the Ronin Ti.2 is Element Case's flagship and most exquisite iPhone 5 case. But we're not here to review Element Case's standard Ronin case made with exotic South American Bocote hardwood and anodized aluminum. Instead, we have got our hands on the new Ronin Titanium G10 edition case for the iPhone 5 which is the most expensive thing Element Case has ever introduced. Just to hear how much one of these limited edition cases cost requires a glass of water and you sitting down. A Titanium G10 Ronin case will suck your wallet dry in a blink of an eye because it costs $350. That's nearly as much as what a new 64GB iPhone 5 retails for.
Price aside, this is probably the most premium case we have ever looked at. Are you curious to know what a $350 case is all about? Then be sure to catch our exclusive, in-depth review after the jump!
We've gone beyond worrying about protecting our iPhones to worrying about the accessories that will unlock a whole other level of experience thru unique style and design. With Element Case cases, you're literally changing the industrial design of Apple's iPhone whether it is to fit to your tactical, sporty or exotic luxury liking. It seems as though Element Case is always at the cutting edge when releasing a new iconic case, and although we were extremely impressed by the Sector 5 which we called Element Case's best aluminum iPhone case it has ever created, the Ronin Titanium G10 is quite possibly the cherry that sits on top of this amazing and thrilling case offering.
There is no improving upon the Ronin Titanium G10 other than lowering its price tag I think. It's supreme. Made using premium materials such as titanium, aluminum and G10, a strong and durable high-pressure thermoset plastic laminate composite which consists of multiple layers of woven fiberglass mesh cloth impregnated with an epoxy resin binder. G10 is an incredible material that is not only strong and known for its grippable characteristics, but features a three-dimensional pattern similar to carbon fiber which looks awesome.
But before we get into more details, I would have you know that the Titanium G10 edition case is in fact a limited edition run which as of this review has been all sold out with a second round of limited availability later this month. And if you don't plan on dropping $350 on this version but you still really like the styling, you can opt for the less expensive $180 Ronin case which is available in three versions.
When you spend this kind of money on a case you are not only getting a case in return, but rather a whole package of goodies no other case comes with. The first thing that will attract your attention is the included protective pouch. But not just any pouch, and yes it may sound ridiculous to keep your case protected with essentially another case, but bare with me here. This pouch is made out of real leather and the smell of it can attest to the fact.
I found it funny at first, but I quickly realised its importance when I found out that it can store two credit cards or an I.D with one other card to be more realistic. It's actually very useful as a wallet pouch you can also slip your Ronin-encased iPhone into one attractive and very convenient bundle. If you aren't going to use this as your card wallet, then it would otherwise be a shame to cover this case up with the included pouch.
Along with that, Element Case includes the usual SpeedWrench keychain tool with two extra screws, a stealthy matte screen protector and rash guards - which are useless vinyl strips also includes with all Sector 5 cases that you don't need to use as you'll soon find out. And then there's the genuine leather back skin piece and G10 backplate that you can optionally apply yourself to the back of your iPhone 5. And believe me, you'll have a tough time deciding which of the two to use first because they're both absolutely amazing and individually unique.
The smell of this dark brown leather is so good it's indescribable. The quality of the leather is excellent, and it feels very soft adding a touch of cushioning to the overall rigid frame of the Ronin Titanium G10 case.
While the leather back skin is very impressive, the G10 backplate is even more impressive. It's safe to say that this G10 backplate is the center of focus, and it should be because this particular G10 composite slab was carefully crafted and CNC machined with precision. The textured pattern etched into the back of this G10 gives the Ronin its signature exotic elegance which sets it apart from every other case Element Case has manufactured. The G10 backplate is very rigid and does not flex one bit. It can be reused multiple times and its adhesive leaves no residue behind. You can rock it out as a bumper without putting on any of the included backplates. Other backplates such as the Trunket wood back skins will fit as well. It's worth noting that while the Ronin Titanium G10 looks really brown in color on Element Case's website, it's really much darker.
The Element Case logo never once bothered me, but in this case I'd would much rather have no logos on such an elegant case. I think paying the premium price would be enough credit. I the little brushed metal "E" logo on the top right hand side is subtle and would have sufficed.
Installation requires that you remove two screws at the top in which point the titanium crown end will slide off. Slide your iPhone 5 into the case and secure the crown back on. While not as quick as removing only one screw as with the Sector 5, the Ronin is fairly easy to install.
The Ronin Titanium G10 is one spectacularly unique case with phenomenal build quality, fit and finish
Why so expensive? Part of it is just fluff I'm sure of it, however, the Ronin Titanium G10 is no ordinary case made out of ordinary materials. Even without knowing the specifics of it all, I'm positive that I would've have had the same first impressions of when I held the Ronin Titanium G10 for the first time; and it was a moment where I felt astonished by how unique this case felt. Known for using aluminum all of its metal-made cases, Element Case opted for a superior type of metal without increasing the price out of proportion as it could have with gold or platinum. Hence the name, the Ronin Titanium G10 is built with titanium crowns which are the bottom and top parts of the case.
Chanced are slim that you'll even notice a difference between the aluminum material found on Element Case cases to this titanium. While I don't claim to be an expert in metals, titanium is in fact lighter yet stronger than aluminum giving it a better durability aspect in case of a drop. Titanium is considered to be a space age metal and is more rare thus more expensive than aluminum. And then there's a visible difference in color.
The Ronin's titanium parts aren't color-anodized and were left natural only to have a dull grayish color with a very cool looking heat color treatment that gives the titanium this finish of color hue variations of yellow bronze and blue created by heat which makes the titanium more unique in comparison to raw silvery aluminum. Heat coloring is unique to titanium and stainless steel and of course the pattern of colors created is too, meaning that there's no one identical Ronin Titanium G10 case.
The attention to detail is high, very high as you'd expect. Machined, well rounded aluminum volume button were integrated into the case where they provide great tactile feedback when pressed and feature a black satin finish to complement the dark G10 material. To make matters even more convenient, there's also an integrated aluminum silent switch. None of that digging your fingernail into small recessed cutouts here.
As for the sleep/wake power button, you will find a built-in button made out of G10 that also provides great tactile feedback when pressed. In a well designed case such as this, one would expect to find every feature of the iPhone to be 100% functional as if it weren't encased at all. And while Element Case doesn't focus on every little detail on some of its cases, the Ronin Titanium G10 is one exception where the company spared no time nor expense. And I say that about the entire Ronin Titanium G10 package.
As for using it, the Ronin Titanium G10 is a gigantic pleasure ot use as it offers an ergonomic grip with its bowed width and convex back side. I've got no trouble saying this is the most comfortable case Element Case has ever next to its inexpensive TPU cases, the Ion 5. The Ronin Titanium G10 redefines the iPhone 5's rather uncomfortable blocky shape with plump contours. The profile is slim and doesn't feel very bulky, albeit this isn't a narrow case.
I was not expecting it to feel this well rounded and smooth to the touch. It's as if the entire case was polished to a fine refined finish just like a pebble is washed up by the force of water to a gentle smooth finish. Both the G10 backplate and side rails are brilliantly machined and finished to a fine degree that balances grip with a comfortable ergonomic edge.
Expensive iPhone cases were never great at offering protection or ease of use, and as far as we see it they are bought for their premium qualities and good looks. Fortunately the Ronin Titanium G10 is the first case of its kind that I have tested to make an exception if that. Not only does it look outstanding, but it also protects the iPhone 5 well with its strong construction and padded interior, and is exceptionally pleasant to use as a daily case and not just some showy accessory that is unbearable when held. Not much if in the way of protecting the front of the iPhone 5 as the Ronin Titanium G10 has a very low edge periphery which is also why the case feels pretty slim to hold. But you can still lay your iPhone screen side down without it touching the surface.
The metal work here is impeccable. Just impeccable. The Ronin Titanium G10 has that unfinished look to it in a way, but it really is dainty up close and personal. The finish which is satin, is still very smooth and silky to the touch just like all of Element Case's Flux finished aluminum cases. While it may look grungy from some angles, these titanium crowns are have refined stone-wash type of a finish which is amazing to look at in person.
The back of the G10 backplate is curved outwards slightly to fit the palm of your hand better than a flat back of the iPhone 5 which enhances the usability of it as it and I really like that about the Ronin.
The G10 material used in the build quality of the Ronin is used to shape the bowed side rails which I must say join the titanium crowns seamlessly and without gaps.
Some may not like the rough look that the G10 has to offer while others will want nothing else. G10 while usually used for its tough and rough grippy characteristics, is a lot more refined here than I had anticipated. It's almost as if it has lost all of its texture yet somehow it still grips in your hand but oh so gently smooth it feels to the touch. Smoother than a baby Alpaca, strangely.
Medieval, steampunk, modernized rustic charm - call it whatever you will, the Ronin is a seriously beautiful piece of case. And yes it's an insanely expensive, super premium case not a lot of people can afford. If I'm honest, I couldn't justify spending more than $150 on a premium case and certainly not $350 no matter how amazing it would be. I may not be some big baller shot caller, but it doesn't take much to appreciate the high-end quality of this case. In terms of quality and rarity, the Ronin Titanium G10 can be considered to be the Rolex of cases. The price surely reflects that but for good reason I suppose considering the fact that the materials and the incredible finished, well made product that is the Ronin Titanium G10.
If you're someone who's looking for an iPhone case unlike any other, the Ronin Titanium G10 will be your fix. It looks unique, feels phenomenal to use and even offers the protection you haven't thought about. On top of that, it's limited and to hard to get. We've found nothing bad to say about the Ronin Titanium G10 case, and for that reason we can highly recommend it as a high-end, exotic item as nothing we have reviewed comes close to being this original and pleasant to use. Element Case never ceases to impress us.