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.

Conclusions

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.

New iSkin Products Add Functionality

I frequently receive updates about new iSkin products. They’re always introducing new designs and I like almost all of them. They have something for everyone and all the designs tend to look current and fashionable. Of course, this is in addition to the fact that they protect your iPhone, iPod, or other portable electronic device. iSkin has definitely become a recognized name in device skins, so I’m always happy to get my hands on iSkin products to review and give away.

iSkin duet

Pictured above is the latest device I’m most excited about (and giving away), but the whole line-up has introduced some new looks. Keep reading to see what iSkin’s been up to.

What’s New?

The most important new product from iSkin, in my opinion, is the Duet for the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 has video conferencing and a crystal clear screen for watching videos and movies. It’s no surprise, then, that companies would start coming out with ways to prop it up for hands-free viewing. Other companies have come up with solutions, some decent and some that are just waiting to fail. What makes the Duet unique is that it includes a belt clip that doubles as a stand. Rather than a full case like most of iSkin’s product line, this is a holster. A bit bulky looking (and perhaps a little bulkier than most of iSkin’s cases, it is a little slimmer than it looks, but it feels pretty sturdy. If you prefer a belt clip, this is a great compliment to your iPhone 4, but if you don’t the belt clip may be a bit much to slide in and out of your pocket. Regardless, the Duet packs in some of the slick style iSkin has become known for.

The people at iSkin have been pretty busy ramping up for the holiday season. In addition to the Duet, they’ve replenished their product line-up with more new offerings for the iPad, iPod Touch 4G, and iPhone 4, including:

– Aura for iPad
– Pebble for iPod Touch 4G
– Touch Duo for iPod Touch 4G
– Solo FX for iPhone 4
– Solo vu for iPhone 4

While I don’t want to go into every detail of each product, I thought I’d share my brief thoughts on each, beginning with the Aura. I’ve posted before about another iPad case, one for which I actually earn on every sale, but this honestly just looks better. The Carbon (black) looks flat and boring next to the Sienna and Bronze Auras, which look corporate take-over fancy. Compared to other iPad cases, these definitely win in looks. The Aura offers three angles to position your iPad for typing, viewing, or reading, but doesn’t appear to offer a portrait mode viewing angle, which may be its only, although notable, shortcoming.

The new Pebble and Touch Duo for the iPod Touch 4G as well as the Solo FX and vu for the iPhone 4 all represent the latest in iSkin’s knack for design with the added belt clip feature the Duo offers. They all look great, especially the Solo vu, which combines elegance with a modern, vibrant look. If I had to choose any of the new products for myself, it would be the Solo vu, hands down.

Win Your Own iSkin

Other than the Aura, I have one of each of the new products to give out to my readers, thanks to iSkin. To win one, all you have to do is comment, tweet, or share. Comment below, telling us why you need an iSkin and what one you like the most for one entry. You can also earn an entry by sharing this post on Twitter or Facebook and commenting below with a link to your tweet or Facebook update. I must be able to find (and read) the tweet or update, so follow or friend me. You can only enter each way once for a maximum of three entries. Entries into this contest will be accepted until January 1, 2011 and I will select winners at random by January 3, 2011.

Cloak Arrives : The Best iPad Case Is Now Shipping

Some time ago, I got involved with the creation of a crowd-influenced product by Quirky called Cloak. It’s an iPad case with features no other cases has (that I’ve found, anyway).

Cloak iPad Case

Better still, this thing looks as good as I expected but also seems to do a wonderful job not only at holding the iPad in place, but also protecting it in the event of bumps and falls. Ben of Quirky practically throws it around in this video.

I’m proud to be a part of it and it’s exciting to see it finally shipping!