The first thing most people do when they purchase a smartphone is get screen protection for the front of the device and some kind of case or protection for the body. And for good reason. Smartphones are not cheap and they are personal devices – so if they are worth something to the owner they are definitely worth protecting.
Most smart phones released now days are so attractive that many people are choosing transparent back covers that do not detract from the look of the device.
However if you work in harsh environments, or if you have an outdoors lifestyle, then you will need more robust, all-round protection to protect your asset from falls, bumps, grinds and dust.
In this article I will not only talk about tough protection for mobile devices but also super-tough carrying cases for other more expensive and bulkier devices such as professional cameras, video and surveying equipment.
GRIFFIN SURVIVOR AND OTTERBOX DEFENDER
The Griffin Survivor is a rugged iPhone case that wraps your iPhone in multiple layers of tough, strong protection and gives you peace of mind while you work or play outdoors.
This rugged iPhone case is designed to meet the rigorous military durability standards for electronic devices and still be functional. The Survivor can endure extreme conditions, whether it is dust, dirt, rain or shocks. This is possible thanks to the multiple layers of protection that wrap it in polycarbonate, foam and silicone. This case is available for the iPhone 5 and 4S.
A tough, scratch-resistant screen shield clips onto the front of your iPhone, deflecting wind, rain and dirt. The screen responds well, and all swiping, tapping and pinch zooming functions just like it wasn’t even there. The inner casing is constructed from tough polycarbonate that minimizes damage from impacts. There are two foam pads inside the inner casing that cushion your iPhone, absorbing impacts from shocks. Another great feature of the Survivor case is a rear camera cover that rotates out of the way, letting you take clear pictures without blocking the lens.
These layers are wrapped in an outer casing made from rugged silicone that absorbs vibrations and gives the corners of your iPhone protection from drops. This is important because smartphones are generally vulnerable on their corners and many screens are cracked from a short drop or shock. The outer casing also has rubber button covers that do not hinder use, and you can seal every single one of the ports with hinged covers to keep out sand, rain and dust as well. This includes the rear camera window, which can be opened and closed with a silicone rubber and polycarbonate flap.
The Survivor is available in 20 colors and you can mix and match them to give your case a custom look. Each case also comes with a multi-position clip that attaches securely to a bag, belt or strap. The clip is strong and does not fall off easily.
Another similar product is the Otter Defender.
The Defender case is as hard as a rock and is designed to take a brutal amount of abuse. What differentiates it from the Griffin Survivor is that it uses proportionately more polycarbonate to silicone in its design, and it also incorporates a shock cover/easel to provide an additional layer of protection when carried.
One of the best features of the Otterbox Defender is that the manufacturer lets you build your own case by mixing and matching the colors for the inner and outer layers. You can choose from eight colors for the outer layer and nine for the inner layer. You can preview your color selections on the Defender store webpage, giving you a chance to find the color combo that you like best.
Unfortunately, the Otterbox Defender does not protect phones from water, so it is best suited for dry environments. While this case does not protect phones from water, it is a great choice if you are looking for a rugged iPhone case to shield your phone from damage during intense daily use.
PELICAN HARD-CASE PROTECTION
One case manufacturer that has built a solid reputation over almost four decades is Pelican Products, a US company based in California.
The company and its products are in a league of their own
“We have always been an industrial-grade, professional-grade protective case supplier,” Pelican Chief Executive Lyndon Faulkner said. “It’s in the DNA of all of our products. They are built for very robust environments.”
Pelican has manufactured nearly 1,000 different sizes of crushproof, watertight and dustproof protective cases. Some of their cases are as large as a small room and able to carry aerospace parts and oil rig equipment. Others are small enough to provide a snug fit for an iPod Nano.
They are like armored suitcases or footlockers on steroids. Inside is form-fitting foam of varying levels of density, depending on what the case is carrying.
They store almost everything used by the military: weapons, explosives, medical equipment. Pelican cases are very popular among photographers and video camera operators who use them to transport delicate camera equipment.
The cases are molded plastic containers that seal with an airtight and watertight gasket. Pelican cases include a barometric relief valve made of Gore-Tex to prevent pressure damage to the case, during transportation or when the air pressure in the environment changes. Pelican cases meet standards for waterproofing, stacking, impact, and durability including MIL-STD C4150-J for waterproofing, IEC IP67 rating indicating complete sealing against dust and water immersion to 1 metre, as well as ATA 300 rating indicating compliance with Air Transport Association standards for durability in shipping. Pelican cases feature a lifetime guarantee.
If the case falls into water, generally there will be enough air in the case to keep it afloat. The barometric relief valve permits air to pass through, but not water or other liquids. Under some extreme conditions leakage is technically possible, but such conditions are unlikely to be encountered, except in the case of deliberate vandalism.
Pelican has a very diverse range of products that take advantage of resistance-technology from mobile device cases, check-in cases, carry-on luggage and even back-packs.
The Pelican 1510 carry-on case is just one example of how Pelican have adapted to the needs of its market.
The build quality of the case is as you would expect with rubberized handles, a locking mechanism, pull-out handle and wheels all of which are very sturdy. As a carry-on piece of luggage it is understandably heavy, but that’s to be expected of any super-tough protection.
Pelican backpacks are also another interesting innovation, as they incorporate a built-in watertight and crushproof case as part of the backpack. The S140 features a case for your laptop, whereas a model such as the U160 has a solid compartment specifically for your camera and lenses.