This is a review of the Rail Carbonate by Avivo. I have the Stealth Black + Black Suede Jacket combo.
The interesting thing about this case is that it has the ability to be used as a normal case and a bumper style case with an open back. The case is made up of two parts, yet you receive three. First, there is the outer part made of a polycarbonate soft touch coating. The next two parts are interchangeable. These pieces are what the outer part snaps into and what makes it stay on tightly. One is a plastic ring that wraps around the side of the phone and the other the same basic design with an addition of a backing (in my case this is the suede back but they sell a few different backing options on their website - ). Depending on which style you get the carbonate models range from $39.99 to $49.99. The model I am reviewing here is $49.99. They also have aluminum models for $79.99.
Buttons and Cutouts:
The buttons and cutouts remain the same in both combinations since they are built into the outer polycarbonate piece. The buttons are CNC machined and have an excellent feel to them. All three (power, volume buttons) have solid feedback. All the buttons are raised just a hair above the case so you can feel them as you slide your fingers across. One slight issue is the depth of the ring/vibrate switch. Although I can reach it, it is only with my nails. I would consider my hands average sized, but someone with thicker fingers may have trouble reaching this switch. Also, the volume buttons exhibit a slight rattle when you shake your phone from side to side. It is relatively minor though and I do not really notice it when using the phone day to day.
Now for the ports. Although deep, they seem adequate in size for a case like this. There is a little bit of wiggle room when plugging in the stock Apple Earpods, so headphones with a slightly larger cable "should" fit. There is a generous amount of space for the lightning cable as well. The official lightning to 30-pin cable fits which I am very grateful for (I use this cable in my car daily). Because of this, some third party cables will likely fit although I do not have any of those to test with.
There is also the camera cutout (suede jacket combination only). Although I like the design of this cutout, I wish it were just a bit smaller so that you did not see the slate backing on the phone. I know this is not the fault of Avivo though since Apple requires the cutout to be a certain size to prevent issues with the flash.
Fit and Feel:
Although it does not look like it due to the "Rails" along the sides, this case feels great in your hand. The soft touch coating on the sides gives you a decent amount of grip and the edges are raised up just enough to give a bit of lay on table design with your typical screen protector (not sure about the glass ones).
This is the reason I was originally looking at this case (I'm a big fan of bumper style cases). With this case, it looks good and works well. It has a decent lip around the back edge to protect the back. Not much else to say thatís not covered in the other sections. The inner plastic ring is a little more glossy than I would like but this is not necessarily an issue and more of a preference thing.
"Suede Jacket" Combination:
Like I said, I bought this case because I am a big fan of bumpers. However, this combination took me by surprise. I love how the suede texture feels my hand when gripping the phone and this is one of the few cases where I feel the branding actually adds to the look of the case. The copper badge matches perfectly with the buttons and gives the whole case a luxury feel to it. I've already gotten a couple compliments in just the first two days of using it in this combination. The photos really do not do it justice. My only concern would be how the suede will hold up over time since it is a difficult material to clean.
The Future is Bright:
One thing I have failed to mention so far is why there is the rail design along the sides. This is because of something Avivo calls "The RAIL System". The RAIL System allows users to add accessories such as a kickstand or an extra layer of protection that slides onto the phone via the bevels in the side of the case. Unfortunately, they do not have any of these accessories for sale yet. I contacted them about it and was told that they are in the prototyping stage and hope to have them out by September if all goes well. I'm excited to see what they have in store for this. This seems like an interesting feature that adds to the already unique design of this case.
Overall, this is an excellent case. It feels great in the hand and I love the look of it. The fact that you really get two cases with this (both the bumper and suede back options) is great and makes up a bit for the cost ($49.99). I also look forward to seeing what lies ahead with "The Rail System".
As an additional note, at the time of writing this if you go to their Facebook page they are having a half off sale on these cases for the first 500 purchases (). The discount code is "avivonow" (all lower case). This brings the case down to $20-$25, which I feel is an amazing price for what you get here.