Sometimes you want your iPhone as close to naked as possible. That’s what decals and protective skins are for. Sometimes you want it with “just enough” protection while keeping it as slim and light as possible. That’s what cases like the Incipio feather and Case-Mate Barely There are for. And sometimes you don’t care about the weight and the bulk. You just want your iPhone protected like a tank. Ballistic’s HC case for iPhone 4 is for those times.
Let’s take a look.
From the Company-
This Ballistic HC Case is a MUST HAVE for your brand new iPhone 4. Keep your iPhone 4 looking as good as the day you took it out of the box! Engineered with FOUR layers of protection AND a built in screen protector, this case offers security from drops, fingerprints, scratches, dust and well… life in general. We assure you this is a case you won’t want to pass up!
Advanced four layer protection
Optional outer layer for ultimate protection
Integrated screen protector and holster
180 degree rotating belt-clip
The company isn’t kidding when they say the case gives four layers of protection so let’s break it down. First there is the holster which holds the iPhone face in for total screen protection.
Around the case itself is an “optional outer layer for ultimate protection”. It is a heavy duty silicon skin that has a nice soft touch to it and a mat finish that doesn’t seem to collect dust and lint the way some silicon skins can.
Next comes the two part shell that snaps securely around the iPhone. The front piece has clear material that covers the screen but still lets you tap away to your heart’s delight. In fact only the earpiece and the light sensor are left open on the front of the iPhone.
The “fourth” layer of protection is permanently part of this rigid shell. It takes the form of soft black rubber that sits between the shell and the back of the iPhone when it is inside. This gives a high degree of shock protection to the otherwise delicate phone.
Getting the iPhone inside the Ballistic HC is actually rather easy. This was a welcome surprise considering the fact that some heavy duty protection systems can be an absolute pain to get on and off a phone.
You simply place the iPhone in the lower half of the shell and then…
…snap the front piece over it. The front piece clicks in at a number of different points with an audible clicking sound so you know it is in place and secure. To get the iPhone out you simply grab one corner and pull up. Then you work around to loosen the other points of contact.
A really nice feature is that you can use your iPhone just like this without placing the thick silicone over it. Yes, it is already a fairly hefty case but it feels quite nice in the hand and you have complete access to all the ports and buttons. The home button is covered but works as normal and the touch-through screen cover works perfectly. I found that I only had to touch the screen a tiny bit harder and there was no loss in accuracy.
And if you are wondering if you can use the case with a screen protector and back decal the answer is… ABSOLUTELY. My iPhone has the front, back and sides covered and it went in just fine.
If you need some extra protection you can throw the silicon skin over the hard shell. Sure, it becomes a sizable beast when you do but for this degree of protection it is worth it… if you actually need this degree of protection. Again, the nice thing about this system is that you don’t have to use this outer skin unless you really need it.
When the skin is on the volume buttons are covered and the mute switch is too.
The rubber cover easily pulls back so you can access the mute switch.
There is a rubber cover for the dock connector that easily flips up for synching and charging.
The back is simple and only has a cutout for the Ballistic logo to show through from the hard shell and another cutout for the camera and flash.
The belt clip/holder works just as well when the skin is being used as when it is not. The ratchet belt-clip is heavy-duty and should last the lifetime of the case.
In all this is a well-conceived case that does exactly what it promises to do- it gives a high degree of flexibility and extreme protection when you need it. Yes, it does look massive and it does as significant weight but the case is so well designed that the iPhone is still easy to use when it is inside the case. That’s an impressive achievement.
Personally I can’t see myself using this as my day-to-day iPhone case but when we travel the odds are pretty good that this is the case I’ll be using.
The Ballistic HC is available fromand from AT&T retail stores.
What I Like: Excellent, flexible protection; well-made; silicon skin less prone to collecting lint; screen covered when in case
What Needs Improvement:Adds significant weight and bulk, especially in its maximum protection mode