Piel Frama Samsung Galaxy S4 iMagnum review

Just like the S4 the iMagnum packs a lot of features.

The iMagnum is an established design that I have tried for numerous devices ranging from the iPhone 4 to the Nokia Lumia 920. The best version so far has been the iPhone 5 iMagnum due to the location of the headphone socket. So how does the Samsung Galaxy S4 version that introduces some new cool functionality stack up?

For starters the quality of materials used is top notch with soft leather wrapped around a plastic frame. The fit is perfect as you slide the phone inside, and there is no risk of it falling out. There are magnets built into the front flap that holds the case shut making sure the screen is protected when not in use. It is easy to open the flap, and quite satisfying to have a small sense of resistance from the magnets.

For protection the entire device is covered when the front flap is closed. When open the top part of the phone is exposed, and vulnerable should you drop it. The case is quite thick, and if dropped it should provide good impact protection if it lands on a covered area.

A new magnet has been included to take advantage of the functionality Samsung introduced with the S-view cover: sleep/wake. The same kind of idea that we have seen in the iPad where it automatically wakes when the cover is opened, and sleeps when closed. When closing the case on the S4 it goes into sleep with the clock widget active for a couple of seconds. Sadly there is no cut-out in the front flap taking advantage of this meaning the screen lights up showing the clock under it. Another really annoying aspect is that the sleep is activated when you fold the flap flat against the back of the case. This is how I usually use my phone either when holding it, or laying it flat on a table. You can use the phone well if you choose to let the flap dangle, or have it open on a table. This is all up to how you, as a user prefer to use your device. I have tried finding a way to disable the S-view sleep/wake function, but to no avail. Not even rooting the S4, and disabling all the Samsung bloatware has disabled it. The only way to disable this function is to surgically remove the magnet found on the inside of the front flap. This is a quite easy procedure, and it is also easy to insert it again. Mind you this can only be done once, or twice as it can damage the lining of the case.

Another issue that the iMagnum design has had ever since the iPhone 4/4S is the cut-out for headphones. This is just a small hole that barely fits the headphone connector when closed. If you want to walk around listening to music the best solution is to use Bluetooth. This severely hampers the case, as a daily driver for me who loves to use a proper pair of headphones. In future versions of the case I hope to see a larger cut-out enabling users to use headphones with ease.

On the back of the case there is the option to use a belt clip by unscrewing a small cover. This is a neat solution, and having a belt clip makes the case versatile. This also limits the issues with the sleep/wake magnet, as the attached screw keeps the magnet from initiating sleep with the case open.

The iMagnum has some issues that limit it from being a stellar case in my opinion. It is still a great case, and depending on how you use the device it can be the best solution for you. For those using Bluetooth, and the belt clip it is actually quite awesome.

Final Rating


iMagnum at €85

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