Jul 22nd, 2013


DRACOdesign inc is the company behind the DRACO One Aluminum  bumper for the HTC One. Their mission is to create distinctive, beautifully designed accessories that are not only unique,   but stylish. Their HTC One interpretation of the aluminum bumper is a gorgeous, handcrafted guard that protects the perimeter of your device. More importantly, though, it provides an unmistakable sexy design that stands head and shoulders above the standard “bumper” cases on the market today. The folks at Dracodesign use industrial grade aluminum to create a product that is not only lightweight, but also stands up to the demands of everyday use.

What do you get?

Assembling the DRACO One is fairly easy and straightforward. In the box you get the two halves of the bumper, (2) screws for attaching the halves together, a rubber button that sits on top of the power button that “extends” it through the cut-out of bumper, and a small screwdriver to secure the case together.


Why DRACOdesign?

In a word? Quality. Their creation of accessories that highlight fashion, luxury, craftsmanship, precision and performance are the five keys to what drives and motivates them to do what they do. Since they claim it is such an integral part of who they are and ultimately what their finished products represent, let’s look at these five “strings of DNA” and discuss how they are represented in the DRACO One bumper.

Draco One as fashion

I’m probably the last person to ask about fashion — I just got rid of my mullet a few years ago, for Pete’s sake. However, if fashion as an accessory represents a style that expresses your personality or what is currently a popular trend, DRACO bumpers fit that bill. They are uniquely stylish, and are not outdated or feel tired. Pass.

Draco One as luxury

A simple bumper that surrounds your device with a protective material is all you “need” to keep it safe. Crafting the bumper out of a single piece of industrial grade aluminum, making it elegant and gorgeous certainly qualifies as a luxury. You don’t need it — you want it. The appearance of the DRACO One is by far its most appealing characteristic. Pass.


Draco One craftsmanship

With a luxury product, craftsmanship has to stand out, and the HTC One Dracodesign model shines here, too. The curvaceous construction rests nicely in your hand, while not adding excessive weight or unwanted bulk to your phone. The attention to detail and expertise used in not only designing, but also in executing the finished product is top of the line from my experience.

When I initially examined the bumper I was taken aback by the exhaustive attention to detail. The lines are true and detailed. The aluminum is brushed and polished just the right amount — no more, no less. It is easy to see that attention to detail is paramount for the folks at DRACOdesign. Pass.

Draco One precision

High levels of precision are often the result of excellent craftsmanship. I have already expressed how I felt about the craftsmanship at DRACOdesign. It’s no wonder I feel the same about their precision.

Attention to detail, accuracy and a meticulous nature are all expressed in the DRACO One. All the seams line up perfectly. All the screw holes, button covers and access points are exactly where they need to be. The bumper stays in place, it doesn’t move or bend or flex, and it rests in your hand in a very comfortably and natural way. Pass.

DRACO One performance


The DRACO One aluminum bumper looks great on my HTC One. It is beautifully constructed and is nothing like any other bumper I have ever owned. All the pleasantries aside, what really matters is how well it performs.

Ultimately, it’s an aluminum bumper. What does that mean to the consumer with regard to reception, and will you still be able to use your phone to its fullest extent? Are there any downsides to using a bumper made of aluminum?

speed tests without the DRACO One installed

During my experience testing the DRACO One aluminum bumper in many different scenarios, reflecting my typical use from day-to-day, I found it to perform surprisingly poorly. In areas where signal strength was compromised to start with, the results were even worse, rendering my HTC One practically unusable.

I wanted this case to succeed — I really did. I loved the way it looked on my HTC One, but I simply could not leave it installed. I tested the case on both Wi-Fi and data networks in areas where I had routinely experienced excellent coverage and down-load speeds, and the results were the same–poor to very poor.

speed tests with the DRACO One bumper installed

After removing it and installing it several times over the last few weeks, I tried one last time this morning as a last-ditch effort to put my personal expectations to rest, and simply report the facts. I made a phone call, and 20 seconds in, my HTC One went silent. I checked the download speeds and I couldn’t even connect to the servers to run speed tests. Fail.

Conclusion / Final thoughts

It’s true, results may vary depending on several independent factors. What part of the world you live in, your signal strength, and even build quality all play a role. When I reached out to a representative from DRACOdesign as to why I was experiencing the poor signal strength issues, I was told…

the new HTC ONE phone has reception issues itself.. many users mention this on HTC blog site… because of this, there is a high possibility that the phone may have poor reception, slow connection speed[s] with the bumper on…

The individual goes on to say…

the worldwide 4G signal is not standardized, each region like US, Europe, Asia, etc. has different 4G frequencies. So, in some regions the bumper will not affect the signal, in other places it may.

Without the bumper installed, I have not experienced any reception issues with my HTC One, so it’s hard for me to consider these reasons as to why my experience was so poor. I realize that the bumper is aluminum, and the phone is also aluminum, so there most likely would be a decrease in reception strength.

I did not, however, expect my DRACO One bumper to basically render my HTC One unusable. In the end I would have even settled for unreliable to be able to use this thing, but in its current form I simply can’t use it. For shame.

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