At a Glance
The iPhone 4 Ballistic HC Series Case is a combination hardshell case and silicone skin, making it a very good heavy-duty offering for those who need their phone to stand up to abuse while still remaining usable.
If you’re looking for overwhelming protection in an iPhone case, Ballistic’s AT&T iPhone 4 Hard Core (HC) Series Case or Verizon iPhone 4 Hard Core (HC) Series Case ($30 to $50) may be right up your alley. The company claims each combination of polycarbonate hardshell and silicon skin offers four layers of protection while leaving your phone completely functional. The two-piece, hard-plastic shell—which comes in your choice of black, gray, or pink highlights—is impact resistant and features shock-absorbent rubber pads both inside and out to further protect the phone. The iPhone itself gets sandwiched in between the two halves, which snap together at several points around the edge of the case. Once inside, the iPhone is covered from head to toe, with openings for the ear speaker, front camera, rear camera, dock-connector port, speaker, microphone, headphone jack, and Ring/Silent switch. The volume buttons, Home button, and Sleep/Wake button all get a protective covering of silicone. There’s also a clear, flexible-plastic screen protector that lets you use the touchscreen through it.
If that’s still not enough, the Ballistic HC also comes with a thick silicone skin that wraps around the hard case for an extra level of protection (and also adds flaps to cover the Ring/Silent switch and dock-connector port). If you want to keep your phone close to hand, there’s even an included plastic belt holder that works whether or not you use the additional silicone skin layer. Though the case adds a decent amount of bulk to the iPhone, the Ballistic HC feels pretty sturdy; it’s even easy to get the phone in and out of the case, though you probably won’t need to do so very often, as I noticed little evidence of the case impinging the phone’s usability. Even the larger plug of one of my non-Apple headphones fit through the case’s headphone-jack opening, albeit with a limited range of motion. (Your mileage may vary, depending on the size of the headphone plug.) The one major drawback is that you won’t be able to place the iPhone in a dock-cradle accessory while it’s in the case. Overall, the Ballistic HC is a solid case and a great option for iPhone users who need their phone to stand up to any sort of abuse.