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Review: Ballistic SG Case for iPhone 4

The Ballistic SG ($20) is a thick, protection-focused case for the iPhone 4 that combines hard-plastic and silicone rubber in a bulky profile. With its dual-layers and extra-padded corners, it goes farther than most iPhone cases in providing shock absorption for your iPhone. We found it a well-designed case and one of the better overall choices available for iPhone 4—that is, if you don’t mind a little extra bulk. The Ballistic SG is currently only available for AT&T iPhones, but a Verizon version will be available soon.

The Ballistic SG is a composed of two sections of material that you wrap around the iPhone, one by one, to form the case. The first layer to go on is a silicone rubber sleeve that wraps snugly around the iPhone. Over that goes a hard-plastic exterior that provides rigidity, strength, and shape. By themselves, the layers are not very thick, but together they create a form bulkier than the average case and thus with excellent protective qualities. The four corners of the case are heavily padded with silicone and protrude out from the rest of the case. These corners create impact areas designed to take on the brunt of the force from accidental drops. All things considered, the Ballistic SG offers premium protection for your iPhone 4.

In terms of grip, the case’s hard-plastic exterior offers only a slightly improvement over a naked iPhone. The surface of the case is textured with tiny dimples, which help fingers and palms grip the surface. It isn’t a big improvement, but it’s something. That’s not to say the case isn’t comfortable to hold. It has a nice solid feel, and the case’s surface is more sweat- and oil-resistant than the iPhone’s.

The case has a few minor issues when it comes to accessing the iPhone’s ports, buttons, and switches. First, the case is too thick to work in any iPhone dock. Some iPhone cases are thin enough that, when used with wide-mouth docks like the Griffin Simplifi, they can still fit. The SG is not one of these cases. The SG also makes the iPhone’s ringer switch difficult to activate thanks to a too-narrow opening around it.

The case covers up the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons with raised areas of rubber that simulate buttons. These buttons work accurately and as expected when pressed.

In terms of looks, we liked the all-black version of the case. Its matte-black color helps hide away some of the unsightly bulk and angles of the case. Ballistic also sent us a red-and-black version of the case, which we found much less attractive. The case is available in several color schemes.

Conclusion

For those looking for a protection-focused iPhone case, the Ballistic SG ($20) is one of the better choices available. It offers dual-layer protection and ultra-thick corners that can take on the brunt of impacts. Even though it’s thicker than most cases, the SG remains quite pocketable. The case has only a few minor flaws, mainly that it makes the iPhone’s ringer switch difficult to access, and that the case is too thick to be used even with wide-mouth iPhone docks. We found the Ballistic SG to be one of the better protective iPhone cases available and rate it a 8.8 out of 10, highly recommended.

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