Provides: Scuff and drop protection for iPhone 4/4S Developer: Ballistic Minimum Requirements: iPhone 4/4S Price: $29.99 Availability: Now
The problem with getting superior drop protection for your iPhone 4 or 4S is that you’re often going to end up with a lot of bulk. in addition, the cases are usually hard to get on and off, and port/button access can sometimes be tricky. With their Life Style (LS) Series case, Ballistic has managed to avoid these issues, while also providing a fairly attractive design.
The bulk problem was solved by placing most of the protection where it matters: the corners. the somewhat thin but rigid silicone case is reinforced on all corners by a thicker, removable rubber bumper designed to absorb the shock of impact. It’s removable because if you want even more protection you can insert a bigger rounded bumper. the case comes with five red (rounded) and five black (curved) bumpers, so if you lose one of either color, you’re still covered.
I found the protection of either bumper design to be more than adequate, especially when combined by the nearly full protection of the rest of the case. it covers the back and all edges of your iPhone, with openings only for the dock, speaker/mic, hold switch and headphone port. the power and volume buttons are covered, but marked with embossed buttons for easy access (Verizon owners will need to buy the case designed specifically for their iPhone). the edges that sit around the iPhone screen are raised enough to prevent the screen from contacting services. and although these lips rise outward from the screen, they can interfere when you’re interacting with the far edges of the screen.
But as I was saying, because either the black or red corner bumpers will work just fine, which one you choose will likely be determined by your design preference. I preferred the black bumper with my transparent blue case. the blue looked good sitting on my both my black iPhone 4 and my wife’s white iPhone 4S, taking on a different look with both.
The case is also available in transparent smoke.
Perhaps what’s most surprising about the Life Style (LS) Series is that it’s quite easy to get your iPhone in and out of the case. the rigid design is just flexible enough to pop on and off without fear of damaging the phone, but the fit is very secure when in place. the case also provides a decent grip, with the corner bumpers serving as nice resting spots for my somewhat large hands.
The only major drawback to the Life Style (LS) Series is that it doesn’t come with a screen protector; Ballistic wants you to buy that separately.
But if you’re happy with just the case, the Life Style (LS) Series is easy to recommend at only $30.00. It’s by no means the thinnest option out there, but if you want the piece of mind that only this kind of protection can provide, this is about as low a profile as you’re going to get.