capsule review

Delta Hard Shell offers affordable, stylish iPhone protection

At a Glance
  • Incipio Delta Hard Shell Case with Silicone Core

Incipio's $35 Delta Hard Shell Case with Silicone Core offers two layers of protection for your iPhone 4 or 4S, combining high-density polycarbonate with soft silicone in a very nice package.

The Delta is available in four two-tone versions: I tested the black and grey model, but you can instead opt for pink and grey, blue and black, or a “mint” model that combines green and white with unexpectedly unpleasant results.

The Delta consists of two parts: a silicone core and a polycarbonate outer layer. You can try to keep the parts together as you slide the case onto and off your iPhone, but madness and frustration lie that way. Put the layers on separately, and the process takes seconds.

Incipio describes the Delta as smooth and easy to slide in and out of your pocket. That’s very true, in my testing—the very top and bottom edges of the case sport a texturized surface, but the rest feels almost silky smooth. Almost too smooth—I’d say that the Delta lands just on the acceptable side of the “too slippery” scale.

The case employs use-through overlays over the volume and Sleep/Wake buttons; these overlays click satisfyingly. The case provides cut-outs around the headphone jack, camera, microphone, speaker and earpiece, Ring/Silent switch, and dock-connector port. Unlike with many rugged cases, the cutout around the Ring/Silent switch is roomy enough that it works equally well on all models of the iPhone and iPhone 4S.

Because the case protrudes past the front of the iPhone, it affords some degree of screen protection—in a butter-side-down crash, the case should bear much of the brunt of the impact. The case also ships with a self-adhesive screen protector and a microfiber cloth. I loath screen protectors, but this one seemed just fine as these things go.

I came away from my testing liking the Delta case quite a bit. It offers a nice degree of protection and—so long as you eschew the mint model—looks nice doing it. It's not quite a match for my beloved Cynett WorkMate ( ), which lacks the polycarbonate layer, but is far grippier and easier to put on and take off, thanks to its all-silicone construction. On the other hand, the Delta is slimmer, so if you prefer its look or smoothness, it makes a fine case in its own right.

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At a Glance
  • Incipio Delta Hard Shell Case with Silicone Core

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