Today I am going to be taking a look at the Hard Core series case by Ballistic. Ballistic makes all sorts of cases for many different devices that cater to the rugged lifestyle. They are so confident in their cases that their motto is - everyone will eventually drop their device - they say "Just drop it"! (as long as it's in a Ballistic Case)!
Ballistic offers a few different styles for the iPhone 4 with varying levels of protection and "bulk". I was really intrigued by the Hard Core series case because I thought it could stand up against the Otterbox Defender. How does it really compare? More on this later!
The Ballistic Hard Core (HC) case is composed of 5, yes I said 5 layers of protection including a built in screen protector. Layer 1 is the screen protector, layers 2 and 3 are polycarbonate, layer 4 is shock absorbent polymer and layer 5 is the optional outer layer of silicone. The mic and speaker are covered with water resistant mesh and the other buttons are built into the polycarbonate, not the silicone.
The polycarbonate portion of the case is a 2 piece snap together design that splits into 2 parts. Once your iPhone is installed, you can (as an option) slip the silicone onto it for that added layer of protection. The 30 pin dock connector, silent switch and headphone jack have a silicone cover over them. As mentioned above, the volume buttons and sleep/wake button have built in covers that are made of the harder polycarbonate material.
The screen protector serves its purpose and lays very flat on the screen unlike the lifeproof case i've reviewed in the past. It does degrade the screen quality quite a bit but the level of protection it provides for "hard core" users is very appropriate. The home button is covered with a silicone button that provides great feedback. The front facing camera and rear camera have cutouts for them with lens covers. In my camera testing, I was not able to produce any flash issues and the camera's function flawlessly.
I've had the Otterbox Defender in the past and honestly, I like this one better. They are selling for the same price and i'm confident in saying this case provides superior protection for the user that is very hard on their device. The Ballistic Hard Core case has reinforced corners and the slip on silicone layer further reinforces those corners. This is one mean case and i'm highly recommending this over the Otterbox Defender. I wish Ballistic products were sold mainstream in big box stores because I know they would put up a fight against Otterbox. The Hard Core case is available in 5 colors and retails for $49.99 with a swivel belt clip that allows the phone to be clipped screen in or screen out.