Will Your iPhone Survive? – Ballistic HC Case Review
So, let’s face it… iPhones rock, but they have one serious design flaw. They almost seem to be made to drop. Unless I am the only complete klutz out there…
Yeah… so with a good part of my life on my iPhone…. and few hundred dollars invested… I wanted to find a case that could protect my iPhone from life, stupid drops and Murphy’s Law AND I just needed a case to help me hold onto the darn thing…
So, as I Searched the World for the Ultimate iPhone Survival Case…
The Ballistic Hard Core… OR – HC case – IMMEDIATELY caught my eye with it’s tactical, Hummer-like design and rugged, manly look.
But is this case really as tough as it looks? Well, I picked one up. So let’s check it out…
There are 4 Components to the Ballistic HC Case for iPhone…
- We have the case back
- Case cover with built-in screen protector
- Outer silicone layer… which Ballistic says in “optional” but… let me clarify that it DOES come with the case. You don’t have to purchase this separately
- And… we have the rotating holster
Here’s How this Case Works…
The inside of the case back has a thin layer of soft raised polymer… which is almost rubberized in feel… this layer protects the back of your iPhone from being scratched while in the case…
The iPhone fits perfectly inside the case back… and I mean perfectly… See there’s no wiggle or play.
The iPhone is snug… but not tight… when I need to take it out, it easily slips out by turning upside down and shaking it slightly.
The screen protector and case easily snap together… encasing the phone.
Disassembling the Ballistic HC Case is Easy
Okay… now there is a notch on the side of the phone… this allows you to easily disassemble the case.
For me this was VERY important because I have a special armband case that I use for my iPhone when I go running… So I need to take my phone out of the Ballistic case a few times a week.
To disassemble the case you can use a coin or even your finger nail to push in the center of this notch and turn slightly…
The corner of the case will snap loose and the top can be removed easily and without breaking any tabs or the case itself…
When we put the top back on you can see the excellent fit and finish of this case… it’s actually hard to see the seam where the top and bottom of this case snap together.
The Base Layer of the Ballistic HC Case Shell is Made Out of a Tough Polycarbonate
There’s an additional layer of a grippy polymer that’s bonded to the case in key areas to make the case easier to hold and protect your phone from impact.
This stuff has the feels of hard rubber… and has some bounce to it…
This polymer covers the back of the case and has dimples for extra grip…
There are 4 large, raise polymer nodules on each side of the case… with one strategically placed on each corner for drop protection.
The nodules make a good surface for your hand to grip… and when using the phone my fingers land naturally in between them.
The top and bottom rim of the case is also surfaced in the rubberized… polymer pretty much insuring that when you do drop your phone the case is going to absorb the impact… NOT your iPhone.
On the back there are precision cutouts for the camera lens and light.
On the top we have:
- A rubberized polymer on / off button cover
- A cutout for your headphones
- And in the center we have a notch where the case clips onto the holster
On the side we have:
- A cutout for the silence switch
- And the volume buttons are covered in a form fitting, rubberized polymer
On the bottom:
- There is a cut out for speakers
- Then there is a cutout for the charger adapter
On the front:
- We have a cutout for the front facing camera
- And a cutout for the phone earpiece speaker
And finally, the function button is again covered in the rubberized polymer.
The Screen Protector
The screen protector is scratch resistant. Because of the precision fit and finish of the case… the screen protector lays perfectly on the iPhone screen so there are no annoying micro bumps, air pockets, gaps or anything like that…
The screen protector doesn’t adhere to the iPhone in any way… it just sits flush on the screen.
My fingers glide smoothly across the screen protector and there are no noticeable differences in usability of the iPhone. I actually like the feel of the screen protector way more than I thought I would.
One Small Downside to the Screen Protector
As light travels thought the screen protector… it cuts the brightness of the iPhone a few lumens… but I soon forgot about this. You can always bump up the screen brightness of your iPhone up a bit to compensate, if this bothers you.
Silicon Outer Layer Adds EXTREME Drop Protection
For extreme drop protection and increased weather resistance…. the Ballistic Hard Core case package comes with a form fitting silicon outer layer.
It is durable and is made to be taken on and off. I probably removed mine a half dozen times a week… so I’ve found that it doesn’t stretch out or lose it’s original form in any way.
Besides the additional drop and impact protection of this silicon outer layer… a real bonus is that there are three form fitted tabs that cover the earphone hole on the top…the silence switch on the side… and the data port on the bottom.
Protective Port Tabs
These tabs add an additional layer of protection for dust, dirt, sand and moisture. They don’t make the case waterproof, but they do a great job keeping bad stuff off of your phone without inhibiting the phone’s functionality.
All three of these tabs easily just flip up to expose the each port so you can get to them when needed WITHOUT removing the silicon cover.
This case does make the phone package a bit larger than a naked iPhone, but even with the silicon cover, it still easily fits in most of my pockets.
The Ballistic HC Also Comes with a Holster to Hold Your Encased iPhone
To carry your phone in the holster you just face the screen into the holster, inserting the bottom first and then the top snaps in place.
To remove the phone, just pull back slightly on this top tab and remove your phone. Removing the phone from the holster can be done with one hand… but I’ve had more success with two…
The phone will not mount properly when your phone is faced away from the holster. It’s not made to go in that way.
You can carry the phone with or without the silicon outer layer in the holster. However, the phone fits nice and snug with no wiggling when you have the silicon outer layer on your case.
On the back of the holster we have a swivel clip that easily attaches to a belt, pocket, or anything with a pouch or strap… like a backpack.
The clip is durable and is made well…and is permanently attached to the holster. The clip swivels in notched increments up to 90 degrees in either direction.
Drop Testing, By Accident…
I’ve been using the Ballistic Hard Core (HC) case for almost 3 months now and in my totally unintentional drop testing, I have watch my iPhone, in this case, plunge on occasion 4 feet or more before impacting rocks, hard ground, concrete or wood flooring… and neither the case or the phone show any hint of being dropped.
Owner reviews of the Ballistic HC case for iPhone are usually well over 4 out of 5 stars. Some owners even share stories about how their iPhone was run over by a vehicle while in this case and survived without any damage.
We rate the Ballistic HC case for iPhone at 5 out of 5 stars for it’s great design, multi-layer protection, quality materials, fit and finish, the outer silicon layer, the versatility of carry and most of all… the overall extreme protection that it gives the iPhone without creating any usability barriers.
Who is this Case For?
The Ballistic Hard Core (HC) case for iPhone is for anyone who wants extreme protection for their iPhone 4 and 4s. This case would be great for any active person, especially those who need to have their iPhone on them at all times in changing environments and rigorous conditions… including tactical, law enforcement and military professionals, contractors, outdoors men or anyone who doesn’t want to fuss with or worry about their iPhone being safe in the field.
The Ballistic Hard Core iPhone case comes in six color combinations and is available online, with holster for around $25.