Last month I reported on one of my favorite new cases for the iPhone 4. The only problem is that most people aren't going to plunk down $150 for a case for their iPhone. Hasam1191 reminded me in the talkback that "$149 is the cost of a new Android phone. lol." Indeed Hasam.
If you dig the industrial sensibility of metal frame cases but your last name isn't Rockefeller or Kennedy, I've got a recommendation for you. The Aluminum Frame Case (AFC) from Crimson ($39.95) looks killer and won't force you to choose between it and making your car payment. It's just the right combination of striking design, and full-body protection.
The Crimson AFC sandwiches the iPhone 4 between two CNC machined aircraft-grade aluminum frames that and are connected by stainless steel allen screws in the corners. Although it's intimidatingly burly-looking, the case itself weighs a scant 19 grams and doesn't add any perceptible weight. Its square corners aren't the most pocket friendly, in fact this case is the antithesis of smooth and sleek, but it certainly make a statement. A nice side effect is that the AFC's straight lines and hard edges make it stand up nicely on your desk while you're working.
The Crimson AFC saved my bacon on the second day that I had it on my iPhone. I fumbled while getting out of my car (ever do this?) and my AFC-clad iPhone landed squarely on its corner on the pavement and suffered nary a scratch. In fact, there wasn't even a mark on the case. I'm pretty sure that the back glass -- if not both panes -- might have cracked had I been traveling sans-case. I can vouch for the shock absorption of the AFC's resin corner guards first hand, they certainly worked well for me.
It's definitely not for everyone, but if you like an iPhone case that's bold and industrial-looking you should check out the AFC for iPhone 4. It includes one set (front and rear) of Crimson's premium anti-fingerprint films (which are some of the best I've used) and is available in six finishes/colors for $39.95 each. (Pictured is polished silver).
Update 2: I averted tragedy again when I fumbled my iPhone at a local taqueria. Sure enough, the AFC saved my bacon and my iPhone lived to tell the tale. But this time, there was a casualty: one of the AFC's resin corners split in two. On impact, the iPhone was partially ejected from the case, but only about 20% of it came out, just enough to munge the back film though. I'm in touch with Crimson about replacement resin corners and will update this post when I hear back.