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Gadgetell review: AGF case complete with iPhone vs Wall smackdown

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Do you look what other people are using for cases at grocery stores, post office or on trains? Yeah me too. It fascinates me what some people are willing to live with to protect their precious gadgets. Today, we’re looking at a couple of cases from AGF: the Ballistic and the classically named Vandelay.

Ballistic HC Hard Core case impresses even tough guys

The Ballistic

Big. Encapsulated. Brick. Those are the three words I believe best describe the Ballistic HC (for Hard Core). Ballistic makes this case for the iPhone, BlackBerry Curve 8500 and 9300 and HTC Evo. In envision my Cousin Ben the firefighter loving this case.

AGF says the Ballistic case offers four layers of protection. The iPhone get put into a hard case with snapping top piece that covers the screen with a very clear and capacitive film, so it looks and performs as you’d expect, and as a red flag item – it passes with high marks from me. An optional outer layer, that feels like silicone, gets stretched over the hard case. The buttons, volume, home and top, are covered while the mute button and pin connector have plugs over them.

Using this case was better than I expected. With the phone inside this cocoon of protection, I expected some difficulty using the device. Not so. All the buttons worked as if nothing were over them. I even found the hard case somewhat attractive on its own. To be fair, hitting the mute button is tough, but I’ve not seen a case where it is easy. Here’s the iPhone with Ballistic HC case vs wall smackdown:

Extra bonus: the case comes with a nice holster.

The Ballistic case sell for $49.99, a reasonable price for protection of this kind in my book.

AGF Vandelay iPhone 4 slider case

Vandelay

The Vandelay case is a bit more basic a case but still with some protection. This case is a slide on from the bottom with a bottom cap piece that snaps into place. Available in either a red pattern or carbon fiber finish, I found the red shell to have a slightly grippier texture vs the shiny plastic of the carbon. The carbon looks and feels pretty cool though.

The Vandelay seems slightly thicker than other cases, say the Speck but that’s thanks to the corner and back protection built in. The fit is unbelievably tight to slide the phone in, they nailed the tolerances on this case. No slop at all is felt.

At $34.99, it’s a reasonably good case with some protection. What makes it even better is the addition of a holster, if you are into that. The holster can hold the phone in or outwards and has a very positive click letting you know the phone is locked in. Cleverly, the holster clip extends out so it doubles as a kickstand, helpful when you want to watch that Apple streaming Keynote. It’s an intelligent solution for a bonus feature.

Final thoughts

The Ballistic case is really impressive. Reviews on their site are all 5-star, saying things like “This case is UNBELIEVABLE!! Worth every penny!!” and “This thing is A TANK”. I think what I like best about it is the custom levels of protection – heading out rock climbing – throw on the outer layer. Just going shopping – leave it off. I like that kind of personalization that you can’t really get with other cases.

The Vandelay is in no-mans land. Not a slim case and not an overly protective case. It looks OK but is too bulky for my tastes.

Company site: [AGF]

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