The Ballistic SG for iPhone 4: The Lean, Mean Case You’ve Been Waiting For


Protecting the investment you made in your iPhone 4 is serious business; and no one takes that business more seriously than the folks at Ballistic. If you read the review we did on the Ballistic HC, you know how impressed we were with this incredibly rugged case; featuring multiple layers of protection, the HC truly makes your iPhone feel indestructible. The only knock against this case (and it wasn’t so much a knock as it was an observation) was the bulk that it added to a device that was designed to be slim and pocket-friendly. The folks at Ballistic listened to what their customers said and set out design a case that offered similar protection, minus the heft; enter: The Ballistic SG.

When we first wrote about the SG, we told you about its 3 layer design; a soft, impact-absorbing backing fused to a hard middle shell, that snaps around an inner silicone shell that fits over your phone. Though this is one layer less than the HC offers, Ballistic claims that it still offers superior protection in a much smaller form factor. Were their claims accurate? Ballistic sent us our own SG so we could find out for ourselves–and I’m happy to report that the Ballistic SG not only offers excellent protection for my iPhone 4, but its new pocket-friendly design makes it a case you never have to take off. I mention “not having to take it off” because for many users, the Original Ballistic HC was a great option for work or outdoor activities, but not necessarily a full-time case solution; with the SG, Ballistic has given us a rugged case that is still suitable for the rough stuff, but now makes the transition to everyday use thanks to its smaller dimensions.

True power users (and by users, I really mean “abusers”) should know that the new SG does not have 360 degree coverage–you no longer get the plastic faceplate that covers your screen, nor do you get the belt clip that also protects a good portion of the phone. The SG was not meant to replace the HC, merely give users another option in a smaller form-factor; so those of you that plan on being extra hard on your iPhone should probably stick with the HC.

But don’t think this means that the SG is a pushover–it’s not. Made from quality materials, the Ballistic SG feels great in your hand; though it adds a bit of extra weight to your iPhone 4, that weight serves as a reminder of not only the case’s quality, but the level of protection you get. And in case you think that the “energy absorbing corners” of the silicone lining are just advertising points, think again; I had the fortune/misfortune of dropping my iPhone directly onto one of those corners and not only was there no damage to my phone, the drop didn’t even make a sound.

I’m a fan of the original HC and still believe that if you’re willing to deal with its massive dimensions, it’s still the best protection you can get. However, I’m more likely to stay with a case that I can carry in my pocket and use every day; a smaller, more manageable case is important to me, but I don’t want to compromise on the protection it offers. The Ballistic SG is the perfect blend of protection and portability–and when it comes to carrying a mobile device, isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for?