iPhone 4 Case Review: ingear Hybrid Shell

iPhone Gear

Hybrid cases are amongst the most popular style for the iPhone 4. And I understand why. The combination of silicone and plastic that they provide offers the end user both grip and protection in what’s usually a pretty cool looking package.

The Hybrid Shell case from ingear is no exception. The case, which offers maximum protection by providing a hard front frame along with a softer back is available in five different color options. The back portion of the case remains the same gray color no matter which you choose. But what does change is the frame. In addition to the gold version I used in my review you can also choose from black, pink, white or yellow.

ingear has plans to soon sell just the frame so you’ll be able to mix and match them whenever you feel like it.

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The case comes complete with a single screen protection kit which includes one crystal clear screen shield, a small screen cleaning cloth and a card to help you install the screen shield.

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The case is made from two pieces. The top plastic frame and a silicone back.

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To assemble the case you first lay your iPhone 4 into the back portion of the case taking care to make sure all of your ports and buttons are properly aligned.

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Then you lay the top frame over your iPhone 4’s screen and snap it onto the back portion of the case at five different points of contact. I’ve found the best way to install the case is to start with the bottom corners and then move to the top right, then top left, finishing with the volume buttons.  It’s by no means the easiest of installs but if you take your time you eventually get it altogether.

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Once it’s assemebled the case offers a surprisingly tight fit. Even though it doesn’t appear to be held together by all that much it’s actually quite sturdy and you really have to work to pry the to pieces apart during removal.

On the bottom of the case you’ll notice one large cutout for accessing the 30-pin dock connector, speaker and main microphone.

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Along the left side of the case there’s a small cutout for accessing the vibrate switch. The volume buttons get covered by the softer portion of the case. They don’t offer as much feedback as I typically like to see in a case. The result is simply having to press them a little harder than you might normally.

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On the top of the case you’ll find a cut out for the headset jack and secondary microphone. The sleep/awake button gets covered by the soft portion of the case, just like the volume buttons and offers similar feedback. It’s sometimes hard to press.

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On the back of the case there’s a decent sized, pill-shaped, cutout for the iPhone’s camera and flash. I did not have any issues with the camera’s flash washing out images.

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The frame offers a great amount of “lay-on-the-table” protection for your phone so you needn’t worry about placing it screen side down onto any flat surface.

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Hybrid style cases are popular for two reasons. First for the protection and grip they provide. The Hybrid Shell from ingear offers both via a soft, lightweight silicone back that’s easy to hold and sure to absorb plenty of shock and impact if you should drop your phone and a rigid plastic frame that protects the front of your device to.  And second for their good looks.  The combination of dark silicone with bright plastic makes for eye-popping designs.  While the buttons are sometimes hard to press this case does offer a slim profile that’s good in your hand.

With five colors to choose from and a price under $23 this case is one to take a look at if you’ve been eying a hybrid style case for your own iPhone 4.

Learn more about the Hybrid Shell from ingear here.

MSRP: $22.99

What I Liked: Hybrid style offers both protection, grip and good looks. Inexpensive.

What Needs Improvement: Difficult to put on. Buttons hard to press.

About the Author

LarryGreenberg
I have always had a passion for gear and gadgets. It all started for me with the release of the very first Palm Pilot. I've always had an interest in handheld electronics. From handheld PDAs, to cell phones, Mp3 players, watches and other products, I'm the first person my friends, family and colleagues call when they need advice on tech. I have roots in the online tech. forum community. I served as the Administrator to Howard Forums.com and as a Moderator at both Treo Central.com and Blackberry Forums.net. Under the screen name “lgreenberg” I've amassed 50,000+ postings. I also manage my own YouTube channel under the user name larrygreenberg. I'm always eager to help.

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