XShot iPhone 4 Case Review With A Hike And Lamborghinis

Almost two years ago, I brought you a review of a great little device called XShot that lets you put your camera out past arm’s length for better photos. Not wanting to leave out iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users, XShot sent me a case that is compatible with these latest iPhones and lets you mount your phone to not only the XShot, but also to an included mini tripod. Check it out.


In The Box

Inside the box is a hard iPhone 4/4S case that snaps onto your phone in two pieces. Your phone slides into the bottom piece and the top piece then slides onto your phone and snaps in place with the bottom. The case has all the expected gaps and holes in it that allow for the continued use of your phone’s buttons and connectors and, of course, a hole for the camera lens. In addition, there are two grooves on this case to slide in a special XShot adapter for a tripod mount. These are placed on the bottom and side of the case to allow for mounting both horizontally and vertically.

The box also includes the adapter mentioned above (as well as a spare) and a mini flexible tripod to use it with. The adapter slides into either of the grooves on the iPhone case as mentioned above and has a standard tripod mount screw hole on the bottom to mount to a tripod. To make it easier to get on and off the case, the adapter includes a quick-release. The mini tripod does well to hold the phone up for videos and photos as well as propping your phone up to watch video. The tripod did exhibit one flaw after a few uses that surprised me. Two of the legs became detached. They’re glued in, so this obviously should not happen and may be unique to the one I got.

XShot Usage Examples

I really wanted to get the best use from this case, so I borrowed an XShot from Wes Novack and headed out for a Saturday with XShot. The photo below is an example of getting a picture of yourself with the XShot case on an iPhone 4. In fact, this is a capture from video taken.

Lamborghini and Joe XShot

My Saturday included casual hiking and some time drooling over Ferraris and Lamborghinis at a local car show. While hiking, the XShot case allowed me to get into the video I shot showing all of the scenery. The mini tripod came in handy when I wanted to set the phone on the ground to capture some of the wild life. At the car show, I snapped the phone back onto the XShot to get above the crowd for a bird’s eye view.


This case sells on the XShot site for $34.95, which falls in line with other quality iPhone cases, but the price includes the mini tripod and it would be nice if this was an option rather than included. Barring the easily solvable tripod problem, I felt like I got a lot out of this case in just one day and I’m sure I’ll use it over and over again. Tripod or not, this is a great accessory to your iPhone 4.

Ballistic HC iPhone 4 Rugged Case – iPhone Armor

Phone cases can be practical or stylish and can even enhance your power supply. There’s a huge market for iPhone cases, in particular, but only a fraction of that is devoted to the cases that can protect your phone from just about anything. These rugged cases often get less attention because they’re not usually flashy, but they really only have one job to do. Protect your iPhone from the beating it may take. In my case, it’s a full time job. This week, I tried out the Ballistic HC iPhone 4 Case and when I say tested, I mean I scared myself. Watch the video below in this review to see what I mean.

Ballistic HC Rugged iPhone Case
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Ballistic HC Features

Like most rugged cases, this one isn’t exactly pretty. It’s not ugly, either, but definitely more tough than stylish. With five layers of protection, it looks more like futuristic plastic battle armor than an iPhone case. Softening it up, both in style and shock absorbing, it comes with an optional silicon outer layer. The optional outer layer adds protection, but really adds to the otherwise manageable bulk of this case. Day to day, I have been leaving this off while I’ve been trying out the case. The silicon layer is pretty unique to any iPhone case I’ve used in that it includes bits that fit snugly over and in the iPhone’s buttons and ports. I briefly considered the possibility of it keeping out moderate amounts of water (like rain), before deciding that “waterproof” might be a bit of a stretch. Regardless, I think rain would have a hard time getting through. Integrated into the case is a screen protector and a hard plastic holster with a 180 degree swivel clip. Even the speaker covering is mesh to allow sound out but let no particles in.

Of course, with all this rugged protection comes a trade-off. In addition to a little general bulk, the screen edges are a little harder to get to. At one point, I removed the case to continue a game of Scrabble. The effort required to remove the Ballistic HC case is its own blessing because it wont easily fall off, but can also prove a problem if you don’t have a coin handy, as this is the suggested way to pry it open. For the most part, the trade-offs are worth it, though, especially if your iPhone is subject to regular abuse and free-falls.

Testing The Ballistic HC

Speaking of abuse, what better way to test a rugged iPhone case than to put my cherished iPhone 4 in it and throw it around. I performed a couple drop tests from just a few feet and then again from about six feet up. After trying this on carpet, I took a deep breath and moved to the hard kitchen floor. The results, both from an outside view as well as video taken from the falling iPhone, can be seen in the video below.

While my test was hardly scientific, the fact that I cringed when I dropped my iPhone for the test and breathed a sigh of relief that it still works fine should say enough. My iPhone survived a six foot drop, twice, and didn’t even stop filming. There wasn’t a scratch on it and other than the video proof above, you’d never know I dropped it at all. I considered the tests passed with flying colors.


A ballistic case isn’t for everyone, but I give it two thumbs up for anyone who puts their iPhone through serious abuse or regular threat of nasty drops. The $49 price tag is worth every penny if it just saves you from one cracked screen.